Friday, April 1, 2016

Team Five Alive: More Than the Cheerleader

Kelly Nesbit, co-captain of Team Five Alive, faces a unique challenge as the team rolls into the third month of its goal of raising $100,000+ for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) in one year through Team In Training (TNT).  Kelly transitions from the role of her husband's cheerleader to being front and center of the action.  Read below as she chronicles her experience.

March 17, 2016
It’s only 3 days away from what will be my 3rd half marathon ever and I once again have managed to let the sinus/allergy/congestion ‘crud’ find me just before the BIG day. Feeling sorry for myself because I am not feeling well, have not ran in the past 10 days and fearful I will fail.  I question why I have committed to such a journey. You see, prior to May 2015, I opted to be the cheerleader – not the participant.  I have been saying to myself over the past few days “being the cheerleader was a whole lot easier”! Don’t get me wrong, the cheerleaders play an important role too – we NEED the cheerleader to help us all meet our goals!  Needless to say, I was not excited about enduring 13.1 miles in just a few days!

Then, these words fell before me on a social media page of one of my own daughter’s close friends:
My sister-in-law is in the final stages of fighting cancer. Please pray for our family as we say good-bye.
Her battle has brought out some deep emotions I was not expecting. Hurt, anger, fear. Part of me feels like I’m reliving a moment in my own life, one that I've suppressed for a long time. My mom died of cancer when I was 13. She was 31.
As a daughter who lost her mother I feel so much for her girls and the pain they are going through. I remember my mom in the final stages of her battle with cancer. The last time I saw her I was so shocked by her appearance, how quickly she had deteriorated. So frail, she couldn't speak but kept trying desperately to say something. I was so afraid and overwhelmed, I kept thinking "that's not my mom, it can't be."
I understand that look and her desperation so much more now that I’m a mother. I know all the things she wanted me to know but wasn't able to say. The weight of it all is immeasurable, watching time slip away from you. I can't imagine the feelings and fears she has experienced these past few months.
I don't want to let cancer steal the spotlight. I don't want to let cancer be the mark of memory on a person whose life is so much bigger than that. Cancer shouldn't cast a shadow over someone who shines so bright.
The words brought tears to my eyes and strength into my soul. I cannot imagine saying good-bye to any of my loved ones, especially my children.

Sometimes the memory of David’s fight with CLL is clouded by his incredible success. We are so blessed! BUT, I know I made the decision last year to be a fighter for those who can’t. At the same time, I can continue to be a cheerleader for those who have won. So, I will march on.
 Dallas Rock ‘n Roll – look out – the Nesbits are coming to play!

March 22, 2016
Sunday was game day! I was still not feeling 100%, but I was committed and that meant there was no turning back. David promised that he would stay with me the entire run – so the thought was “let’s do this!"

I dressed in layers because it was a chilly 38 degrees when we left our house. I carefully selected items that I would be alright with dumping should I need to. I checked and double checked that I had everything I needed for a successful day. Though, I could feel the anxiety start to build.  Our plan from the moment we signed up to do this race was to treat it like a training day – so I had to remind myself of the plan over and over again in attempts to calm down.

We arrive! We manage to find my sister and other TNT teammates in the massive crowd. We all huddled together in attempts to keep warm while standing in our corral. Words of encouragement are shared. The National Anthem plays…..and we are off!

As we are winding through the streets, I can feel slight rays of confidence. I am feeling strong, not feeling out of breath (which was a concern from the ‘crud’) and loving that I have both my husband and sister with me.  Now if someone could just turn up the heat a few degrees! Brrrr!

We near the 5 mile marker and I become nauseous. David encourages us to walk. I feel defeated! So I had to remind myself – this feeling CANNOT be worse than chemo! This CANNOT be as bad as saying goodbye to my loved ones! Just put one foot in front of the other and you will get to the finish line! Sadly, not everyone battling blood cancers can say that with a fair amount of confidence. David and I then held hands and snuggled up together to keep warm as we walked. While our finish time was not a ‘PR’ based on time – it was a ‘PR’ based on the experience. It was tough. It was hilly. It never warmed up. BUT we stopped to take pictures and act a little silly and for the first time, WE FINISHED TOGETHER!

Team 5 Alive
In celebration of David’s 5th year anniversary of the completion of chemo I have committed to run 5 half marathons. The Dallas Rock ‘n Roll was the first of the 5 events that we will complete together this year.

As the Co-Chair to Team 5 Alive – my motto is to never give up! We have so much to be thankful for, yet so much work that is yet to be done! I am thrilled to say that as of this very second Team 5 Alive has raised $46,066. This amazing group of individuals has raised nearly half of our goal in just 8 weeks! I am over the moon grateful for what this team has done!

Come join us at Community Brewery Company for the month of April and enjoy a ‘Charity’ beer. Until next month, may you all find peace, love, health and happiness!



Kelly Nesbit is the co-team captain of Team Five Alive and will be posting monthly about their goal to raise $100,000 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in honor of  David's fight.  

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