The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Annual Light the Night fundraiser was on last Saturday on Nov. 3! As you might recall from my post 2/3 of the way through! several members of my Army family surprised me with a “Team Laura” night back in July. They had “Geaux Team Laura” t-shirts made and showed up at one of our favorite BBQ restaurants called The Salt Lick. Another way they showed their support was by creating a Geaux Team Laura team for Austin’s Light the Night. I’m so happy and proud to report that we exceeded our fundraising goal by more than $400! The event itself raised more than $830,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and I am so proud to have been a part of this amazing effort. I can’t wait to attend next year, and I hope to be further involved now that I have more time for living vs. surviving.
The Light the Night volunteers gave everyone balloons to symbolize their role of support at the walk. I was given a white balloon to show that I was a survivor. The others were given red balloons to show that they were supporters. Others were given gold balloons to show that they were walking in memory of someone who had passed away from blood cancer. I’m so thankful that I’m still here today to walk in these events and speak publicly about my illness. Seeing all the gold balloons brought home the fact that so many people are not here to do that for themselves.
Along with my Army family, some truly amazing friends of mine from Louisiana are also living in Austin and walked with us as well. They have been such a major part of my life and I don’t know where I would be without them.
Speaking of training, on Sunday I finished the second week of Couch to 5K! The second week work outs consisted of a 5 minute walk, followed by alternating intervals of 90 second runs and 2 minute walks, along with a 5 minute cool down walk. As I mentioned in my last entry, I’d been thinking about what I wanted my goal fitness goals to be beyond completing a 5K sometime around the New Year.
This past weekend, I did something a little crazy. I signed up for the Inaugural Nike Women’s Half-Marathon in Washington, D.C. to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I think its pretty rad that my first race will be the first year that the race will be held in D.C. Along with being our nation’s capital, it’s also one of my favorite cities and home to many of my amazing friends. The run will take place on April 28, 2013, which is significant to me for a couple of reasons. It’s the weekend after my 26th birthday. It also falls in between the first anniversaries of when I went into the ER for chest pain (April 20), and when I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s (May 11). It’s very fitting that I’ll get to celebrate both my birth and survival by running to raise awareness and funds to fight blood cancers! If you’re interested in helping me reach my goal, please visit my fundraising page.
Along with the excitement, I’m also scared as well! Even before I had cancer, I never ran that far in my life. I certainly have never committed to fundraising that much money as an individual before either! That being said though, after doing a lot of research and soul searching, I just know in my heart that this is the right time, the right race and the right cause for me. I can do this and I know I will feel amazing for it! Cancer has definitely shown me that there’s no time like the present to get busy living.