Light the Night FSU 2015!

If you’ve spent any time with me online (or in person!), you know that the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLSUSA) is one of my main causes.

Many of my Charity Miles have been for LLSUSA.

Swamp Forest 2015

I participated in the United NYC Half Marathon in March 2015 as part of Team in Training for LLSUSA. Whereas I originally thought my March half marathon was going to be a “one and done” effort for LLSUSA, I felt differently after completing the race.

I feel differently because I know our fundraising efforts ARE making a difference, as seen in the recent approval of Darzalex for patients with previously treated Multiple Myeloma.

I feel differently because every step I take as part of Team in Training takes me into the orbit of someone else I grow to care about, from whom I simply can’t walk away, like Justin Karpf.

I met Justin, who is the honored hero at the upcoming FSU Light the Night walk, when I went to the Tequila and Tapas fundraiser at Madison Social in October. When I arrived, I noticed a young man in an LLS shirt. We talked about many things, including his law studies, his involvement in children’s health issues (yay!), and his girlfriend in New York. It wasn’t until he turned around and I saw that his shirt said “survivor,” that I realized he wasn’t just another patron there for the tequila and tapas.

Justin agreed to share his story:

Justin is seated to my right in this picture.

My name is Justin Karpf. When I was 20 years old, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  I was about to start my senior year at the University of Central Florida (UCF) in May 2012.  I did not feel particularly ill before being diagnosed, but I felt some soreness under my left arm. During a routine check-up that month, I told my doctor about it, which quickly led to scans, a diagnosis, and biopsies.  Luckily, my doctors caught the cancer early and I was able to start treatment shortly after the diagnosis.  I was involved with several student organizations and planned to spend the summer at UCF, but I ended up taking the summer and fall semesters off for chemotherapy and radiation.

After I was diagnosed, treatment started almost immediately.  I started with 6 rounds of chemotherapy, which started the week after my 21st birthday.  During chemo, I lost my hair and a lot of my strength.  Though I responded well to the treatment, I had to stay home most of the time because of how low my white blood cell count was, which also led to dietary restrictions. After chemo, I had a month of radiation treatment.  By the time I finished radiation, some of my hair had started to come back and I was able to eat and exercise normally again.  My cancer was in remission when I finished treatment, and has been for over 2 years now.

I still need to get scans twice a year and see my oncologists, but I have been able to get my life back on track. I graduated UCF in May 2013 and am now in my second year of law school at Florida State University (FSU).  My strength and hair have returned, but my life will never be the same; there is always the risk of relapse or a secondary cancer looming over me, but I am determined to continue working towards my goals and not living in fear.  I am fortunate that I was able to overcome this disease thanks to the amazing medical professionals that oversaw my treatment, as well as the support from my family, friends, and organizations like the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS).

Last year, I was a Team Captain and Honored Hero for LLS in Tallahassee and am privileged to do the same this year.  Light the Night is a great way to raise money for a great cause; the money we raise at events like Light the Night truly helps to save lives. Thank you to everybody who has walked with us before and welcome to those who are just joining us!

LLS SOLO

Ways You Can Help:

Make a donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society here (so Justin gets the credit!).

Join us Thursday, November 19, 2015, at Langford Green at 5:30 at FSU for the Light the Night festivities and walk.

Download the Rock My Run app on iPhone or Android, redeem the code PAULAK, and $1 will go to LLSUSA. Download it and then delete it next week if you really don’t care about the app, but I would appreciate the dollar for LLSUSA. (AND, the app is incredible; I use it almost exclusively for my fitness music needs!).

RMR Download UPDATED

Note: Justin’s story also appeared in the Tallahassee Democrat.

There are many great causes out there, and I enjoy supporting lots of different efforts. This one is at the top of my list and will be for the foreseeable future, for Mary Jane, Justin, and all the others for whom leukemia and lymphoma are part of their stories…..

Run LLS Pin

Tequila and Tapas: A Social for Leukemia and Lymphoma!

“You aren’t going up for a blessing?”

I attended mass at Good Shepherd this morning with my good friend, Jacqui, who is visiting from New Hampshire.

When Jacqui returned from receiving Communion, she asked why I had not gone up for a blessing (I am not Catholic).

