Dec 20, 2010 by Megan Sampson
... and we now have less than 4 weeks til Race Day!
January 16th is fast approaching! We had our longest run this past Saturday (10 miles for the half marathoners) and now it's taper time! It's going to be challenging to get in the miles over the holidays but I'm going to do it! I'm so excited for the race!
I do need some help though. I need to raise $1,700 before January 1st! Thank you to everyone who has already donated. I beg of the rest of you to donate anything to help me reach my goal! Every little bit helps! $5, $10, $25, $50, ANYTHING! Spread the word! All that adds up to the $500 I need to reach my goal!
Thank you in advance, and check back for photos from race weekend! :D
It's getting close!
Dec 03, 2010 by Megan Sampson
Where has the time gone? There's only 6.5 weeks left until the big day!
A lot has happened in the past couple of months... First of all, a BIG THANK YOU to everyone that has already made a donation. You guys ROCK! I appreciate everyone for contributing. Second of all, Team in Training is AWESOME! The west side team is AMAZING! I've met some incredible people and I enjoy spending Saturday mornings with them. Third of all, Angela and I have become really close friends and she is doing remarkable in her recovery and I can't wait til she gets here and we have our Diva Celebration! We've already been window shopping for the perfect diva outfits :) And lastly, I must announce that I have decided to finish my training and complete the HALF marathon instead of the full due to my asthma and weight. It just hasn't been working for me and I prefer not to kill myself next month! So, my new goal is just to do my best half marathon ever!
Back to training I go... wish me luck! Spread the word!
... and Happy Holidays!
Sep 01, 2010 by Megan Sampson
My name is Megan ("Purple Diva") Sampson and I am training to complete the P.F. Chang's Rock n Roll Marathon in honor of my friend, fellow Diva, and 3 time cancer survivor, Angela ("Detroit Diva") Wilson. Here is her touching story, written by Angela herself:
"Ok, this may be the most selfish statement I have ever made, but the oil spill stole my show. Let me explain. Right in the middle of a roomful of doctors hanging my newly donated stem cells, everyone standing around watching to see if I would have any kind of reaction, the big moment...I am nervous and excited all at the same time, then breaking news....the oil spill. Suddenly everyone is watching CNN!!! Ok, now that I have gotten that off my chest, I can easily keep up with my post bone marrow transplant countdown, cause the news tells every day what "oil spill" day we are on, and as I write, its day 73...I am over two-thirds to 100 days, which is the end of the most critical phase of this transplant so I understand.
Let me go back a bit and share the whole story. I wont drone on but the "reader's digest" version started four years ago, on a February day, when the surgeon came into the recovery room after the biopsy and said one word...malignant. I looked at the tears well up in my mom's eyes, and I didn't know what to think. After a couple surgeries to try and get all the cancerous cells, I was going to lose the shape of my breast anyway, and the tumor had grown to over 5.5 cm, which alone put me at stage IIIB breast cancer..as in almost stage 4. I cried for days, and then said take it. By now, its April, and I was having a mastectomy, but I elected to have reconstructive surgery at the same time. I didn't want any implants to have to worry about down the road, so I went with what is called a tram flap. Imagine a tummy tuck, and using that little pouchy thing we girls get to form a new breast. My surgeon and plastic surgeon worked in tandem, and were awesome. Even though I was only in the hospital from Friday to Monday, recovery was long and difficult. I couldn't have done it without my sister moving in and taking care of me, but I got through it, and spent the rest of the summer in chemotherapy. Never mind the job forced me back too soon, the fiance couldn't take the pressure and disappeared, that is an entire different story...
