Dear Friends, Family, and Followers,
After much encouragement from my parents, and through the desire to do something meaningful with my early adulthood, I have decided to train for and participate in the Honolulu Marathon with Team in Training! This means that I must raise at least a total of $5,000 by December 1st for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Team in Training is a nonprofit endurance program that benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The $5,000 that I have pledged to raise will be used to help find a cure for the blood cancers: leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma and Hodgkin’s disease.
As daunting as the prospect of running 26 miles and raising thousands of dollars in a few months may be, I have always found that the most frightening and challenging experiences I choose to participate in are often the most rewarding. However, this particular experience carries an especially meaningful significance to me.
Many of you know that my brother, Ryan, died of leukemia almost six years ago, though many of the memories of his presence and the pain of watching him undergo intensive treatment remain vivid in my mind.
Ryan was diagnosed halfway through his senior year and my sophomore year in high school, when he was seventeen, and I was fifteen. He was immediately forced to spend six months undergoing intensive chemotherapy and hospitalization, away from his friends and the outside world, while I continued through high school, plagued with worry over my brother’s health, and desperate to help him in any way possible.
However, after Ryan had already been in treatment for several months, I was finally given the chance to help him, through donating my bone marrow. After months of at home isolation and hospital recovery, Ryan was finally able to be a teenager again. He and I joked that sharing the same bone marrow gave us a special connection, as though we were chemically bonded in a science fiction-like operation to become mutant super-siblings that could sense each other’s thoughts and feelings (which in a way, was actually quite true).
As exciting as Ryan’s recovery was for me, and the rest of my family, our happiness was short-lived. Only a few months after he was able to live outside the restrictions of the hospital and at-home isolation, he relapsed. Once again, Ryan was faced with intensive chemotherapy, and after weeks of treatment, his condition steadily became worse, and he died the day after Thanksgiving. He was nineteen, and I was seventeen.
Since Ryan’s death, my family has become very involved with fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, from my sister’s involvement with the Light the Night Walk, to my mother’s participation as a team member and a coach for many Team in Training events.
At this exciting and unsure moment in my life-between school and a steady career, I want to dedicate my time and energy towards doing things that are truly meaningful to me. I know that supporting such an important cause as The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as well as challenging myself to accomplish something so wonderfully (and perhaps insanely) ambitious, will make my life more fulfilling, but more importantly, will help the lives of many others who are desperately in need of a cure.
Please visit my website at http://pages.teamintraining.org/sj/honolulu09/ckelley8qm to make donations and check on my progress. I will send out e-mail updates on how I am doing up until the marathon, on December 13th.
I will be holding a fundraising event in early November (the date has not been confirmed yet), during which I will be showing photos from my travels throughout Southeast Asia, and also my more recent travels in Dublin, Ireland, London, England, and Munich and Mannheim, Germany that I will be starting next week!
If you would rather mail me a check, please make it out to LLS and send it to:
P.O. Box 131
El Granada, CA 94018
Thank you for your help!