I will be participating in the Boston Marathon on Sept. 14, 2020 (formerly April 20, 2020) as part of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) Team For Cures.
The work ahead of me? Race 26.2 miles (!) and raise at least $10,000 for the MMRF (!!). Both of these things are way outside of my comfort zone. Marathons are not easy and I have never attempted to raise this kind of money. But I think both are worth it.
Multiple myeloma is the second most common form of blood cancer and, though much progress has been made, still has one of the lowest five-year relative survival rates of all cancers. There are 12 different types of multiple myeloma, and, because myeloma morphs through treatment, patients often need new treatment options when they relapse.
Thanks to the important work of the MMRF and its partners, the FDA has approved 11 new treatments in the time it usually takes just one new drug to come to market. And there are 2-3 more treatment options right around the corner. But there is still no cure.
So what does this have to do with me, and, more importantly, you?
In early 2016, I was 38, getting ready to turn 39, and decided to take charge of my life. I was a wife, a mother to two great kids, a daughter and a friend. I was also a long-time employee at Scottrade, a St. Louis-based brokerage firm, working as a senior vice president in marketing. Life was busy, and it took a toll. I was overweight, unhealthy and often unhappy.
Enough. By the time I turned 40, I wanted to look in the mirror and be proud of the person I saw. I wanted to live life on my terms, take my family on adventures around the world without giving my weight or food a second thought. I wanted to zipline, climb, jump, fly and run. No regrets. No compromises.
For me, that meant I had to dedicate myself to a healthy lifestyle. I returned to running after a years-long hiatus and changed my diet. In about a year, I had lost 85 pounds.
About this same time, Scottrade CEO, Rodger Riney, was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a blood cancer of the plasma cell, which helps fight off infection.
Rodger founded Scottrade in 1980 and went on to positively impact the lives of thousands of employees and millions of investors and traders around the world. He has contributed generously to causes in St. Louis and elsewhere. He is a husband, father and grandfather. He is a mentor and inspiration to the thousands of men and women who worked at Scottrade through the years, myself included.
And yet, he would hesitate to tell you any of this himself. Through the years I have known him, he was always humble (often wrinkling his nose at my efforts to promote him in my role leading the company’s public relations). He lives by the golden rule – treat others as you would want to be treated – and has set that example for everyone around him.
After his diagnosis, Rodger decided to sell Scottrade. After a 15-year career, I (like many others) learned my job was going to be eliminated.
Through the sale of the company, Rodger (and others in leadership) made sure we were treated fairly and generously, just as he had done during his 35+ years in business. He is still beloved among former Scottrade employees who reminisce about their own personal experiences with Rodger (everyone has a Rodger story), his frugality and his affinity for the food in the company cafeteria.
Through the professional uncertainty, and the numerous ups and downs since I started my life-changing journey, running has been a constant. In October 2018, I ran my first marathon in Chicago, followed by the London Marathon in April. I have now set a goal to run all of the World Marathon Majors (Boston, New York, Berlin and Tokyo remain).
Next up is Boston. I have committed to run the iconic Boston Marathon on April 20, 2020, the day before my 43rd birthday. In doing so, I am fundraising for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation in Rodger’s name.
The MMRF is one of the most highly regarded cancer foundations in the world. The MMRF is in the top 1% of all charities, having earned Charity Navigator’s 4-star rating for the past 12 years in a row. 90% of the total MMRF budget goes directly toward research and related programming.
As part of my entry into the Boston Marathon, I have made a commitment to raise at least $10,000 to benefit MMRF – and I will need your help to get there. Generously, Rodger has offered to match donations and I really want to make him proud.
More importantly, patients need these funds to extend their lives while researchers work toward a cure. The fight for a cure to save the lives of people like Rodger is real and I believe we can make a difference. Anything you can contribute will be greatly appreciated.
**Want to double your impact? If your company matches your charitable donations, you can submit your donation information through your company's portal or HR to receive a match. Forward me your confirmation email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can get your match added to my fundraising total!
What a roller coaster this journey has been. I completed my virtual Boston Marathon on Sept. 11, 2020 by running and walking 26.2 miles at Creve Coeur Lake in St. Louis. It was certainly not how I planned it and I still have dreams of running Boston one day (maybe in 2022?) but I so glad I followed through and had so much support from so many people. I am proud of the $20,800 I raised for the MMRF and look forward to raising more in the future. Thank you to everyone who contributed.
So much has happened since my last update. When I first started hearing rumors that the Boston Marathon might be cancelled or postponed due to the rapidly spreading coronavirus, I was devastated. Like, I was nearly in tears. But by the time the Boston Athletic Association announced the race would be moved to Sept. 14, 2020, it was clear that race organizers did not have a choice and it was the right thing to do. I am honestly just grateful I still have a chance to run. My travel has been rebooked and God-willing I will run the Boston Marathon 25 weeks from tomorrow. For now, I am in maintenance mode with mostly easy runs during the week, one hard workout and long runs no more than 10-12 miles. My next training cycle will begin in late June. ... I am proud to say that thanks to many of you I have exceeded my fundraising goal, raising $10,400 for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. many know, I am running in honor of Rodger Riney, the founder and CEO of Scottrade, and Rodger is matching donations as promised, bringing my total to $20,800. ,,, I should also mention that fundraising will continue through the summer so there is still time to donate if you’re so inclined. There is still no cure for this disease and charities like the MMRF rely heavily on Boston Marathon charity runners to meet their annual fundraising goals. ... I just wanted to share this update so that those of you who have supported me, donated and are invested in my journey know that it’s not over and despite these crazy times, I am still working hard to achieve my goals and raise awareness for this important cause. Stay tuned and stay healthy and safe.
