Sunday, December 7, 2008

Thank you part 1: Reality hits me

For the past few years, I have set aside a portion of my monthly salary to apply to causes I believe in. A magazine my sister introduced me to call Need has identified a number of causes I believe in and allowed me to find what I consider to be good organizations doing good, important work throughout the world. If I decide not to be actively involved in this area for work , I believe I should support it financially. Ideally, I would like to get to the point where I do both, and I believe at some point fairly soon I will.

On Saturday, we had an injury prevention/swimming/running clinic followed by a potluck for our honorees. Each team in Team In Training has around 7 honorees. Some of our honorees are survivors (including a triathlon team member - Go Team!), others are currently struggling with the various diseases (including two children under 8), and one is the father of one of our coaches who has, sadly, passed away. They showed a video of him from 5 different stages as his cancer progressed and if you haven't seen someone receiving chemotherapy in the last stages of cancer, believe me it's terrible. But that's why I'm doing this event.

Or rather, it's part of the reason I'm doing the event. I figured this was a good cause because, let's be honest, everyone knows cancer is bad. I also wanted to get in shape, meet some good people, and learn how to train my body. So far so good. What I had not anticipated was how disconnected I had actually become from the causes I was sponsoring, I was simply sending a check and moving on. This is fine and, let's be honest, necessary, especially with the economy doing what it's doing right now. However, it does not provide the emotional connection that hearing people tell their stories does. Besides watching the video, we heard from two survivors, one of whom is actually training with us. She was in the hospital for 2+ months, 2 years in and out of the hospital with side effects and complications, and is training for a triathlon. It has been 7 years since she left the hospital and she looks great. I knew all this, had read it before I joined the team, heard it from a friend who's sister went through this, but it wasn't real. Now, at least for a little while, it is.

I remember being in a remote area of Honduras and seeing first had what slash and burn/illegal foresting does to an area, how it destroys beauty. I have been donating periodically to an environmental group, but I rarely do so while thinking of those black dead hill sides in Honduras. I realize I need to constantly remind myself to remember. Maybe sometimes we all do.

I understand this is a long winded and winding way to get to where I'm going and I hope to send a more appropriately focused email thank you shortly, but I wanted to thank each and everyone of you who supported me for giving me this opportunity, for helping me learn and remember and realize. I wanted to thank everyone who cannot support me now for reading this blog. I want to thank everyone for being good people and doing what you can to make the world a better place. Ultimately though, I want and need to thank everyone for supporting me in this project, past projects, and maybe, hopefully, future projects (I'll be in touch...).

Go Team!

PS: Go Team! is the Team In Training motto, how we end trainings and say to each as we pass during our runs or rides. It's motivating and team building. I might not always work well with other children, but I do appreciate you all for being my team. Thanks.

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