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In the space of a few seconds, I tried to explain how that really wasn’t so much of a “thing” at Blessed Sacrament, where I have attended numerous times over a span of years due to my in-laws being extremely active members of the parish, how I really do love getting a blessing, but that I was never exactly sure how much that was a custom at Good Shepherd. Eventually, I said “what do I have to lose?” and got in line for a blessing.

You know what?

THE SKY DID NOT FALL!

I received a lovely blessing from Father Foley, a priest I respect very much and who was integral in helping me find a sponsor for Carla back when I took on the responsibility of finding her a sponsor through Unbound.

There’s something else worth getting out of your seat for!

Tequila and Tapas for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS)

Note: Tequila Servings at the Tapas and Tequila Social will be slightly smaller than this!

Ever since I found out that Madison Social will be hosting a Tequila and Tapas social for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) in advance of the November 19 Light the Night Walk, I have been hoping the event will be a success.

If you’ve been around my blog for a while, you might recall that a Tequila Social was the main fundraiser for my campaign to raise $2,500 for LLS so that I could participate in the New York City Half Marathon in March 2015. The event was so much fun (photo evidence here)! Madison Social was the perfect partner. However, I did not manage to sell the number of seats I committed to (or hoped for at least!), despite an effort to get the word out through multiple channels.

It occurs to me that some people out there who actually like tequila and tapas may be “staying in their seats” simply because no one has asked.

Therefore, just like my friend prompted me this morning, here I am asking you, “are you going to go?”

Here are the details!

  • What:      Tapas and Tequila!
  • Where     Madison Social (705 S. Woodward, Tallahassee)
  • When      Thursday, 10/29/15, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
  • Why        To Benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
  • Cost        $29 per ticket (a generous portion benefits LLS!)

This is going to be a Spanish style social gathering, which includes a sampling of different varieties of tequila and a table of tapas! There will be a table of smoky red pepper hummus (and if you haven’t had MadSo’s hummus, you don’t know what you’re missing!), short rib tacos, shrimp lettuce wraps and mussels. The tequila flight includes El Jimador Reposado, Avion Silver and Herradura Anejo.

Tickets are limited, so visit this link to get yours now!

My decision to get up out of my seat this morning resulted in a blessing; your choice to participate in Tapas and Tequila night will be a blessing to your taste buds, your social life, and the cause of LLS.

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If you can’t join us at the Tapas and Tequila Social, we would love for you to join us at Light the Night! It will be on Thursday, November 19, at FSU’s Langford Green. More info available via this link. If you would like to donate, my page is here. I am walking in honor of my awesome friend Mary Jane, a Multiple Myeloma survivor!

nyc finish with mj

Cleaning Up The Crumbs of the #TallyBurgerTrail

By the time I tuned in to this summer’s Tallahassee Burger Trail event, I was behind.

My first official stop on “the trail” was Vertigo Burgers and Fries on July 18. I had until July 31 to fit in as much burgerliciousness as possible. Was I up to the challenge?

Vertigo Burgers and Fries

I mounted the burger trail horse at Vertigo Burgers and Fries for lunch on Saturday, July 18.

Cleaning Up The Crumbs of the #TallyBurgerTrail

This was my first visit EVER to Vertigo Burger. The Burger Trail special was the Red Hills Burger: A 50/50 mix of in-house ground beef chuck and Bradley’s sausage, Sweet Grass Dairy Green Hill cheese, cornmeal fried okra, bacon-braised collard greens, creole rémoulade.

The Standout Feature(s): The sweet potato fries were delicious. I enjoyed my burger (especially the okra!). My friend loved her “Dizzy Duck,” especially the cherry sauce. I loved spending time with a friend I met through the blog, when I wrote this.

The Tin Cow

A friend wanted to talk about some personal challenges, so I figured he could spill his angst while I checked off another Burger Trail stop. That’s how I ended up at The Tin Cow on Friday, July 24.

Cleaning Up The Crumbs of the #TallyBurgerTrail

The Burger Trail special was “The Classic”: A half pound of Angus on a kaiser bun with cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, ketchup, mustard, and mayo.

