Adorable Athletes Race for a Reason

Guest Blogger Luci Smith: For a few years now, it’s been a dream of mine to do a marathon. But for a mother of two very energetic girls and a wife of 17 years, I was seriously lacking the motivation needed to train for such a thing. But that all changed last Spring when I heard about Team In Training (TNT), who helps individuals train for an endurance event while simultaneously raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS).

Luci Smith (rt) training with a friend

When I received that cute purple and teal-green postcard in the mail from TNT, the timing couldn’t have been better. Just 6 months previous, my father was diagnosed with Lymphoma cancer. That meant that without treatment, he would have had about 3 months to live. He decided he needed a bit longer than that, so he went ahead with chemotherapy treatments. On occasion, I would go with him to these and the many blood transfusions he needed. But each time, I was completely overwhelmed by what a suffering cancer patient must go through; what their bodies go through; what their loved ones go through. It occurred to me, while sitting with my Dad one day, that I needed to do something more than just sitting, but I had no idea what that was. After looking the Team in Training postcard over, I realized, “Wow…I could really do this….I could do this for my dad!”

So I shared my desire to walk 26 miles for him. His first words were, “Are you crazy!? Do you know how far that is?” I assured him I could do it. I would do it for him. At the end of our conversation he said, “I would be so proud if you did this for me.” I began training with the kind of enthusiasm I hadn’t experienced in a long time. But my Dad’s body was getting weaker with all the chemo so he had to stop.

A scan showed that most of the cancer was gone except for one tiny spot near his lung, so he decided to tackle radiation treatment. This went fairly well, but it was hard for him to lay down on his back and breathe. We waited a very long six weeks for another scan to see if the radiation worked. While we waited though, Dad came down with pneumonia and was rushed to the hospital. While he was there, he went into respiratory arrest, forcing him into ICU for a week and onto a breathing tube so he could return home. But this was short-lived.

Luci in yellow jersey at center

Two weeks later, he was back in the hospital, his body unable to shake the pneumonia. Doctors scanned his body for signs of cancer and to everyone’s surprise, they discovered that it had spread dramatically. Chemo was still not an option and radiation would barely be effective; only able to shrink the tumors near his lungs so he could breathe a little easier. But the cancer would not go away this time so my Dad decided that he was done with treatment. He was immediately placed in hospice care and two days later, he passed away in his sleep.

My vision is that the money raised to support LLS will provide future opportunities for folks like my Dad, to have more time with their families; to have more of a fighting chance against this debilitating disease.

Meet my walking partner: Mika, pronounced Meeka. It is a Hawaiian name that means "eyes"

When I took on this marathon, I never guessed that my dad would slip away in the middle of marathon training. Even still, during the 8 months since that fateful day when they found the cancer, my Dad got to witness some wonderful blessings. He saw a granddaughter he had not seen in 20 years and he was able to hold and love a great grandson and a great granddaughter for the very first time. Those 8 months were well worth it. What a blessing it was as well, to tell him why I was doing this marathon–that he knows I will be proudly wearing his name on my jersey.

Luci is currently training for Portland to Coast as well as her marathon

Will you help support LLS by donating to my fundraising page? The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is committed to curing leukemia, lymphoma, non-Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and helping patients and their families. Your support is invested wisely. No donation is too small and of course no donation is too big. Thank you so much for your careful consideration!

Many blessings to you, Luci Smith

NOTE FROM FIT2B STUDIO: If you want to help Luci … AND … you want to become a member of Fit2B Studio, sign up for a yearly membership for just $79.95 and we will donate $20 of that to Luci’s fundraising. Go Luci!

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