heart of a lion.

1 Apr

Have you ever met someone whose drive and determination urge you, push you to become a better person? Someone who inspires those around them without even realizing the importance of their actions? I have. And what amazes me the most is that she doesn’t have even the slightest of inklings in the significance of her experiences and how she, with all that she has gone through, teaches those around her to be the best that they can be.

Caitlyn is that person for me. My bff since our “love” of swimming began with the MYST swim team back in 1996. Since then we maneuvered our way though all sorts of ups and downs and ins and outs, from Christmas light runs, to the merits of crying songs vs rock-out songs, boys, more boys, oh did I mention boys?, and of course, the soul-breaking deliciousness of a Homer’s hot-fudge, brownie sundae (with extra fudge of course); but the biggest eye opener was when Caitlyn was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma shortly after graduating from Miami U in 2008. When she told me the news, I, of course burst into tears, cursing the complete unfairness of the universe; but Ms. No-Nonsense, glass half-full Caitlyn talked me off the ledge, bringing humor to the situation and set out to explain the course of treatment for the next several months. You see her body would be ravaged by six months of powerful treatments to rid her of the cancer that had taken over her lymphatic system. True to form, Caitlyn made the best of a crummy situation by bringing humor to each day–girl had a wig for every occasion and each was named accordingly, if that gives you the slightest indication of the grace with which she handled what was given to her. A year later Caitlyn was granted a clean bill of health and decided to celebrate by running the Bank of American Chicago Marathon with Team in Training to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Three years later, Caitlyn is still running and still raising money to better the world for those battling this terrible disease. 2013 will be her fourth Chicago Marathon and I can already tell you, she’s going to rock it. While earning all those miles, pounding the pavement along Chicago’s Lakefront Path, Caitlyn will be supporting Team In Training’s mission, by striving to find a cure, and increasing the quality of life of those effected by blood cancers. 

If you are interested in contributing to Caitlyn’s cause, donations can be made through the following link http://pages.teamintraining.org/il/chicago13/caitlyns. Once you submit your donation, you will receive a confirmation email and Caitlyn will be notified as soon as you confirm.

Before I sign off, here’s some food for thought:

  • There are nearly 958,000 Americans battling blood cancers
  • One person, every minute, is diagnosed with a blood cancer approximately every four minutes.
  • New cases of leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma will account for 9% of the 1,596,670 new cancer cases diagnosed in the United States this year.
  • The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) is the largest voluntary cancer research agency specifically focused on finding cures and better treatments for blood cancer patients.




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