The Blog of a 10-Week Journey. Because It Matters.

The Gala...

Apr 29, 2013
by Beth Schrader

WE DID IT! Our collective goal for the campaign was $175,000 and we BLEW IT OUT OF THE WATER, crushing it by over $110,000 for a grand total of: $287,100! I am proud of us, Fort Wayne.


Todd Smith was named 2013 Man of the Year (Congrats, Todd and team!) and I was named 2013 Woman of the Year. It’s a total misnomer because there’s no way anyone has enough money to donate in order to get my friends to call me that henceforth. Not even once.


Nor should they. (Unless, however, I beat them handily at WWF, then that’s clearly another story). Nothing about this was an individual effort. It took every ounce of time, energy, teamwork, and purpose that the collective “us” could muster in order to make this all come to fruition. Our teams were absolutely invaluable. And while each of the six teams went about our efforts in different ways, we ALL wanted the same outcome: money in the hands of researchers to FIND A CURE FOR BLOOD CANCERS.


Spend wisely, Dr. Smarties. We’re rooting for you. Go get ‘em.

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I also promised I’d recap some of the emotions from Friday. I’ll try. Even I sometimes struggle with the right words to convey such a momentous occasion. I've included "the speech" at the end of this in case you guys want to read it. I feel as if most of you were right there with me that night!


Friday was a day in which everything came to a culmination, a personal sense of closure, and an end…for now. I woke up and somehow magically my stomach knew it was Gala Day. For a quick second I was very confused, thinking I was about to go run a marathon since it was the exact same feeling of Did I eat some really bad sushi last night? I get race morning. After a cup of coffee, I was better.


At 10:00am, I met Jen at Ceruti’s to help unload the auction items. I thought arriving there would make me more nervous, but actually, it helped. Keeping busy is my medicine (c’mon…act like you didn’t know). From there, got the hair done, came home, made some food, and (act surprised again), had a glass of wine. It’s totally better than coffee.


Chelsea and Joe arrived first. Ok, now that IS a surprise! My best friend is NEVER on time (love you, you know it’s true). There as so many things to say about the level of closeness we have shared our entire lives, but suffice it to say, her non-stop talking calms me down. Our non-stop banter back and forth relaxes me like nothing else. The relationship is unrivaled.


Shortly thereafter our friend, Ty, showed up from Ohio to do the make-up. There’s nothing better than not only saying Up Yours, Cancer…but also saying Up Yours, circa late ‘80’s prom-night! 23 years later, I had a much better +1 than I did in High School, not that there’s really any comparison whatsoever. Angela then arrived from Indy followed by Liv, Mariam, my amazing +1 and friend, Foster, and a gaggle of IOS compadres. I think the neighbors popped in at some point too, but honestly it’s a blur; I was nervous and am a bit of a lightweight when I don’t eat. And I hadn’t eaten a thing all day.


After the pre-party festivities, Foster and I left. Whew. We arrived at 6:03 (I know this because I was giving him dirty looks for being late to which he shut me up mid-story of his like he always does) and there were a lot of people there already.


And that’s pretty much it. This is where I struggle with the proverbial “rest of the story.” I do remember saying out loud a few times, “This is reason #712 why I’ll probably never get married again; the mingling thing is ridiculous!” While true, I LOVED LOVED LOVED having so many people there with whom to mingle. I just wish I had more time to properly talk and hang out with them all. THANK YOU to my family and friends (although that feels so interchangeable at this point in my life) for EVERYTHING throughout the course of this entire journey. And no, I don’t mean just these last 10-weeks, and no, I don’t just mean a regular “thanks.” I mean profound gratitude. I’ll never forget it.


The entire celebration would not have been complete without the people I love in attendance. When they called my name, I cried. I cried for all those who have gone through, are going through, or will go through a cancer diagnosis. I cried for their families. I cried for closure. I cried because I could finally eat! I cried…because I was complete. And then I cried harder because Liv, upon hearing my name announced, immediately stood up and hugged me with her outstretched arms.


