On this day, 5 years ago, I completed my first half marathon in San Francisco with Team in Training, raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. At that time, I wasn't aware of anyone I knew personally affected by blood cancers, but the amazing women and men I met on the team during training, were survivors, friends, and relatives of people who endured or lost their battles with cancer.
Fast forward to April 2017, when my best friend, Donald, asked me to take him for a lymph node biopsy. Unbeknownst to us both, this would be the first of many dates with medical professionals on his journey. I sat in the waiting room for his doctor to visit with me after his biopsy, and when she conversed with me, she told me it needed to be confirmed with pathology, but she was sure of what she saw and it was lymphoma. My first thoughts were: "I have to call his Mom and tell her the doctor is pretty sure her son has lymphoma" and "did she tell Donald yet or do I need to?" I told them both and it was one of the toughest things I've ever done in my life.
I became Donald's cancer liaison after he was officially diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and attended every doctor visit, saw him receive his chemo treatments, checked on him, and watched him adjust his eating, workouts, and work schedule to try and maintain some sense of normalcy.
More importantly, I saw my best friend fight through to the other side and beat the cancer. Even as of now, we continue to go for scans and his life will always be impacted in some way by what he has been through, but he is a survivor.
I now have a personal connection to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and I will be embarking on another first...a TRIATHLON on March 31, 2019 on the Hawaiian island of Kona! And I will be completing this in HONOR of my best friend and SURVIVOR, Donald Stutson!
Please help me reach my fundraising goal, as I know for a fact that the funds we continue to raise, go to the research that has helped so many others, and also saved my best friend's life! (Fundraising link in bio)
Thank you for your generosity!
I love you, @d_stut