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I Made It!

Seeing my dad on the course
Seeing my dad on the course
Last Sunday, I finished my first marathon, the Walt Disney World Marathon, competing for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Team in Training.  I ran in honor of my father Bryan, who is fighting lymphoma, and Aylee Hoppe, the four year old daughter of long time friends.  

It was an amazing experience.  The race itself was one only Disney could put on.  The course takes you through all four theme parks, the ESPN Wide World of Sports and around the Disney Motor Speedway.  Much of the course had large crowds cheering us on, but of course, there was Disney entertainment and characters everywhere you looked.

More than a race though, the weekend was a chance for me to raise funds to fight cancer, blood cancers in particular.  Through the generosity of family, friends, business associates and complete strangers, I was able to raise almost $44,500 for the LLS.  This put me number 2 out of almost 700 racers. (To put it in perspective the avg was probable about $4000).

All weekend, the work the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society does was front and center. The guests of honor were the Whitehead family. The daughter Emily who is now 9 had leukemia and after a long fight was near the end. Doctors thought she had hours to live. Using an experimental treatment, funded by LLS, doctors used a modified HIV virus to attack her cancer cells. After a scary night, she pulled through and is now cancer free.  It was unbelievably moving to hear their story, see the money we raised in action, and see this family still together. The money we raised IS making a difference. We met many other people who have been affected by cancer, and many who are winning their fights thanks to new treatments, some of which are directly funded by LLS.

Finally, I learned that if I reach $50,000 in donations in the next month or so, I will be able to name a research grant in honor of my father and Aylee.  I'm still about $5000 away.  If you, anyone you know, or a local business would like to help me achieve that goal, while making a difference in the lives of cancer patients, you can contribute at the following link:


If you'd like to hear more about Emily Whiteheads amazing story, you can click on the following link as well:


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