Talk about sweet. For all the hardships, all the ups and downs, all the “what if’s” line of questioning I pepper myself with when it comes to mothering her – then and now – nothing will take that moment away.


Saying I’m happy to be here seems so simple to read on a page, but really, it is simple. I’m thankful to have been given a second chance at life.


And I hope and pray that we have made a difference in Greyson’s, Kellcey’s and their families’ lives, of which, I’m honored to have been a part…if even for just a short time in the journey.


One last time…A huge, heartfelt thank you to all.


We did it!


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Thank you. Thank you all for being here and taking part in this very special night.


Jen instructed each of us to prepare acceptance speeches because two of us would be asked to say a “few” words. I’m pretty sure by now most of you know…I don’t even knowwhat that means. But I promise nonetheless to keep this brief.


First, I’d like to give my gratitude and thanks to my teammates, without whom, this entire effort would never have been possible. Now, mind you, that is not at ALL what I thought going into this. In fact, when Jen asked me who I had in mind for team members - without hesitation - my answer back to her was, “Nobody. I’m going to do it all myself.” Ever the lady and professional that she is, she only smiled and said, “Well…it’s a lot of work. Let me know if you change your mind.”


Thank goodness I did. Angela, Stacy, Billy and Travis – thank you guys so much for everything. I really appreciate your efforts, your ideas, and your constant support. There are many other friends here tonight to thank as well: Harker and Deb for the rabbit relocation mission; my new friends from Lucky Harley-Davidson for your amazing support of LLS this year and now, after the campaign, in future years – we’re very excited about that; the other candidates for your relentless efforts these last 10 weeks; and Foster – for all those 5am runs, the myriad of subsequent effects afterwards, and for being my +1 tonight. Thanks.


I’d also like to thank my IOS family for your loyalty and friendship over the years – especially when I was sick. You continue to this day, all these years later, to put up with me. And if that doesn’t say something about the strength of our company, I don’t know what does…


I have friends in this room tonight who have known me almost my whole life. Literally, we’ve been friends for over 30 years. We grew up alongside one another, played sports together, went shopping and got in trouble together, learned how to drive and weather broken hearts together. We went to college together and attended each other’s weddings (sometimes more than once) – so you can imagine the day I had to call not only those best friends, but my parents, and tell them I had leukemia.


Yet telling them, while incredibly hard, was not nearly as difficult as the thought of not being able to watch my daughter grow up – to be her Mom. She’s here tonight, along with my incredibly supportive parents. Liv, you’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me and by far, my greatest blessing. Without even knowing it, while you were learning to rid yourself of diapers, I was a couple hours away trying to rid myself of cancer so I could get home to you and have the joy of raising you…of seeing you turn into the beautiful young woman you’ve become. I’m proud of you, and I love you very much.


Whew! By the way, I’m still working on the brief thing…


Let me tell you a little bit about this campaign and what it has meant. I had certainly heard of it in the past, but really had no idea what it entailed. After speaking with Jill and Craig about their experiences last year, I was getting closer to committing. Then, I read about Kellcey and Greyson and decided I’d give it a try. And then I met them. In person. And “trying” needed to turn into something more.


These kids and their families are amazing people who have been in the midst of a trial, an emotional roller-coaster, and an uprooted life schedule. Cancer invaded their homes, forcing them to make that call to their friends and family. But I can tell you, that the money raised these last 10 weeks, the money LLS relentlessly pursues every day, does make a difference in the lives of patients. It has given Grey and Kellcey more treatment options, a better prognosis, and more hope than has ever existed before. And it has given all of us the privilege of meeting them and forming new friendships, as well as opportunities to provide mutual support along the way.


THAT is what I have re-learned throughout this campaign: we are all a team, walking the path in this journey of life together. Sometimes there’s a detour, sometimes we get re-routed, but knowing that there are troops fighting on our side just up ahead…that matters.


Sometimes cancer becomes that detour in our lives – the one we never saw coming. Sometimes, we are able to re-route and sometimes, despite all valiant, gut wrenching efforts we are not; and it becomes surreal and incomprehensible.