Tomorrow is 7 weeks until the Boston Marathon. Hard to believe. And I am in the middle of the hardest part of training, when the miles are the longest and the body and the mind are the most tired. The struggle is real but I keep visualizing what it will be like to have that Boston Marathon medal around my neck. Watching the Olympic Marathon Trials yesterday was equally as inspiring and motivating and I want to give the next 7 weeks everything I have without leaving anything on the table. *********************** Also, March is Multiple Myeloma Awareness Month and I will continue to bring awareness to this disease and the need for funding for research for a cure. While I have met my fundraising goal, the need is still there and I hope to continue to make a difference.
Today is 9 weeks until Boston and I am so proud to say I have met my fundraising goal! I can't thank everyone enough for your support. What a ride this has been since I collected my first donation in late September. I ran my longest run of this training cycle this weekend - 18 miles - and I felt strong. It was a great confidence boost. This Saturday, Feb. 22 at 2:30 p.m. is the yoga fundraiser at Detox Yoga in Wentzville so if you live in the area, please consider joining me. Any size donation gets you in to the class and all proceeds go to the MMRF.
Today is 11 weeks until Boston and I am getting closer and closer to my fundraising goal. I can't believe how generous everyone has been. I am so grateful. There are still 11 weeks to go to make a difference for multiple myeloma patients and I hope you will consider donating if you haven't already. I also wanted to announce that Detox Yoga in Wentzville is generously hosting a fundraiser BUTI class for me on Feb. 22 at 2:30 p.m. 100% of donations will go to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and any donation amount will get you into the class. Should be fun!
Tomorrow is exactly 12 weeks until the Boston Marathon. Time is flying! Two weeks ago I started a new job, too, so adjusting to a new schedule has proven to add an extra layer of stress and challenge. I missed my Wednesday run the first week and a Friday run this week but I am determined to adjust as needed and continue to get everything in. I'm still at about 30 miles a week but that needs to be going up. I feel very strong and healthy, both mentally and physically, though and remaining healthy is critical at this stage of my training. I received a generous donation this week that is in the process of being added to my total so I now have just $655 left to reach my $10,000 goal. I am blown away by everyone's generosity and I can't wait to get this over the finish line. And remember, anyone who donates $100 or more in January will have a chance to win a foursome at Lake Forest Country Club in Lake St. Louis, Mo., thanks to my friends Chrissi Blake and Jeff Pomeroy. It's a beautiful private golf course you may not have a chance to play otherwise and a great reason to donate this week! Thanks again to everyone. I am grateful for your support!
My husband, Seth, and I after the Frostbite Series' Half Marathon on Jan. 25. Seth has been endlessly supportive throughout this fundraising and training journey. He is currently training for his second marathon in March.
Crossing the finish line of the Frostbite Series' Half Marathon in Forest Park on Jan. 25 as part of a training run. I ran 3 miles before the race for a total of 16 miles.
Six miles on Jan. 17 in freezing rate and sleet. I stayed in my neighborhood so the houses would block some of the wind. You can see the ice on the front of my jacket. These are the moments I question my sanity! :)
The Boston Marathon is 13 weeks away (April 20) and the fundraising deadline is 12 weeks awat (April 13). I am $1,155 away from my goal and I cannot be more appreciative of everyone who has given so far. If you haven't donated yet, please consider helping me get over the finish line. I am so close! And remember, anyone who donates $100 or more in January will have a chance to win a foursome at a private golf course in Lake St. Louis, Mo., Forest Lake Country Club, that you might not have a chance to play otherwise. The value of this foursome is about $350 and I will announce the winner on Feb. 1. I started a new job this week and I kept up with my training minus one workout on Wednesday. My goal for this week is not to miss any workouts and power through the next few weeks until the race. Marathon training is very time consuming and juggling the training with a new job will be a challenge but I am committed and I just have to get it done. Period. Full stop. Just like the marathon itself, this period of training and craziness will be over eventually! Keep sending your positive thoughts my way because I sure will need them!
We are 14.5 weeks away from the Boston Marathon and 13.5 weeks away from the fundraising deadline. I have a little more than $2,000 left to go so I really need your help! Any amount is very appreciated and will do so much good for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. And to further persuade you to give, I have an incentive. My friends, Chrissi Blake and Jeff Pomeroy, have generously donated a foursome at Lake Forest Country Club in Lake St. Louis, Mo. Anyone who donates $100 or more in the month of January will be entered into a drawing for the foursome. Your chances of winning are good and the value of the foursome at this private country club is about $350. Here's a link to their website if you want to check out the course: https://www.lakeforestgolf.org/. I'll announce the winner on Feb. 1. As far as my training, I am averaging around 28-32 miles a week right now and that will go up in the next few weeks. I feel healthy and mentally strong to continue to put in the work every day to have a successful race. Keep sending your positive thoughts my way!
Workout for Multiple Myeloma FUNdraiser on Jan. 8, 2020 at Integrity Training Systems. We raised almost $500! Thank you for everyone who came out and generously donated!
I am hosting a fitness fundraiser on Jan. 8 at 6 p.m. at Integrity Training Systems in O'Fallon, Mo. Please consider joining me for a great workout (for a donation of $20 or more) or donating if you're not able to attend. I have a goal to raise an additional $800 by the end of 2019 and then I have until April 13, 2020 to get to $10,000! I'm getting closer but I still need your help. Here is the link for the fundraiser event information: https://www.facebook.com/events/781399272375040/ Training Update: The Boston Marathon is 18 weeks from TODAY. Last week I ran 26.4 miles and with cross-training and strength training, put in more than 10 hours of work. Each week, my mileage increases little by little and this week, I am scheduled to run 31 miles. So far, I feel like the training is going really well. My body feels healthy and I love the mix of weights, cross-training and running. Thank you all for your continued support!