Half-Ironman or Bust!

tnt.gif As some of you will recall, two years ago I successfully completed my first triathlon with Team in Training. Completing the race was a big personal accomplishment, but I was mostly rewarded by being able to raise funds for the battle against leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma. This year, I’m ready to do it again – but this time, I’m going even farther! This May, I will be competing in the Wildflower Long Course Triathlon: a half-Ironman triathlon in central California. This is a 1.2 mile open water swim, followed by a 56 mile bike, topped off by a half-marathon (13.1 miles.)

I attended the Team in Training kickoff on Saturday, and the stories I heard reminded me just how critical finding a cure really is. We heard about a young boy named Jonathan, no more than 5 years old, who was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 3. He has undergone 2 years of difficult treatments: 15 spinal taps, months of chemotherapy (losing his hair 4 times), countless doctor visits and innumerable pills, and was still battling to beat this horrific disease. When I got home after the kickoff, Andrew and Justin ran over to me and I gave them a huge hug – I couldn’t imagine what it would do to me if I had to watch one of our boys fight a disease like leukemia. We all have our stories about how cancer has affected our lives. From Scott & Julie’s story, to family members, to other close friends – we’ve all been impacted in some way.

Here are some sobering statistics: Did you know that leukemia is the number one disease killer of children under 14 years of age, and strikes 10 times as many adults? Leukemia and lymphoma are also the leading fatal cancers in men under the age of 35. But research changes the outlook for patients. From 1960 to today, the five-year survival rates for acute lymphocytic leukemia (the most common form of childhood leukemia) have improved from an appalling 4% to 80%. A couple years ago, the FDA approved a new drug called Gleevec, a pill that has been found effective in the treatment of chronic mylogenous leukemia. For people with this type of leukemia, Gleevec means avoiding chemotherapy – a big improvement in the quality of life for those patients. Gleevec was developed by Dr. Brian Druker, a scientist who is funded in part by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  Leukemia and lymphoma, as blood cancers, are actually the easiest to study, and many of the advances in treatments for other cancers have their roots in leukemia & lymphoma studies.

Continuing this research takes money… and that’s where you, my readers, come in! I’d like to ask for your support, and for a donation to the Society for my training and my race. One of the great statistics of TNT is that at least 75% of all donated money goes directly to support scientists, physicians, educators, and patients. Your donation is 100% tax-deductible and supports research, patient services and educational programs. Every little bit helps bring us one step closer to a cure! My goal is to beat my previous total from 2005 – this year I want to raise $7,000!

Making a donation is very easy. You can do it online, and all you need is a credit card – Visa, Mastercard, or American Express (unfortunately they don’t take PayPal… yet!) Here is the link to donate:

http://www.active.com/donate/tntsvmb/tntsvmbNEtter2

I appreciate anything you can do to contribute. Obviously I’ll be hitting most of you up with emails to solicit donations as well, but I thought I’d start with a post here. I’ll be blogging along the way as my training progresses, and I’ll definitely post a final race report once I cross the finish line!

Wish me luck!

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~ by Nathan on January 30, 2007.

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