Saturday, March 24, 2007

ING Marathon - Team in Training Speech

So - I was asked to speak at the TNT pasta dinner for all the runners the night before the first ING Marathon here in Atlanta. I just wanted to post the notes for my speech so I wouldn't ever lose them. It went really well. There was about 150 people there.


So the pressure is on to say the most inspirational thing ever and as I sat down to think about what to say tonight, I thought to myself what would inspire me the night before I was going to run a marathon? I have to tell you – the pickings were slim. But then I remembered hearing a speech by one of your fellow team in training runners. He told the story of his first marathon and how he wrote down the names of 26 people to help him inspire during each mile. During each mile he would pull out this tiny piece of paper and kept that person in his heart and prayers during that mile. He said that it was what kept him going and as he just ran his 6th marathon last year he continues to carry this paper with him. The names are constantly changing but the prayers stay the same.

So I started thinking who I would run for and I decided that I would share a few of the people on my list with you.

For the parents who watch their children as they struggle through this disease and do their best to explain how this pain will help heal them in the end.

My friend Sandra who is 25. As she began her first job out of college and before her insurance kicked in she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s and then relapsed. The support and help she gets from LLS is invaluable.

My friend Shawn who is 38. He was my transplant buddy who battled and won the fight with Hodgkin’s twice.
For Justin who lost his finance, had his own battle with cancer and still talks about how beautiful and blue her eyes were.

For the nurses and doctors who are truly angels on earth guiding us through hell to help heal our bodies.

My friend Courtney who at 24 has a very rare cancer and wasn’t given much hope but wakes up everyday believing there are more ahead – and knowing she is right.

My friend Carla, mother of 2, wife and school teacher who fought the battle with lymphoma twice.

My friend Jamie, from middle school who I ran into a the honored hero’s party a few weeks ago only to find out she is this season’s honored hero for the San Diego marathon who was diagnosed 4 months after me with the same cancer.

For the mom’s and dad’s who still have a job to do once their chemo drip stops and they go home.

My friend Lynda. Who wore the most fabulous wig possible to her daughters wedding and whose husband sat by her side everyday and supported the woman he loved for over 30 years while she won her battle with lymphoma.

My friend Bill who made me smile during my first week of chemo and has kept me smiling since – who was given 2 years but so far has taken 3.
My grandfather who was diagnosed recently and throughout treatment continues to show me everyday what it means to have faith.

My sister Kristen who walked into high school without any hair but is walking here 9 years later stronger and more beautiful than anyone I know.

Finally I would run for you – the people who devote their time, energy, money and hearts to help raise money to find a cure for this disease.

So tomorrow when you ‘hit the wall’ remember who YOU are running for and know that in their hearts there are no words powerful enough to thank you for the sacrifices you are making and that at each mile we are running with you.


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