The Standout Feature(s): Well, it’s not a “feature,” but anyone who knows our family knows how much time we spent at AJ Sports, which previously inhabited this space. It was so weird to walk into the Tin Cow and be in someone else’s business!  Anyway, I thought this burger got the most points for presentation. So pretty with the ketchup and mustard; someone paid attention to presentation. I just wish a) my friend has less angst (sigh) and b) it had not been lunchtime on a weekday because the spiked shakes (or at least a brandy soaked cherry) sounded so good!

Up in Smoke

The July 31 “end of the trail” was looming closer and closer, so I redoubled my efforts to check off a few more stops. That is how my friend Sandy and I ended up at Up in Smoke on Tuesday, July 28.

Cleaning Up The Crumbs of the #TallyBurgerTrail

The Burger Trail special was the Up in Smoke: a 1/2 pound burger topped with blue cheese crumbles, caramelized onions, crisp bacon, lettuce and tomatoes, topped with onion rings. Served with a side of blue cheese and bacon hand cut fries.

The Standout Feature(s): This burger was REALLY tasty. Something about the sauce just had that “zing.” My friend and I enjoyed chatting with the owner, also. Sandy and I have not had time to sit and chat one on one EVER so this was really a treat!

101

The week of July 26 was Stick a Fork in Cancer week, so my friend Rachel and I killed two birds (cows?) with one stone by visiting 101 for a Burger Trail AND Stick a Fork in Cancer stop!

Cleaning Up The Crumbs of the #TallyBurgerTrail

The Burger Trail special was the Black Avocado Surf and Turf: This 100% Angus ground beef is made up of black avocado, Cajun aioli, and topped with fresh shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico on a flaky croissant bun!

The Standout Feature(s): I loved the fact that I could check off a Burger Trail stop AND help the American Cancer Society at the same time. The shrimp were definitely a unique addition to my burger. These homemade chips were SO DELICIOUS.

Canopy Road Cafe

Sunset was starting to fall on the Tallahassee Burger Trail as I determined to mooooooove toward fitting in a few more burgers. That is how I found myself at Canopy Road Cafe with my awesome friend Lynne.

Cleaning Up The Crumbs of the #TallyBurgerTrail

The Burger Trail special was the Breakfast Burger: 8 oz. Black Angus beef covered in melted cheddar, grilled honey ham, pecan smoked bacon and an over easy egg.

The Standout Feature(s): I was leery of the “egg on a burger” idea but I have to admit it was really tasty! And time with a friend I rarely see IRL was a special treat.

Madison Social

In all honesty, I did have a MadSo burger during the Tallahassee Burger Trail summer promotion, but I did not take a picture, so I am not sure it counted! To be sure, I consumed one. more. burger. on Friday night, July 31, at one of my favorite places. I was way over fries by that point, though, hence the green beans!

Cleaning Up The Crumbs of the #TallyBurgerTrail

The Burger Trail special was the MadSo Burger: Fried avocado, peppered maple bacon, aged cheddar, Jameson caramelized onion, house aioli, on a brioche bun.

The Standout Feature(s): I am not a HUGE avocado fan, so that was a bit of a “take it or leave it” for me. And by this point I could not look at another fry again. NO MORE FRIES! But I loved the ability to squeeze in one more burger trail stop at a place which has been so good to me and the causes I love, so I made the MadSo burger my finale.

As The Dust From The Trail Settles…

Six (huge) burgers (with fries, usually) in 13 days is definitely out of the norm for me. But I love a good hashtag (#tallyburgertrail) and I love a great way to connect with our fun social media community in Tallahassee.

Next year: an earlier start so I can spread the decadence out a little bit better (and make all the tops)

When it is up to me, I am pretty basic in my burger preferences. Usually by the end of eating one of these special burgers, I had deconstructed it and was consuming the components separately (like the okra at Vertigo – yum!).

I also had read somewhere that restaurants look down on people who order their beef medium well, but I am still sort of squeamish about burgers that are pinkish. I think some of the burgers I had would have been better medium than medium well. Maybe next year I’ll have the guts.

The Burger Trail forced me to organize myself in order to visit establishments I had not made time for previously (like Vertigo).