But what I have also realized throughout this campaign is that both tragedy and victory happens to us, the “better” us…”team” us. It can’t happen to just one, because we all rejoice at each recovery and we all grieve for each and every setback and loss.

While cancer can defeat one of us, it cannot and will not defeat our collective will. We have come too far, we have won too many battles, and we are getting closer every day to winning the war.


Cancer will eventually retreat… because it knows by now, as this evening shows, that we will never give up.


Thank you.







What.A.Ride.

Apr 25, 2013
by Beth Schrader

Well my friends, we’ve come to the end of the journey. It has been an amazing, life-altering, incredibly meaningful trip. And wow, have we helped others along the way. Together we have made a difference.


On Monday, I will share our final campaign total raised on behalf of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. As of today, however, here is where we stand as a team: (RECORD BREAKING NUMBER) $213,000! This would not have been possible without you, without your faithful and generous support. THANK YOU for your non-stop donations! You have given selflessly and made a tremendous impact in the lives of so many others. You know…those people with whom you are connected in this journey of life, whether you realized it before now or not.


So here is the part where I warn you: this is the last one. Therefore, I hope you have some time because there’s a whole lotta verbose ahead. Now, that statement reminds me of the title of an AC/DC song. Which then, in turn, reminds me of one of my all-time favorite ‘80’s songs (hey, don’t judge – who doesn’t love ‘80’s metal?)... Here I Go Again by Whitesnake (again with the judging thing?). To this day, I belt out its first verse aloud EVERY TIME I hear it:


I don’t know where I’m going, but I sure know where I’ve been


I am filled with nerves, elation, gratefulness, and a zillion other adjectives that would somehow diminish the entire experience if I went on. So I won’t – at least not yet. This is the last post until after the gala and then I promise there will be one final entry filling you in on Friday night’s festivities, including all associated real-time emotions. (And pictures…lots and lots of pictures).


For now, let me share not only some of my favorite music, but some of my favorite quotes. I know, I know, this can be super annoying when people throw them out there in a totally unoriginal and plagiaristic way. But hopefully these will resonate with you on some level, as there is Rhyme and Reason to my verbose. I do get there eventually when I go on with the talky-talk.


If there is one thing which has been harder for me than anything else in my life on a recurring basis it is this: realizing it’s is not about the destination.


Instead, it’s about every step and even more so, every misstep and difficult experience along the way. It’s about what we choose to do with those steps once we learn from them. And it’s about how we’ll walk the next time we find ourselves or others in those same shoes…


“A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.

–John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America (um, yeah)


“I am no longer afraid of becoming lost, because the journey back always reveals something new, and that is ultimately good for the soul.” --Billy Joel (mostly)


“The most important reason for going from one place to another is to see what's in between, and they took great pleasure in doing just that.”

--Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth (READ THIS BOOK, even as an adult!)


“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.” –Heraclitus


So there you have it. We don’t control the journey. We have choices to make along the way as we encounter both smooth roads and bumpy, bumpy terrain. And we should absolutely positively relish everything in between – including and especially the changes in ourselves from traveling the distance.


I don’t know where I’m going after this campaign but I sure know where I’ve been. You see, the thing is, I no longer need to know. None of us do. Enjoy the ride, and thank you again for coming along on this journey with us over these last 10-weeks.


The Time Is Now.


One final quote. (Fine, it’s more like an article but to be fair, I did warn you). This has been in a frame since it was given to me from the one man who’s known me longer than any other. Thanks, Dad. See you tomorrow.


The Station By Robert J. Hastings

Tucked away in our subconscious is an idyllic vision. We see ourselves on a long trip that spans the continent. We are traveling by train. Out the windows we drink in the passing scene of cars on nearby highways, of children waving at a crossing, of cattle grazing on a distant hillside, of smoke pouring from a power plant, of row upon row of corn and wheat, of flatlands and valleys, of mountains and rolling hillsides, of city skylines and village halls.


