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December 15, 2008

Running for a Cure

Handcircle_12 As the oldest of three sisters, I have often been held up as the role model. My sisters followed in my footsteps, just because I was the first. Now that we are adults and our ages have leveled, the roles are often reversed. While in college, my sister Charlotte frequently stayed at friends' houses over long weekends because our parents lived in France. Her favorite place to visit was Meg's house. Meg's mom, Joyce, always went out of her way to welcome her and make her feel at home. Joyce greeted her with fresh plump towels on the bed, a nice glass of wine, and a series of questions about her family. Joyce and her husband were really the picture perfect parents. They were high school sweethearts and just loved to have big barbecues for all the friends of their four children. Their beautiful yellow house sits on top of a hill with a huge porch with a swing chair. In the morning, Joyce always made her sit on the chair with a blanket and brought her coffee. Being welcomed in their family always gave Charlotte the peace she needed to go back to school recharged.

Four months ago, Joyce's household collapsed when she was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. One day, she was gardening and felt a sharp pain running up her back. They took her to the doctor and she had broken a vertebrae. A bunch of tests were done and Multiple Myeloma was the diagnosis. Since then she has been through several months of chemo and recently, a stem cell transplant. Multiple Myeloma is a blood cancer and at this time it is not curable. These are all just efforts to delay the disease process.

Charlotte felt helpless as she watched Joyce waste away. She wrote them notes, visited, and sent flowers, but she wanted to do more, anything to help this family. So she decided to join Team in Training and run a marathon in her honor. Team in Training is a running group that is part of a larger organization called the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) which is dedicated to funding blood cancer research, education and patient services.

Although my sister is a runner, she'd never run longer than 10 miles before signing up with Team in Training. But Team in Training gives great training, so she felt confident that she would be able to finish. She's running her race this spring in New Jersey and has to raise $2,600 in exchange. I don't think I've ever been more proud of her. Not only has she given herself a colossal challenge with her first marathon, but she's also taking the definition of charity to a new level by making this cause such a huge part of her life. I hope that Meg and her mother Joyce will able to cheering with me this spring when Charlotte crosses the finish line.

Original NJ Moms Blog Post. Vanessa Druckman also posts daily at her blog, Chefdruck Musings.

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