Most importantly, the Burger Trail forced me to sit down and enjoy time with people for whom I care a great deal. And THAT beefed up my morale considerably. The people in my life are so affirming, it could have been peanut butter and jelly for all I care — the point was spending time with them. It was a bonus that I got to enjoy these delicious creations and support some of Tallahassee’s finest restaurants at the same time!

Cleaning Up The Crumbs of the #TallyBurgerTrail

NOTE: Even though the June 1 – July 31 “window” for winning prizes has ended, the Burger Trail intends to keep serving up the burgers! Check out their website, choose a restaurant, and saddle up for a burger adventure! Tell them The Big Green Pen sent you!

Multiple Myeloma: Saying Thanks and Hanging On

March 15, 2015, was a chilly day to walk 13.1 miles as part of the United Airlines NYC Half. At about 12.5 miles, Mary Jane managed to convince me to take off my red sweatshirt so my purple Team in Training singlet (and race number) would show in the finish line pictures. I had been trying for about a mile to reposition my number from the sweatshirt to my singlet in order to make the change, but my fingers were frozen and uncooperative.

She took things under control and did the pinning duties for me (being at a different angle seemed to be part of the equation of solving this conundrum) and we were able to cross in a unified line of purple!

Half Marathon Thank You

Team SOAR at the finish.

The road to this finish line began in November 2014, when I decided that what I wanted for my 50th birthday was for my family to send me to New York City in March 2015 to be part of Team SOAR. This would mean raising $2,500 for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). (For more on how, where, and why, click here, here, here, and here.)

The road to March 15 was paved with efforts on several fronts:

Training

A March 15 half-marathon, which I knew I would be walking or doing at a very manageable pace, fit in very well with my training plan. I kept up my training via my team, KR Endurance, which essentially boiled down to two weekday runs per week as planned out in a build/recovery model by my coach Kristie Cranford, a longer run on weekends, cross-training and/or yoga the other three days, and a rest day. (The only bump in the road was the cardiac oddness that happened throughout but I persevered!) I enjoyed representing Team in Training in several races as I prepared, including the Swamp Forest Trail Race in January and the Run for the Cookies in February with my awesome friends Suzanne and Laura.

Half Marathon Thank You

Fundraising

There are so many causes out there deserving of our time, money, and support. I wish I could give to them all. In choosing to fundraise for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, I chose a cause that is personal to  me, because it affects a close friend, as well as acquaintances and people I will never know. Refusing to choose because there are too many options is a not a choice that sits well with me. Therefore, I will pray every deserving cause receives adequate support and I will give every ounce of time, money, and support I can to this one.

I do not find it easy to fundraise. I don’t like being told “no.” Fundraising is not something I consider my strength. However, I do admit to liking the challenge and this is one of those areas in life where I will become a better, stronger person for having ventured outside of my comfort zone. Here is how my fundraising for this event came together:

The Tequila Social

On Saturday, February 7, 2015, Madison Social hosted a Tequila Social for the cause. It was such a fun time and they paid such close attention to small details that enabled every attendee to have a good time. Madison Social donated a generous portion of each ticket sold to LLS, as well as an additional donation.  I am so thankful to this local business with a big heart for its community. They deserve your patronage and enthusiasm. Thank you, Madison Social.

(I also want to thank the Tally Connection for hosting a giveaway of two tickets to The Tequila Social, and for making a donation for every comment that was made on their giveaway post.)

Half Marathon Thank You

The placemats explaining the three tequilas.

Benefit Workout at Badass Fitness

Shannon Colavecchio, owner of Badass Fitness, hosted a “couples workout” and donated the proceeds to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. A fun time was had by all (not that we necessarily would have said that mid-shockwave)!

Half Marathon Thank You

Superbowl Squares

I did a Superbowl Squares event which culminated (of course!) on Superbowl Sunday. A couple of the winners donated at least a portion of their proceeds back to me! How nice was that?

Frequent Asking

I did a lot of asking/reminding/pleading via my blog and my other social media outlets. Thank you to those of you who stuck with this “One Note Paula” throughout that time.