But uppermost in our minds is the final destination. On a certain day at a certain hour we will pull into the station. Bands will be playing and flags waving. Once we get there so many wonderful dreams will come true and the pieces of our lives will fit together like a completed jigsaw puzzle. How restlessly we pace the aisles, damning the minutes for loitering – waiting, waiting, waiting for the station.


”When we reach the station, that will be it!” we cry. “When I’m 18.” “When I buy a new 450SL Mercedes Benz!” “When I put the last kid through college.” “When I have paid off the mortgage!” “When I get a promotion.” “When I reach the age of retirement, I shall live happily ever after!”


Sooner or later we must realize there is no station, no one place to arrive at once and for all. The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly outdistances us.


“Relish the moment” is a good motto, especially when coupled with Psalm 118:24: “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” It isn’t the burdens of today that drive men mad. It is the regrets over yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. Regret and fear are twin thieves who rob us of today.


So, stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot more often, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more, cry less. Life must be lived as we go along. The station will come soon enough.




Reunited

Apr 28, 2013
by Beth Schrader

If I wrote about the feelings I have, as a mother, for Olivia, this post would be a book. Perhaps even a series. Parenting is the best complicated, satisfying, difficult, joyous, tiring, rewarding, most unconditional love of any job. There is nothing that girl could do which would ever cause me to turn my back on her, to stop loving her.


I told you earlier that she was my first thought after finding out I was sick. She was my absolute main thought, my main source of determination, and the reason I almost took out the Pharm-D when he tried to tell me she wouldn't recognize me after undergoing a transplant.


I share this with you guys not only to say, "Really, jerk face? Think again." but also to share one last intimate detail of this entire experience so you understand the hope to beat cancer is real. And because selfishly, I am tired and there are no additional words to be written for this picture.


2 more days to go.






Birthday Connections

Apr 28, 2013
by Beth Schrader

Today is my 14 year Bone Marrow Transplant Anniversary. BMT anniversaries are also known as Birthdays - the day someone is reborn. I had no idea of all the lingo, but my donor taught me when she called to wish me a “Happy Birthday” on April 23, 2000. I thought she was nuts and secretly was a little afraid I’d take on some of those inherent qualities in addition to my new blood type. But alas, she knew exactly what she was talking about.


I flew to South Carolina to meet Beth one year after the transplant. She was (is) bubbly, lively, happy, verbose, God-loving, free-spirited, and an incredible family member. I was greeted with open arms in the airport with a Southern-drawl filled, “Hey, you! You’re here! You are HERE!!! Yahoooo!” and we spent the rest of the weekend hanging out. Two total strangers talking endlessly about our lives which intersected during the most unlikely of circumstances.


But isn’t that how we ALL are connected? At one point in our lives, our friends and acquaintances were unknown to us – we were strangers. And then, something connects us to one another. Interests, circumstances, common goals such as a sports team, a job, running a marathon, defeating cancer…whatever the case, we form bonds with the people in our lives. Sometimes they stay, sometimes they don’t. However, we can be sure that God brings us together at just the right time, for just the right reasons. It might be many years until we uncover, realize, or choose to accept what those reasons are, but when we do, emotions flood. Tears fall. Smiles illuminate.


Those things are exactly what happened to me when I first met Dana. And then...when I met Greyson, those feelings amplified and I knew in an instant that I was finally ready to DO something. I was ready to take the experience I had and somehow share it so that a little boy’s own experience might be made a little easier, the load slightly lessened.


Isn’t that how we are connected?


We are all uniquely made, designed with a powerful purpose. What a beautiful thing it is when that purpose is realized, when it’s used - when it becomes so crystal clear you feel like there is NO way you could have possibly missed it all these years!


Is there ever really anything you can do to pay someone back who has saved your life? I’m telling you yes. Yes, there is. Pay it forward. Do something for someone else. A total stranger. A friend. A (perceived) enemy. Your brothers and sisters. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a bone marrow transplant, but it does have to be something.


Whatever you’ve been given, use it. God used my friend, a one-time total stranger. Just how many “total strangers” have saved your life in some capacity or another?


