Gwen Runyan was 48 years old when she was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in 2006. While still reeling with the shock of diagnosis, she was stunned when doctors told her the life expectancy for this type of blood cancer was only five years. She promptly got her affairs in order and started treatment. When she went into remission in 2007, she pledged to be more active and started running marathons with Team In Training (TNT). Below is the mission moment she shared with a TNT team during a recent Saturday morning training:
"I was going to make this mission moment about me because it is my 6th birthday and I was only suppose to live five years. Because of this past weekend I realized that I had almost forgotten how terrifying cancer is. You see it's always in the back of our minds and sometimes little things trigger the memories. As a cancer patient, every time you get sick, every time something hurts, we always think the cancer is back. That is why I want to tell you how important what you are doing is. Not just the fundraising, but the friends we make and knowing someone cares. As cancer patients go through chemo it very hard to make decisions about our health and the worries about money. Ask yourself when you are healthy how would I make it if I had to be off work and still pay bills? How would I handle driving myself to a clinic three hours away if no one was there to help? How would I manage a $130,000 hospital bill even if I had insurance because its not all covered. Do you sacrifice buying food or not pay the mortgage? These are actual things that caner patients go through on top of trying to get better. This is where you are so very important the money you raise, the time you give or the random phone call you make to ask how someone is doing means so much. When you raise money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society you are giving a cancer patient a chance to get through the hard parts without worrying about some of the everyday things. When you raise money its not just for a cancer patient it’s also for the family that doesn’t know how they will make it through another day, and it’s for all of you because you don’t know who the next person will be. If we don’t do it then the help and the money will not be there. So the next time you are fundraising and you think well I don’t like to bother people think how that person you didn’t want to bother would feel if next week it was them and no one cared. I have not ever had one person tell me not to email them or not to call them. I have not had one person say that’s not what I want to give money to. It is my experience if they don’t want to they will just not respond for some reason, maybe things are tight right then. In a couple weeks send a reminder. You will be surprised the next time you fundraise they will be the first one to donate. For example, my 80-year-old aunt donated $25 and I haven’t seen her in 30 years. Maybe she knows someone with cancer or maybe she just had a few extra dollars, either way if you keep your site out there on the social networks you will get to your goal. So I just want to thank each and every one of you for what you do. It’s a big responsibility that we all take very seriously. Keep moving my friends!"
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