Saturday, November 19, 2011

I'm Running to Save Lives


For the past few years I have had a personal goal to run a half marathon. Last year when I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, I became concerned with not only my treatment options for this disease, but also whether my body would be able to handle the rigorous training regimen. Thankfully, I’ve responded very well to treatment and am very fortunate to live with minimal to no pain on a daily basis.  I understand that the availability of my own viable treatment options is not only due to investments made into scientific research of diseases, but also due to social awareness programs to spread information regarding these diseases.

Because of my unique situation, I know firsthand that scientific research can give people back their lives, and for those diagnosed with blood cancer, research advancements can literally make the difference between life and death.  This is why I am running the Surf City Half Marathon with the goal to raise $2,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society by December 20, 2011.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is dedicated to curing leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, and myeloma, and improving the quality of life for patients and their families.  I am asking for your support for my participation in this incredible event to raise funds for more effective treatment and on-going research to stop blood cancer from taking more lives. With your donation, you will help advance LLS’s mission to FIND A CURE! Seventy-five percent of all funds raised go directly to research, education programs and patient services.

We do our team runs on Saturday mornings- early Saturday mornings. The past couple of weeks it has been rainy and cold when we've gathered in the park for our workout.

When my alarm goes off and my bed is so warm I draw inspiration from Kimie to get my butt in gear.

Kimie is the OC/IE Spring Team in Training honoroed hero. She is an energetic and charismatic six year old. You would never suspect that behind her infectious giggle, Kimie is battling a rare subtype of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

When Kimie was 4 years old and preparing to start kindergarten, the lab tech that did the processing read the requisition slip wrong and did a peripheral smear of her blood. He noticed that her white blood cells looked abnormal and instead of throwing the slide away and admitting he'd done the wrong test, he sent it to pathology.

Her primary care physician confirmed that she had 9% blast cells and referred the family to oncology. As a nurse, Kristine Metcalf (Kimie's mom) was in shock because Kimie did not have any symptoms of a child with leukemia- she wasn't pale or bruised and had tons of energy.

Kimie was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Lymphoma, which fortunately has a 90% survival rate with proper treatment. Kimie's doctor admitted her the next morning and she had a bone marrow biopsy, surgical placement of her port-o-cath and started chemotherapy. She spent the next week in the hospital without complications until a second blow was dealt.

When Kimie's bone marrow results came back her doctor informed Kristine that Kimie had more than they originally thought. In additional to ALL, Kimie has a rare subtype called AF4/MLL. For this type of cancer the prognosis is only a 30-40% survival rate and is typically associated with infants.

Because Kimie is not an infant, there is no known treatment protocol. Kimie falls outside of known treatment parameters.

Kimie has been treated with aggressively and her cancer has been in remission over a year. She will continue her maintenance routine over the next year and a half and then stop all treatments.

This morning Kimie was at practice (in her dino costume) with a huge smile on her face, giving us all a little extra motivation to run through the rain. Every time I feel a little tired or think my run is a little too difficult, I draw from Kimie's effervescent energy because I know that with every mile we are coming closer to a cure for her and millions like her.

To donate to this cause:

1. My website. Enter the amount you wish to donate. Click “Donate Now!” and you will receive an e-mail confirmation immediately and tax receipt. (All donations are tax deductible!) Please check with your employer’s Human Resources department about matching gift funds that will double your donation. Just click on the web address to access my site:

If you have any questions regarding donations or LLS, or if you just want to lend some support, you can always reach me via e-mail.

I would love for you to visit my website from time to time to check my progress.

On behalf of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, thank you very much for your support.  I greatly appreciate your generosity!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Race for the Rescues

Right before Halloween my husband and I did an awesome 5K in Pasadena. Race for the Rescues was organized to raise funds to benefit 10 no-kill animal rescues in Los Angeles County.

Animal welfare is an issue that I've always felt passionately about. Since adopting my rescue puppy this summer, the plight of homeless and neglected animals has been at the forefront of my mind. As a fun bonus this event was at the Rose Bowl, my old stomping ground, I was really excited to be a part of it!

When we arrived the place was PACKED with runners and dogs. Koda thought he had died and gone to puppy heaven! I think the turnout was bigger than expected because the line to pick up our race gear was forever long. 

Once we finally got lined up the music started to play and the Laker girls cheered and everyone got pumped up! There were no pace groups so once the race started we were really squished and tried not trample over any little pups!

It was a beautiful fall day and I was so happy to be back in Pasadena. We started running and were able to break out of the pack a little bit and it was just a really fun run. Koda was a champ and kept looking back at me with a big smile on his face!

At the finish there was an adoption event and doggie costume contest! Everyone was really creative with the costumes- it was really cute!

There were also a lot of booths with dog treats and Koda made out like a bandit! It was stimulation overload and he slept the whole way home!

The event raised over $200K and was great to be a part of! I'll definitely be back next year- with Koda in costume!

Today's Question: Did you dress up your pet for Halloween?