Thank you, Beth Robison, for my Birthday gift.


3 Days!


(Side note: Two more posts left – hey, a girl’s gotta do her hair and stuff on Friday – and only one more day to donate! The site goes down Wednesday at 3pm. Thank you for your help in making a difference. For doing something. It matters to me, to Greyson, and to a world of strangers out there fighting cancer. Thanks!)


The Final Countdown

Apr 28, 2013
by Beth Schrader

After receiving Beth’s bone marrow, I waited. I waited and waited and waited and then waited some more. The really tough physical work was mostly done, albeit far from over, but now the mental work was underway. Until my counts were “normal,” I was unable to be released from the hospital. Red cells, white cells, and platelets – they all had to hit a magic number.


Magic numbers. Time lines. Qualifying times. Man, you’d think I was Swiss instead of Italian. It’s not that I mind a good goal. In fact, that’s funny to say (or type) out loud. What I minded was not being able to do a darn thing to accomplish it any quicker, to get out of that place any sooner. I was stuck and not much was in my control. Admittedly, I’m still not a fan of finding myself in “nothing I can do about it” situations. But I have come to accept those times more readily and more peacefully, realizing ultimately there is a much bigger plan than any of the ones we think we have all figured out.


Day in and day out, the nurses would take blood for testing. Each time, I’d muster up a little more hope that I would pass the test, arrive at the next level, and finally be able to pack up my male-magnet flannel housecoat and skedaddle.


Hope. It’s a funny thing sometimes. One day, you wake up and think “Today I am going to do this thing!” and the next, you’re deflated because something hasn’t gone exactly according to plan. That pretty much sums up the remaining 17 days in that place. There were several stretches of time when a medicine wouldn’t do what it was supposed to do, or I wouldn’t tolerate it at all. More changeups than Johan Santana has thrown occurred in an effort to make me “normal” again (I know, I know, I’m setting you up nicely with that…)


I had a chart posted on the wall at the end of my bed outlining my counts. My goal was in the room. I had those numbers memorized. They were burned in my head, thankfully replacing all that nonsense Pythagora drummed up. Every night I would look at that chart, say a prayer, sometimes say not so ladylike things, and fall asleep hoping tomorrow would be better than the day before.


And then one day the nurse came in with a HUGE smile on her face. I knew instantly! Without either of us needing to say a word, she calmly walked to the end of my bed, grabbed the marker, and slowly wrote those magic numbers. I cried, she cried, other nurses came in and THEY cried.


I was outta there.


The time had come. We made it. Together.


Just like we’ve almost made it to the end of this 10-week effort together. I’m very excited about this week. The time has come.


4 more days.


BriefFRIDAY - Last one!

Apr 28, 2013
by Beth Schrader

We are officially one week away from the end of the campaign! These last 9 weeks have felt as if they’ve both flown by and lasted forever. I imagine that is exactly how it will feel next Friday night after the gala – bittersweet.


This week has reminded me that life is fragile, moments are fleeting, and time is incredibly short. To see people come together in the face of adversity is empowering; to see people suffer is gut wrenching. Yet, such is life; such are our lives. The peaks, the valleys, the good days and bad – we all have them. It’s this beautiful reciprocal arrangement, if we let it be.


On Wednesday someone asked me if I was still going to Boston next year. I wasn’t ready for that question, but I didn’t even have to think about the answer – it just came spewing out of my mouth (ok yeah, like everything else). I replied, “Not only am I going, I’m going to run harder and faster than ever.” It might not be everyone’s response, but I know no different. I know only that I refuse to let any negative person, negative event, or negative situation win. And the only way to do that is to get back in that ring and keep on fighting – just like Greyson and so many others are doing on this very day when they wake up.