When I was talking with Mary Jane on the way to Central Park for the start of the half marathon the morning of March 15, we were discussing our team goal of $100,000, and the fundraising process, especially how to approach corporate donors. Since her diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma a few years ago, and her subsequent choice to be involved in Team in Training (and her rapid ascendancy to mentor/superstar which surprises no one), she has, she said, learned the following:

“I ask everyone.”

Pretty good advice, I’d say.

Charity Miles

I was already a Charity Miles user prior to committing to this event, but between my November decision to do the United Airlines NYC Half and the event itself, I did almost all of my miles for LLS. Twenty-five cents from every walked/run mile went to LLS. It didn’t go to my Team SOAR fund specifically, but it went to the greater goal of research, support, and advocacy. I also hope it raised awareness every time I posted my Charity Miles for LLS to social media.

Half Marathon Thank You

Special Thank-Yous

An analysis of the donations made to LLS as part of my fundraising lists 54 entries. Fifty-four individuals/businesses who gave in order to help me achieve my goal. I appreciate Kellie, my first donor, whose sister had been diagnosed with lymphoma. I thank Jon, whose donation came in while I was out on a training run, after which I came home to an email informing me I had reached my goal. And I thank EVERYONE IN BETWEEN! All of you have a special place in my heart!

Half Marathon Thank You

My fellow Idiots Running Club (IRC) members deserve a shout-out. The number of “Idiots” among the 54 donors is disproportionately high and that’s fine with me!

Speaking of Idiots (as in IRC), Amie of JunieBalloonie went to great lengths to make my effort bloom! Her custom-designed flowers are beautiful, and her creations for Team SOAR, LLS, and Team in Training, from which a portion of proceeds goes back to the cause, were no exception! (To inquire about purchasing a TNT or LLS flower, click here.)

Half Marathon Thank You

I also appreciate Greg Angel and Shannon Colavecchio, who gave me some excellent late-in-the game PR advice when I was making a final push to get the word out about The Tequila Social.

WTXL also helped out tremendously by having me on their noon show the day before The Tequila Social!

Half Marathon Thank You

Max Tsaparis, Me, Kellie Bartoli

Being a Florida-based runner on a Long Island-based team, I had the opportunity to work with two chapters of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Thank you to the Long Island Chapter and the Northern and Central Florida Chapter for your help!

I have been impressed all along with the coaching and mentoring received from Team in Training. In addition to the pre-race communication (emails and encouragement), numerous coaches checked in with Mary Jane and me throughout the race. They gave specific advice about technique, helped us find the best restroom (yay!), and kept us talking as the miles clicked by.

My family also deserves a “thank you.” Each of them sacrificed in different ways, including my husband and son who did the duties of eldercare for my father-in-law with one-third of the team missing, and my daughter who loves going to New York with me but couldn’t make this trip.

Remembering The Reason Why

In the midst of all the running, walking, fundraising, Facebooking, Tweeting, Google+ing, Instagramming, and blogging, I never want to lose sight of the actual individuals behind the efforts. So many people told me their personal stories over the course of this few months. I thank you all for informing me and helping me understand the impact of blood cancers on your lives.

Half Marathon Thank You

Lynne is a survivor who came to The Tequila Social and quickly became a friend.

And of course Mary Jane, who was one of the first people to befriend me when I started working at Fordham University in 1989 and has remained such a treasured friend.

Half Marathon Thank You

What is Next?

When I started this process, I viewed it as a “one and done.” I saw it as an endeavor that would allow me to support Mary Jane, combine an athletic cause with an altruistic one (as I love to do), and go to New York City (which I really, really, REALLY love to do!).

I have come to internalize in a way I did not prior to this event, though, that blood cancers are not a “one and done” for the people living with them, or for their families and  friends.There are people out there “hanging on for a cure,” like Mary Jane…

Half Marathon Thank You

….and I intend to “hang on” with them.

What This Means Exactly

While I have not decided exactly what this means, I know:

1) Team SOAR set a goal for itself of raising $100,000. We accomplished an awesome $64,643.03 and were the second-place fundraisers of the NYC Half Marathon LLS Teams. The team fundraising page will be open for a few more weeks. Feel free to get us closer to $100K!

2) I will be doing the Light the Night Walk here in Tallahassee on November 12, 2015. In the interest of not diluting Team SOAR’s work, I will hold off on posting my fundraising link (but never fear — it will come!!!).

