Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Karen G.

So, as I have stated before, the reason I started this blog was because I am raising money for Cancer Research. Our family doesn't have much of a history of cancer (well, I say that but my granddaddy told me he had 3 uncles that died from it and my real dad's mother died of lung cancer - so actually we do), but over the past couple of years, I have really noticed cancer's affects people's lives. Everyone seems to have had it, had a family member that had it, had a friend that had it, something. For some of my blogs, I'd like to dedicate an entry to a person that I know that has been affected by it.

Karen G. is a person that I know and have known over the last 2-3 years. She is a lady that has been through a tremendous amount and she always has a positive attitude. I would consider her a role model.

Some general information about Karen: She has two siblings, a brother and sister, she does not have any children but she has a husband of 20 years (I think), Mike. Both of them are wonderful people who do a lot in their community.

Last year, in April, Karen had a brain aneurism. Karen is young, I think she's in her late 40's, early 50's, she is in shape, she's always taken care of herself... she just had an aneurism and it was scary. She had a hard time remembering things, she was in ICU for a long time, but throughout it all, she always maintained a strong faith and a positive attitude. Her husband, Mike, said that he gained so much hope from her and it helped bring them closer together. The thing that I took from it was that things happen, but it doesn't mean that I can't get through it. God has a plan for me and sometimes, it's different than what I think, sometimes, it's not perfect. (in my eyes). It was horrible thinking that Karen might not make it, but I think that she showed people that we can get through anything in our lives, and that even in bad times we are blessed.

Karen recovered, she was walking and talking and her memory got better, it was like nothing had ever happened. Fast forward to earlier this year, Karen went to the doctor because she had a lump in her throat. She was diagnosed with Non Hodgkins Lymphoma. It was aggressive, but the doctors went forward with treatment. She went through several rounds of Chemo and most recently, had some type of stem cell treatment. She is in remission now, but it has been a tough road. I've gotten updates through friends of mine, and through Mike.

My first thought was, how much is God going to put Karen through? I still dont know the answer. I don't understand why people get cancer, because although I can say, Karen is such a wonderful person, she's so happy and positive, she is strong and has such good advice, she is a good role model and she's someone that I aspire to be one day, I cannot say that she does not deserve cancer, because no one does. But it's here... and of people who get it, they always have a loved one who can't understand why.

What I can say is that, in spite of all that has happened to her, she still remains positive, still is strong, and still has faith in God and what His plan is. I'm grateful to know her and I can't wait until she gets better so I can see her again.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Spinx Runfest October 30th, 2010

Yesterday, my mom and I participated in the Spinx Runfest, a run that includes a marathon, a half marathon and a 5k. This is what we have been training for with iRungreenville for the past 10 weeks and my mom's first 5k. I was excited because this was my first time doing a 5k with a program such as iRungreenville, so I was proud of my mom, my team members, my co-caption (Jeanne who was running the marathon) and myself for doing something that was much bigger than me.

The day started early as I ran with my friend, Cassie, at 7:00 am. This was my long run, all in preparation for the half in february. Mom picked me and dropped me off to meet Cassie so she could get downtown early. All of my other runs have included a run/walk combination, but today, we just decided to run for 50 minutes. It felt good and time went by quickly as Cassie is good company! I think I usually talk her ear off, but she keeps coming back, so I think she likes it. When mom met me to pick me up, I felt good and was ready for this 5k.

We met the iRungreenville group at Rainer's on main street and prepared for the race to start. It was cool having everyone meet in one spot and we all talked about our nerves, much of the group participating in their first 5k. Some members of the group read motivational quotes, reminding us that all of us are strong and ready for this race. Each quote highlighted the fact that we are facing our fears, doing something that most people think they can't do, congratulating us for our efforts and telling us to reap the rewards. I felt really connected to the group and felt a different feeling than I ever felt at a 5k. We walked to the starting line and got ready to run.

Mom and I had a plan, we were going to tackle the first part of the race running 3 minutes, walking 1 minute. It was mainly downhill and I knew that we could tackle 3 minutes running easily. The second half of the race was a lot of uphill, so we decided to run that part 1 minute, walk 1 minute to the finish line. Mom looked good running and I instantly knew she was going to beat her time. As we ran down McBee, some people had signs on their shirts that said, cheer for me, Dan so as I ran by, I yelled "yay, dan" (I don't remember the exact names, so that's as creative as I can get).

As we ran up Main St, we came close to the stadium and I realized we were ahead of our time. I knew mom was going to beat her 5k time and I was so excited. The cool thing about this race is that it ends in the Greenville Drive stadium, so the last tenth of a mile, you run the outside of the stadium.  People are cheering you on and as you run towards the finish line, people are yelling, almost like you're going to score a run. Mom, a 53 year old woman who smokes, finished her first 5k in 36:14 with only 10 weeks of training. (it was a gun start so the time in the paper was different, but I brought my watch for that reason). I was so proud of her and I know that she was proud of herself too. We decided to get some food and sit in the stands to cheer on the rest of the runners. The coolest moment was when an older man (he was part of the iRun group) ran across the finish line and the whole stadium got up and cheered. there was also another man, Grady, who was a heavier set guy when he started, he had a bad knee, but he continued with the training group and ran the race. He crosssed the finish line and again, we all stood up and cheered him on. That moment was so rewarding because I witnessed two people do something that was not easy for them to do, but they did it. I also saw a group of people forget about themselves, forget about their times, forget about competition and band together to build others up. Our world seems to be so obsessed with tearing people down, you sometimes need to be reminded that all of us are good, all of us have goodness in us, and I felt very overwhelmed. I almost teared up because it felt so good to be a part of something so positive. That is why I like running, because anyone can do it, and it feels so good when you do.

Greenville is very lucky to have a group like iRungreenville because it's a place where beginners can go, get direction on how to start running and do it with people that care about others. I am so grateful to be a part of this group and I thank Holly Di Giovine and Melissa Adrian for all they have done to build the program. Of all of the races I have participated in, this has been the best one by far. 1) because I ran it with my mom who i am so proud of and 2) because of the atmosphere I experienced