Thank you to the anonymous donor this week. Thank you to Jen who is busting her tail getting everything ready for the gala next week. Thank you to my teammates who are prematurely celebrating the anticipation of infinitely fewer emails from me very soon! And finally, thank you to the husband of an incredible woman fighting her own fight right now who donated this week with the following message included:


Beth, my name is (omitted) and I am “her” husband. As a new member to the "my spouse has cancer" club, a sad/mad runner thinking of Boston, a NMDP fundraiser/registrant, and a firm believer in "paying forward" and RFP..Relentless Forward Progress..wanted to say thanks and do something positive on this day. Have enjoyed reading your blog of Hope. Best (omitted name).


That message meant a great deal to me, as has EVERYTHING you all have been doing. So it’s with many thanks I am happy to report the Fort Wayne total, one week out from the conclusion of our fundraising effort is:


$152,377.57!


7 Days. One week. It’s almost here.




The Big Day

Apr 28, 2013
by Beth Schrader

On day eighteen, it arrived. The time had finally come to see if this entire thing would work. It’s all very hypnagogic really. It’s like you’re there, but you’re not reallythere and no way should you be there, so therefore you’re not.


How’s that for logical? Wasn’t my strong suit then, either.


The emotional part I’ve always had covered. And let me tell you, I was steeped in it. Apparently that’s a normal reaction for someone who is about to receive new life in a bag, because they brought in sedatives on a silver platter about 30 minutes before they brought in Beth’s bone marrow.


I had spent seventeen days in a stark white, non-inviting room while my body was prepared for this exact moment round the clock. My hair was gone, my coloring and muscle tone were gone, and my patience was definitely gone. But my chance to survive had just arrived, fresh off a flight from South Carolina.


Beth was on the National Marrow Donor Registry (www.marrow.org) and had donated once before, so she knew what it entailed. She would check herself in at her local hospital, go under anesthesia, fall asleep and wake up with an incredibly sore hip bone – and an incredibly thankful recipient 722 miles away. A very precise amount of her marrow was extracted based on what my Oncologist determined my body would need in order to receive it well and start making its own cancer-free marrow once again. The doctors there carefully packaged it, put it on dry ice, took it to the airport, and crossed their fingers as it was flown to Cleveland.


I had what’s called an Allogenic Bone Marrow Transplant, which means the donor is another person whose tissue has the same genetic type as the person who is sick and in need of a transplant. Because tissue types are inherited, it is more likely that the recipient will find a donor match in a brother or sister. However, it only happens 25 to 30 percent of the time (Me: “See, Sarah, I TOLD you you were adopted.” Sarah: “Stick it, Beth.”) She was still saying that to me at age 22, albeit it with a much different tone in her voice.


Sarah was in my room that day, seated next to my parents on the bench under the window to my left. The pole was to my right, and on it hung one bag of hope. I have no idea why I remember this, but Sarah was wearing a light blue cotton polo dress and a pair of white Keds. Had I not been so overwrought with fear and nerves, I would have asked her if she’d gotten dressed in the dark that morning. Now I realize – she kind of had. There’s really no protocol or little yellow Cliff Notes book that tells you what to wear to your only older sister’s Bone Marrow Transplant.


Nor are there any Hallmark cards for the occasion, but Beth sent one that day. She had written a brief message of encouragement and habitually signed her name underneath. Nancy Drew that I am, I could still read it even though it had been scratched out. A donor and recipient cannot meet for one year after the transplant and only then if both parties consent. The first year post-transplant is pretty dicey, so the small print and effort is made to spare additional sadness, loss, and I suppose a feeling of failure on the donor’s part if the recipient doesn’t make it.


The process began. Beth’s bone marrow was entering my body, being infused through that infamous central port. My Mom, Dad, and sister sat silently and watched. We all watched - for no one really knew what to do, what to say, or what to think. Well I mean, we did know what to think which is why no one was talking.


I’ve had moments in my life when no words could do the situation any justice, undue any emotion, or right a wrong. Those times asphyxiate me. This time trumped all of them.


Beth’s stem cells were finding their way to my bones to begin producing new cells, a process called engraftment. Jerk face had warned me that the situation would turn dire because I would FOR SURE get something called Graft vs. Host Disease soon after the new marrow was received. Beth’s marrow would FOR SURE see my body as foreign and begin to attack it and then he, in all his smarm and infinite wisdom, would rush in with the steroids and save the day.


