Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Elijah Update: My Sweatshirt Goal

Always smilling
Even though he is done with chemo, he has to stay at the Clinic for at least 6 weeks to be monitored for various things and to undergo more tests. A couple days ago, he was visited by Josh Tomlin and Cody Allen of the Cleveland Indians and their wives and received tickets to the game and an autographed baseball! How cool is that?! Today he is fighting a fever, he received transfusions for blood and platelets with possible surgery today as bacteria grew on the blood culture from his line so they maybe be replacing it. Through the highs and the lows, in typical Elijah fashion, he is all smiles and in good spirits. Gotta love that kid!

As you know, I am running this years Race for the Place 5K in his honor. We are only 17 days away from race day and I'm getting more excited as it get's closer! So far I have 11 people on my team Just Keep Swimming…and Running I have raised $289.25 in donations so far. Thank you to everyone who has joined my team and/or has supported my efforts by making a donation.

My end goal is to raise $1,800 in honor of the 18th birthday Elijah had to spend at the Clinic. If I am able to raise $500, though, I will earn an embroidered Gathering Place sweatshirt. I would love to give that sweatshirt to Elijah since he is my inspiration for this years and I am only $210.75 from that goal. Will you help? All donations are tax-deductible. To make a donation and help me earn the sweatshirt for Elijah, visit my personal race page. There is still plenty of time to join my team, too, so you can also join my team there.

Thank you for your support. It means more to me than you know!

A sweatshirt for Elijah

Some Cleveland Indians stop in to say hello

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

My brother's 45th birthday

Rick holding my son, Kelly
Fourty-five years ago today, my baby brother, Rick, was born. Even though we fought like brothers and sisters do, he was so much fun to grow up with. So many happy memories! I will never forget how he would make us laugh, especially when we were camping: we'd be at the pool and he'd do his crazy dives and belly flops, or when Janna and I made him talk like a girl and called him "Suzie" because we had to take him into the girl's restroom since he couldn't see at night. There are many other happy memories, but those are the two I remember most often, especially since we still camp to this day. And the happy memories continued as we got older. Rick had the most amazing smile and even more amazing hugs and there is not a day that goes by that I don't miss him terribly. But I know that for every day I miss him, I am one day closer to seeing him again.

I think one of the hardest things about his birthday this year is that in the next week or so, I will welcome my first grandchild. It really hit me like a ton of bricks this morning when I came across the picture of Rick holding my Kelly when he was a few days old or remembering when he came to see me in the hospital and how excited he was to be an uncle again. Knowing my brother will not be here to welcome Kelly’s son, Kelly Jr., or hold him, or knowing he is just one more family addition who will never have the pleasure of knowing my brother, makes me miss not only him, but Papa D, all the more.

There are so many songs that would be fitting for this day, but rather than trying to choose the “best” one, I decide to repost the YouTube video I made in May, 2011.

Happy birthday, Rick. I know you are smiling down on us from heaven and I am thankful for God’s promise that this life isn’t the end and I will see you again someday. Love you, brother! Give Papa D a kiss and hug from me. xoxox

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Elijah update: 5.9.17

Nurses attack with silly string
Elijah update from his mom:

"Today was this boys last day of chemo! He is officially done. Now we wait for his blood counts to drop and come up. Praying he doesn't get fevers or mouth sores. His body handled it really well. He had to have a heart echo and an EKG, as well as a CT due to some chest pains. So far he's doing OK. The Minimal Residual Disease (MRD) came back negative for any small amount of Leukemia. My boy is still leukemia free. We are still anticipating about 6 weeks here and then we will find out what happens from there. There is also a cytogenetic test result we are waiting for as well but won't get back until Monday. God is still good. Thank you everyone who has continued to pray and come alone on this journey with us.

He was starving today. He is eating French onion soup...x2. You'd never know looking at him that he's been fighting a life threatening disease for the last 4 months! I've seen a quote the other day that said, "people who say winning doesn't matter never fought cancer!""


Thank you to everyone who has been praying, sending good thoughts, positive vibes, wishes, etc. over these last several months for Elijah and his mom. They continue to win the war but the battle is not over so keep them coming. They are truly making all the difference.

As you know, I am running the Race for the Place 5K on June 4 is his honor and my goal is to raise $1,800 for the 18th birthday he had to spend at the Clinic receiving treatment. I would love for you to join my team: Just Keep Swimming…and Running! Not a runner? No problem, you can walk the 5K or sign up for the 1 mile walk. If you aren't able to participate in the race in person but would like to make a donation to support our efforts, you can do so on this page using the "Give Now" button on the right of my personal race page.

Thank you for your support.

Monday, May 1, 2017

It's Time of Year Again: The Annual Race for the Place 5K

Elijah after he was
admitted in January
If you've been following my blog over the years, you'll know that The Gathering Place's annual Race for the Place 5K/1Mile Walk is a special race to me for many reasons and I run it every year for the ever-growing list of friends, family members, and other loved ones who have been diagnosed with cancer. It was the race that "started it all" for me running wise in 2014 and what I now refer to as my "race-a-versary." It is held the first Sunday in June, rain or shine, on National Cancer Survivors Day

In 2016, there were a lot of races I wanted to do and decided with so many on my schedule, I would pick one to serve as my "goal" race meaning it would be the race I worked towards setting my 5K PR for that year. With all this race has become to me, it only made sense so 2016's race would be "for" me and I decided to make my goal to run the 5K in under 25:00. I also decided to branch off from the team we were with and team Just Keep Swimming…and Running was formed. Not only did I finish in 24:43, achieving my goal, I finished 3rd overall in the Female Cancer Survivor division.

This year, I am running it in honor of Elijah, a young man whom I got to know through the Young Marine program I have been a staff member of for the last 11 years. Elijah is currently undergoing a long and very intense treatment at the Cleveland Clinic for AML, a very aggressive form of leukemia. Since Elijah had to spend his 18th birthday in the hospital, I made my fundraising goal $1,800. My time goal for this year is to set a new PR of a sub 24:00 5K also in honor of him.

We are team "Just Keep Swimming...and Running" and I would love for you to join us to support this wonderful cause! Not a runner? No problem! Walk the 5K or sign up to do the 1 Mile Walk. Either way you are supporting an wonderful organization. Even though this event is a fundraiser for The Gathering Place, there is no pressure to raise a certain amount of money when you join a team like there is with other charity races. As a matter of fact, several people solely pay the race fee which serves as their contribution. Of course, donations are always appreciated but certainly not required.

To learn more about The Gathering Place and the free services they offer to cancer patients and their families right here in our community, please visit their website at or their Facebook page.

Thank you for your support!