I am one of those people that believe EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON.
You see, I signed up for Team in Training on Tuesday, October 4. It was an exhilarating feeling – finally making the step to commit to a mission that’s bigger than me – from the time commitment, to the physical challenge of another 26.2 race – but I felt, from the get-go…that this was what I HAD to do…I couldn’t really explain it, but I just knew.
Two days later, I found out why.
(photo courtesy Laura Rose Monk)
I was checking Facebook and saw a status update from my friend Joy, who had happened to be my trainer back in my Adventureland days. Joy’s usually known to post positive or funny updates, so I knew something was amiss when I saw a request for prayers…
I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I didn’t even know who Laura was, but I could feel my heart breaking for her. I immediately sent along my condolences and subsequently sent Joy a private message to let her know that I wanted to support Laura in any possible way I could. Through that initial exchange of messages, I came to find that I did know Laura, in a limited capacity – she had been on the Walt Disney World College Program and working as a Jungle Cruise Skipper around the same time I was working at Aladdin’s Magic Carpets, The Enchanted Tiki Room and The Swiss family Treehouse – in short – we were attraction neighbors – and now we were connected in another way.
As soon as I got the okay from Joy, I sent Laura a message and offered to run in Austin’s memory. She accepted, and I filled out the necessary paperwork to designate Austin as a Personal Honored Hero. As I sent the information in, I felt my heart drop again…he was just too young. He and Laura had just begun their lives together, getting married in March of 2009.
I was amazed at Laura’s maturity and positive energy – after all, they had been fighting this battle for more than two years and they made the best of every moment that they were able to spend together. I felt so many emotions reading Austin’s obituary – I knew that this was why I had signed up to be a part of Team in Training – no doubt about it.
We need to find a cure for Leukemia and Lymphoma, and we need to find it fast. Please donate what you can today – I know it sounds cliche, but every cent, every dollar…it really does matter. If money is tight – words are good, too…I will be sure that Laura and all of Austin’s family and friends receive them.
Jen passed along this important information…please see below:
If you can’t contribute money, please please please consider signing up for the Bone Marrow Registry at http://www.marrow.org. My husband’s first cousin is 30 and recently diagnosed with leukemia, and his only shot at recovery is a bone marrow transplant. They haven’t found a match yet, but they’re looking. 70% of people on the registry are never called upon, and donating marrow is more intensive than donating blood, but it’s not that big of a deal. Especially when you consider there are many, many lives at stake and you might be able to save one.