FOR SURE if I ever see him again, I won’t even mention it. Really. You see, I have changed. I’m more tolerant, more forgiving, more thankful. And I can’t tell you if it comes with age (zip it) or living through an experience like this, but it does come eventually.


We are but a culmination of our experiences, our choices, and our resolve. As one of my most favorite outspoken women of all time said:


“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” --Eleanor Roosevelt


She was right.


9 Days.






Come Together

Apr 28, 2013
by Beth Schrader

What happened in Boston yesterday was horrific. In the middle of the work day, my phone started lighting up with texts and emails asking if I was ok. It wasn’t until the third or fourth message that I began to understand why that line of questioning was taking place. And then I saw it with my own disbelieving eyes.


Those runners were participating in THE race – the one they’ve all dreamt about, longed for, worked harder than their bodies and minds thought possible day in and day out for weeks on end. They tirelessly fought and fought to get there; they ate right, exercised constantly, studied the course and prepared to master its Heartbreak Hill at mile 18. They visualized with their counterparts, their training buddies, the ones whom they love and trust and know. They toed the line numerous times before in the quest to qualify, only to question whether they were good enough, strong enough, resilient enough to ever get there – to succeed, to make it. And they never gave up.


As I watched the news coverage of those relentless fighters who were there, in their home stretch, at mile 26, at the end of their race, the end of their training, the end of their journey – smiling and taking in the cheering crowd that was encouraging them to finish strong as they too, reveled in their extraordinary accomplishments right alongside them - everything they had hoped and dreamed and prepared for was blown away.


Why? How can this be happening? Make it stop. Please. Make it stop.


One of the best feelings in life was instead replaced with immediate fear, confusion, and hurt. Someone or several someones, hurt our friends. They assaulted them and each of us when we least expected it, when we weren’t looking, when we didn’t deserve it. During one of the most monumental moments in those people’s lives, we were all sucker-punched.


People were attacked and died in Boston yesterday.

People were attacked and died on 9/11.

People are being attacked and dying every day from cancer.


Just as those runners were training and preparing and planning for THE race, so too are others participating in the race of life. They train and prepare and plan first words, lemonade stands, games of catch, dates, marriage, vacations, and children – when immediate fear, confusion, and uncertainty shows up and stops them in their tracks.


Get out of our house, terrorists. Each and every one of you. We will stand for your innocence-robbing no more. We are united as Americans and we are united as a human race. We stand proud, strong, and resilient. We will keep running; we will keep living.


And we will NEVER give up.


For those in Boston yesterday, and for those everywhere battling cancer - Do something. Get mad. Make a difference. We come together in times like this. I'm asking that we stay together for the long haul. Because THAT is what matters. THAT... is what will defeat our nemeses.


10 Days.



Super-G

Apr 15, 2013
by Beth Schrader

I signed up for the “Flight to Fight” 10k a couple months ago. The race was Saturday morning. It was the first time I’d participated in it, as every year when it takes place I’m usually in some kind of marathon training. But not this year. This year I got to experience it firsthand.


The race is dubbed Flight to Fight because it takes place at the Fort Wayne airport. Literally, 4 of the 6.2 miles is on the runway. That’s the Flight part. The Fight part is this: it’s for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society – and a chance for participants and spectators to fight back on behalf of all blood cancers.


After signing up, I thought man, perfect timing given the campaign…AND the weather should be super nice in mid-April. Yeah, not so much. When I awoke Saturday morning, I opened the front door and immediately closed it while rolling my eyes. I was tempted to go right back to bed. Instead I thought about how many others would be out there, braving the conditions for someone they love who is battling or has battled cancer. I got dressed.


