Tonight was the official kick-off of the winter Team in Training session. When I first heard about the Lavaman Triathlon, I thought of it as the "what's next" after completing the Danskin Triathlon in August. But in the last couple of weeks, and especially tonight, it became so much more.
I remember being in my apartment, it was a sunny day, my husband was there and the phone rings. "I have cancer" my dad tells me. I don't remember my response, just the fear. I know he told me a lot of details here, what kind of cancer, what the treatment would be, but I don't remember any of it. All I remember is "I have cancer".
For the next several months I would hear updates. Visits became more frequent. It was important to go home for Christmas. Then in January, the visits became almost weekly. As soon as my husband and I would get off work on Friday, we would get in the car (making sure the cats had enough food for the weekend) drive late into the night, arrive early Saturday, spend the day, then head back to Seattle on Sunday. Eight hours each way (if the weather was good) for eight hours with my dad.
I remember Valentine's day, 1996. My dad was in the ICU and wanted to give my mom a gift. I spent hours trying to find just the right card (ending up buying five so that he could pick just the right one).
I remember what I knew in my heart would be my last conversation with my father.
I remember a phone call... "You should come back" (although I knew it would be too late).
Tonight, at our Team in Training kick-off, we heard from someone who is a blood cancer survivor. She praised not only the doctors and researchers, but also the people who do Team in Training events to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). The money raised by LLS directly helped to fund research that not only made her treatment easier than it would have been in the past, but ultimately saved her life. All I could think was "if only this could be my Dad's story..."
So, "what's next" is the Lavaman Triathlon on the Big Island of Hawaii on March 28, 2010. Five months of training, six days a week (in Seattle weather), so that I will be able to complete a 1-mile swim, 25-mile bike ride and a 6-mile run. I want to do this, not just for me, not just in memory of my dad, but for all the dad's out there who could have a fighting chance of beating this disease.
Please make a donation to support my participation in Team In Training and help advance LLS's mission. Absolutely any amount will be appreciated, it all adds up!