Well of course I was happy that chapter was over, I was a survivor, and I could move on with my life, or so I thought. Funny, I actually did move on, and in 2007, moved to Phoenix for a new start. Somehow, I just couldn't get my footing together. I found a decent job, but it wasnt quite right; decent apartment, but had the wrong relationship going on; finally something just told me to go home and start over. Not sure why, but it would reveal itself soon. I returned to Michigan in November 2007, and had a job by January 2008, which is very important to this story. The average full time job offers you long-term disability options after one year of employment. In February 2009, after some random symptoms and doctor visits, it was determined that I needed to visit my oncologist for testing. On the exact same day as my breast cancer had been diagnosed four years earlier, February 3rd, it was determined that I had developed AML, or acute myeloid leukemia. I crumbled. The only thing I could think was that God saw this so far ahead that He brought me home to my family, got me in position to at least continue to have medical benefits and income.
So after spending all of last year in and out of chemotherapy, including several month-long stays, ICU visits, and bouts of pneumonia, finally I was done. I was leukemia free by August 2009! I was excited to be going on a cruise in December, me and my love's first real vacation together. Then it all blew up in October. The monster had returned, and the only chance at survival was a stem cell transplant. I was devastated, and I was not sure what would happen. I spent quite a long time in and out of the hospital, hoping I would even still make my cruise. I was released from the hospital with only days left to pack and go. It would be the last vacation I would take for a while, so I figured I'd better enjoy it. Before I left, I began testing to find a match on the Bone Marrow Registry, and to determine if my insurance company thought I was healthy enough for them to pay for the million dollar process. Suprisingly and excitingly, a match was found very quickly based on the expected timeline. It wasn't a perfect match, my half sisters didn't match so it was the best I could do, seven profile markers out of eight. I'll take it!
So the process continues, and a slow process it was. Before I could get the testing completed guess who had a ruptured gall bladder? Yep...had to have gall bladder surgery, and then heal and recover from that, while I worried about the leukemic cells that were growing again inside me, killing me softly. The surgery would not have been as bad had it not been for the reconstructive surgery after breast cancer, but it added several days and much more pain to the recovery. Finally I would be well enough to schedule the procedure. I decided I needed one more little sneak away, so I had a chance to suprise my sisters by meeting them in Texas with the family for Easter weekend, where I got to go to a rodeo, visit the grandparents, and see my huge family for one last time this year. When I returned home, I had one day to pack for what would be an undetermined amount of time in the hospital. It was bone marrow transplant time. I had a week of chemotherapy to tear down my immune system, to prepare for the new stem cells to take over, and on April 20, 2010, oil spill day, my bone marrow transplant was done. It was an uneventful as getting a blood transfusion. I didn't know what to expect, but I didn't expect the simplicity of it all. Since then, there have been complications and setbacks, and various infections but overall it has been the expected side effects and after effects of the transplant. I went home in only three short weeks, but have made at least three separate trips back to the hospital for complications. As of now, I am home again, still fighting after effects, but doing better each day. My skin is different, I still have a bald head, and my belly has not cooperated with me too much, but to learn that a woman that I didn't spend any time with during my time in Phoenix, and have learned more about since AFTER I returned home was going to run a marathon..for me? I am still in shock and awe, but she has inspired me to fight harder to win my race, if she is going to fight hard to run one for me. "
This woman is amazing. Angela's strength, determination, heart and inner fire has inspired me more than ever to become a better version of myself. We are both on our own paths to becoming stronger, more fit, fabulous and we are ready to bring the Divas back!
I started my own journey a few weeks before Angela's BMT in April with my goal being to lose weight, get fit, and be healthy. This is part of the reason I decided to train for a marathon. This is going to be a continuous fight for both of us and I couldn't imagine anyone better, more motivating, inspiring, comforting and supportive than Angela to accompany me on this trip.
In conjunction with the training, Angela and I are raising money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) to help stop leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma and myeloma from taking lives and hurting our loved ones. Because I have decided to challenge myself to my first ever FULL marathon, we are asking people to make donations of $26.20 which equals ONE DOLLAR for each of the 26.2 miles that I will be completing. To keep up with the 26.2 theme, we are setting our fundraising goal as $2,620. Please help us accomplish our goal!
Thank you in advance and remember to check my blog (www.marathoningmission.blogspot.com) for updates on my training, fundraising, weightloss and Angela's recovery!