After traipsing through the mud to pick up my race packet, I went back to the car and turned it on so some heat could blow through the vents and onto my wet feet and face. Honestly, I was in no mental mood to run. I resolved simply to finish the thing and bolt home. 20 minutes before the start, I locked the doors and ran a mile warm-up – as the sleet pelted me and other runners in the face. And that mile was one of the most satisfying feelings ever. More and more people continued to line the streets of the Industrial Park, all with smiles and determination on their faces. I smiled back and chattered some “Good Mornings” to everyone, all the while thinking about why each and every one of us was out there. This is what it’s about. Coming together for the greater good, to show support, being in this fight together


When I turned into the last parking lot on my way back to the start, I said one last “Morning” and stopped in my tracks as I realized it was Grey’s Grandma and Grandpa! They were wearing dark gray T-shirts with “Team Grey” on the back and a big “G” in Superman-style on the front. Jo and I hugged and she pointed me in the direction of the rest of the troops. Everyone in Greyson’s family was there, all sporting SuperG T-shirts! I had no idea they were going, but I was incredibly glad to see them. I high-fived Grey and finished the warm-up.


Nothing like a 4-year-old Boy of the Year and his family to get you moving. Seeing those T-shirts line the runway was something, as was watching all the other people’s teams out there supporting their person – the one who couldn’t yet run but was being lifted up by family and friends. Teamwork is cancer’s kryptonite.


Runners, walkers, crawlers, strollers…we were all out there together battling not only the Indiana in April conditions, but the much bigger war.


One step at a time, one mile at a time, one cure at a time. It’s all possible.


11 Days.



BriefFRIDAY

Apr 12, 2013
by Beth Schrader

This week has been rather quiet on the campaign trail. Work is another story - it’s always a zoo after being on vacation.


Tuesday was the Culver’s fundraiser. The weather was beautiful and the place was busy all day long. I’m looking forward to finding out the final donation amount; it was really nice of them (running friend Tony and his family) to take part and gift 10% of the day’s sales to LLS. Given the fact that Tony has had to put up with me on many runs over the last couple years, you’d think he’d keep on running. The other way.


Jen sent out the newsletter to us today. Allow me to share it with you in conclusion to today’s BriefFRIDAY:



Good morning!

Auction items and Grand Finale Presentation Forms were due last week. Are all of your items turned in?


Total Funds Raised to Date :: $137,109.15


Grand Finale Responsibilities | What to expect!

  • • • • Please arrive at Ceruti’s Diamond Room at 6:00 p.m. for candidate pictures before the guests arrive.
  • • • • Please be prepared with an acceptance speech. We will be asking the winners to say a few words.
  • • • • Candidates are encouraged to dress in black tie, while the attire for all other Grand Finale Gala attendees is black tie optional.

Campaign Deadlines | Stay on track!

  • • • • Wednesday, April 10 :: ADS NO LONGER AVAILABLE!

We have reached our print deadline for the program book and will no longer accept ad purchases, and ads will no longer be a part of sponsorship recognition.

  • • • • Friday, April 12 :: Guest List Deadline – DUE TOMORROW!

Please turn in the names of guests for tables earned. If you have any questions about the amount of seats you have earned or have been purchased on your behalf, please contact me. Team members can make purchases at www.mwoy.org/ftw, then click on ‘Meet the Candidates’. Select your candidate then click on ‘Attend the Gala’ on the right of their page.

  • • • • Friday, April 24 :: Donation Collection Deadline

All monies raised by each candidate, including sponsorship and matching gift commitments, must be received by LLS no later than 3 p.m. on May 10. Cash, checks and credit cards will be accepted the night of the Grand Finale through ballot boxes and donation texts.

  • • • • Friday, April 26 :: Grand Finale Gala – winners announced!

6:30-10 p.m. (6:00 p.m. start time for candidates)

Ceruti’s Diamond Room at Summit Park


2 weeks people, 2 weeks! I can't wait to see our Boy and Girl of the Year at the Gala, and the looks on their faces when they sense the love and support in that room.


We are all a team that night - the one on their side. Come out and join us if you'd like! You can purchase tickets on this site / donate through 3pm on April 24th.


Thank you so much for your continued support and for following us on this journey.


14 days!


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