3) I will target a “big” event in 2016 for Team in Training/LLS. I don’t know if I will be fortunate enough to go to New York again, but I will find a way to “hang on” along with Mary Jane and others.

The intent of all these words is to say, in as sincere and heart-felt a way as possible:

THANK YOU

Half Marathon Thank You

What Team SOAR Means To Me

As I shared in this post, I am participating in the 2015 United Airlines New York City Half Marathon to benefit The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and honor my friend Mary Jane. I will be a part of Team SOAR. Today I am going to break down that logo as I share my efforts to secure funding to help find a cure, support those currently living with blood cancers, and spread advocacy.

What Team SOAR Means To Me

 

The “SWhat Team SOAR Means To Me” in SOAR stands for “spirited” and we’ve got spirits, yes we do! I am excited that details have been finalized regarding the Tequila Social to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS)! Join me at Madison Social on 2/7/15 at 6 pm or 7:30 pm for tequila flights, tasty food offerings, friendship, and the knowledge that you are helping this awesome cause (Madison Social is generously donating a portion of the proceeds to LLS).

 

What Team SOAR Means To Me

 

As the “voice” of The Optimism Light, you can bet the “O” for “Optimistic” means something to me! While I do not know all of the members of Team SOAR yet (I am one of the few team members who does not live in or around Long Island), I see their training. I see their spirit, I see the fact that despite the challenges that blood cancers bring, they face the future with optimism (as well as a heaping supply of love).

 

 

What Team SOAR Means To MeAre you wondering what I am going to do for AND? Don’t worry, I have a plan!! We have spiritsoptimism, AND other ways to contribute! There are still spaces available in the Be My Valentine Couples Circuit Class at 10 am on 2/7/15 (details at Badass Fitness) $10 will get you a workout and fun! Also, for every $5 donated from now until the sheet is full, you get a square on my Superbowl Squares sheet. Whoever matches the half time score gets $100 and whoever matches the final score gets $100. You can donate here and I’ll confirm that I’ve entered your squares!

What Team SOAR Means To Me

 

Finally, relentless. Mary Jane is not the only friend I have who has had to look cancer squarely in its ugly face and decide whether to succumb or choose to fight, relentlessly. For her, for my mother, for the legions of children, adults, relatives, and strangers who have been affected by cancer, I choose relentless.

 

 

Even though I won’t meet most of these people in person until March, I am proud to be SOARing with this team (and looking at this picture, I’m not so sorry my training is in Florida!). I appreciate any support you can give!

What Team SOAR Means To Me

Why I Am Gettin’ Dirty**

**This is definitely a G-Rated post. I just love the catchy title!

I had one attendant at my wedding on August 8, 1992, on the Brooklyn Promenade in New York City, Mary Jane. Mary Jane and I had worked together at Fordham University for almost three years. We had shared many laughs, a few tears, and quite a few conversations about our mutual love of figure skating. I do have a serious picture of us taken that day:

Multiple Myeloma Advocacy

Photo Credit: Dan Carubia

But it is pictures like this that most capture Mary Jane’s enthusiasm (I wonder what she, my friend Audrey, and my friend Jennie were reacting to):

Multiple Myeloma Advocacy

Photo Credit: Dan Carubia

Although my return to Florida from New York and the busy nature of our lives as we each pursued our careers and grew our families kept us from seeing each other very much, we have always been there for one another, and especially enjoyed meeting up twice for the National Figure Skating Championships (we were in Detroit when the Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding situation went down).

A few years ago, Mary Jane called me with very serious news: she had been diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (I didn’t know what it was and had to ask). After a demanding, grueling course of treatment, she is in an excellent place, all things considered. However, there is no cure for Multiple Myeloma and true to her enthusiastic nature (see picture above), she has gone “all in” for participating with Team in Training to help fund research, support, and advocacy for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

I have lost track of the number of Team in Training events Mary Jane has already done, the number of people she has mentored, and the amount of money she has raised. I can be certain, though, that it is a lot and that she brought fun and encouragement to every single event. (The 13 minutes it takes to watch her Inspiration Speech is worth it, I PROMISE.) 

For my 50th birthday in November, I asked my family to send me back to my favorite place (New York City). I am always ecstatic to be in New York City but this trip has a purpose: I will be participating in the 2015 New York City Half Marathon with Mary Jane and Team SOAR (Spirited Optimistic And Relentless) For A Cure.

I was thinking about my participation with Team SOAR this Saturday when I ran the Swamp Forest Trail Race. Although race day wasn’t as frigid as it was in 2014, a surplus of rain in Tallahassee had made the trail muddy and treacherous. In addition, the heart rate issues I have been struggling with cropped up at a point in the race when I was feeling incredible and forced me to switch to a run/walk strategy 2/3 of the way in. Even though the race wasn’t easy, and my body did not cooperate with my race plan, I was thrilled to be making my debut as a member of Team in Training, wearing my TnT shirt. I don’t figure anyone who has dealt with leukemia, lymphoma, or other blood cancers really felt that their body was cooperating with them, either, so it’s time to stop spinning around in circles of frustration and direct my energies toward making a difference.

I have committed to raise $2,500 for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as part of my participation in the New York City Half Marathon. Here is my plan as it stands now:

1) I am accepting donations via this link. Seriously, no amount is too small.

2) There will be a “pairs” workout on Saturday, February 7 at Badass Fitness at 10 a.m. This is the first “gettin’ dirty (by gettin’ sweaty) opportunity. In a pre-Valentines Day workout, couples (it can be spouses, friends, siblings, whatever) can partake in pairs-based exercises. A portion of proceeds will benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Sign-up is OPEN. Visit Badass Fitness, click “Sign Up For A Badass Fitness Class” and follow the prompts for the 2/7 class at 10 am!

3) Please join my Gettin’ Dirty Benefit at Madison Social. The date is 2/7 (you know, work out in the morning, drink in the evening!) and one featured bevvie is Dirty Tequila. A generous portion of the proceeds will go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma society. Here’s the link for tickets ($25 per person and a portion to goes to LLS).

I raised $500 for Autism Speaks in 2012 for my Boston Half Marathon. That was hard. $2,500 will be harder. But when it comes to a priceless friendship, I’m all in to do the work.

Multiple Myeloma Advocacy

Photo Credit: Fred Deckert

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bRUNch To Make a Point: Price’s Point

 “Didn’t know a stranger.”

“Lit up a room.”

“Put a smile on everyone’s face.”

I didn’t personally know Price Thornal, but I know he was loved by many here in Tallahassee, and quite a few of the young people I am acquainted with knew him. The above phrases were taken from this remembrance, and I have a feeling they sum up what most everyone who knew him felt.

Madison Social is holding a Brunch Fun Run to benefit Price’s Point on May 10. Price’s Point is part of a project through the Organization for Artificial Reefs to build an artificial reef in Price’s memory.

Brunch + Fun + Run + A Great Cause = Let’s Do This!

madison fun run

The goal will be to run around College Town, eating something off of the Madison Social brunch menu each lap (okay, FORCE ME! TWIST MY ARM!). Here are the three between-lap food offerings:

Nutella Pizza

Nutella Pizza

 

Brunch Sticks

Brunch Sticks

 

Quesadillas

Breakfast Quesadillas

(The fourth and final lap is, according to the Madison Social people, “No food, just all speed baby!)

The distance for the participants who do all the laps is approximately 1.75 miles.

Price Thornal clearly made an impact on those who knew and loved him. Let’s come together to run, eat, make some memories, and be part of an artificial reef through which he will continue making an impact that will outlive all of us.

Details:

What:    Madison Social Brunch Fun Run Supporting Price’s Point

When:   Saturday, May 10, 2014 at 2 p.m.

Where:  Madison Social / 705 South Woodward Ave., Tallahassee, FL

Cost:     $20

Please register for the bRUNch through this link. Registration closes on Friday, May 9. Checkin will be on Thursday, May 8. Bring your ID and a smile to checkin.

If you can’t participate in the run, here’s the link to donate to the Organization for Artificial Reefs. Let me know you want the donation designated for Price’s Point and I’ll make sure they know your intent.

The view from St. Teresa, a favorite of Price's.

The view from St. Teresa, a favorite of Price’s.