My Fundraising Page

Be the change you want to see in the world
Nov 03, 2014 by Erin Barela

I am still running, but I will admit this year has taken a toll on me and I have been a little burned out of late. This year has been a full year both professionally and personally.I have been offered and accepted a position with the American Cancer Society working in developing corporate partnerships. This will include developing and implementing employee wellness programs among many other things.

As you know I am very passionate about wellness and the loss of my aunt and MIL has only fueled that passion as prevention is better than cure. I have turned my personal passions into an actual career and it is beyond meaningful... to me that every day I can make a contribution - everything I do is to help someone else not lose their aunt or their mother and to support cancer patients and families because cancer is so much more than just chemo which we have learned the hardest of ways . I am so honored to be given this opportunity....every day will be dedicated to my angels - I miss you both everyday. But the gaping whole in my heart has been eased slightly.

I Can honestly say I have never been more excited to start a job in my life. The culmination years of working towards a position that will allow me to be passionate about what I do – a career and not just a job and a position not just in wellness, but specifically to cancer prevention, research and much more. They send me these emails and I am just so hyped and thankful for this opportunity. The irony is of over 200 jobs I applied to in 3 months – this is the one job I never applied for. So for a life lesson here is som wisdom:

1) Be open to all opportunities, you never know where those open doors lead.
2) Don’t complain and let your challenges or pain eat at you, turn them around and find a way to channel them into something positive that is meaningful to you. Don't let your struggles be in vain, find a way to make them be for something more.

“You have joined an amazing organization - a diverse community of passionate people committed to the elimination of cancer as a major health problem. Our success is possible because of the tremendous dedication of thousands of volunteers and staff. You are our most valuable asset.

Everyone who works with the American Cancer Society has a role in saving lives, and that means everyone has a chance to experience the fulfillment of making a difference. You, too, can make a difference – and an important personal commitment to the people in your community and around the world who courageously fight cancer every day.“

‪#‎NeverGiveUp‬ ‪#‎ForMyAngels‬

“Be the change you want to see in the world”

I passed! I passed! I passed!
May 23, 2014 by Erin Barela

This week, after 18 months, a lot of stress, struggle, chocolate and tears I passed my Group Fitness Instructor Exam with the American Council on Exercise. They emailed and asked for a 600 word profile to include on my professional page, which I thought I would share below. As Fitness has become such a huge part of my life it was really hard to condense but I hope that my story shows its about making lots of healthy choices that build on each other. 1 meal, 1 year, 1 race does not define you .... but keep making good choices and never give up.


In 2007 after being a smoker for more than a decade I quit and joined the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training Program.  With them I trained and completed the San Diego Rock & Roll Marathon while fundraising $3000 for the LLS. Quite literally the experience was life altering, from that time on I was always at the gym and when I wasn’t running or swimming you could find me dancing Salsa.

Following my son’s birth in 2011, it was not so easy. I struggled to eat well and lose the baby weight. I told myself if I could do everything else tired then I would just have to run tired too. I ran my first post-baby Half Marathon April 2012 with my son and husband waiting at the finish, I picked up my Son and we crossed the finish line together.  I began taking classes with a focus towards health and wellness.  I got my CPR and CERT certificates and then began the ACE Group Fitness Instructor program with the goal to teach Zumba.

Shortly after my ACE textbooks arrived my Mother in Law was diagnosed with cancer for the third time. I was devastated and motivation for everything seemed to leave.  I would pick up my books and think this is just too hard I can’t do it and put them back down. Even when the doctors told her there was nothing that they could do for her my Mother in Law did not give up, she lived every day to the full and she was there holding and playing with my son at his 2nd birthday party. Just 3 days later she passed away. With my heart broken I started working harder, I quit watching TV in the evenings and I began waking up before work to study or work out, the more I did both the better I felt.   A little more baby weight came off giving me a little more confidence, I kept telling myself it’s a lifestyle – it’s healthy not skinny! I told myself to keep picking up my books because I was a person who finished what she started and I was going to complete this.

In 2013 I completed two more half marathons; I decided then to complete 14 races in 2014.  I decided to fundraise for Team in Training again while completing “14in2014” and dedicating the races to honor the memory of my Mother in Law and also my Aunt who we lost while I was pregnant. Running is not only something I love but something I began using as a coping mechanism for my stress which has helped me to have a healthier relationship with food.

It is now 2014, I have lost all but 2lbs of the baby weight, I have completed 4 half marathons and one 10K this year and fundraised $1869 so far for team in training. This week I passed the ACE GFI exam. It was harder and took longer than I thought but I never gave up, I pushed on through until I passed.

Currently I’m working on fundraising for “14in2014”, training to complete a 50K race, contemplating a “15in2015” and looking at other ACE certifications to study.  I plan to complete my Zumba certificate December this year. I transferred departments and now work for in the Cancer Prevention Center at UCLA. I am a “UCLA Health Champion” which means I advocate health and wellness programs on campus. You can also find me leading our department’s afternoon “Fit Break” every Friday afternoon – dancing Salsa.


That is how Team in Training  changed my life.

An Untold Story
May 09, 2014 by Erin Barela


Today I was talking to my Dad on the phone on my way to work and he happened to mention that he had to get going soon for a doctors appt , so of course I asked for what? He told me that he had a skin rash that comes and goes, of course I asked do they know what causes it and he told me its from all the radiation I had. *sigh*

My step-dad Ronnie, had cancer a long, long time ago (early 1980 something) and until this morning we had never discussed it. I mean, he had survived and that is all that matters so why discuss it further?  The only thing I knew before this morning was all of the long term side effects, well I thought i knew of them all but the dermatitis was one I hadn't heard of before. Besides skin issue he has back problems and because of stomach issues finding the right combination of medicines to treat other issues can be complicated. Surviving is great, but like my dad many cancer patients live with long term side effects of the treatments they received.


My Dad's Story

With the passing of my aunt and mother in law and my fundraising challenge something made me curious to the details as I was too young to remember. Recently I had asked my Mum if he was willing to talk abut his experience with me so I could share it and while she said he was he had also told her to let me know it would not be an easy topic for us to talk about. So I left it for a while until this morning and when the topic cam up naturally I gently probed a little deeper.



As it turns out he has some kind of dermatitis that is associated to Radiation treatments and even though he has been in remission for more than 20 years it still comes back every couple of years. An annoying reminder of what his poor body had to endure, but as he says the doctors told him they gave him such aggressive treatments of chemo and radiation they said that they had no idea what the side effects would be to his body and he would find out in 20 years - at least they warned him I guess.

He found a lump in his groin and he went to the doctor, the doctor told him it was a cyst not to worry and to go home. 3 Months later not satisfied with his diagnosis and lump now having grown he went for a second opinion, it was a Friday. The doctor admitted him and within 3 days was having surgery and diagnosed with Testicular Cancer, however, by now the cancer had spread throughout his entire body and into his lymph nodes.

He was in aggressive chemo and radiation treatments and in and out of hospital for a year. Shortly after his own diagnosis his Mother was also diagnosed with cancer, she had Myeloma. This type of cancer is considered incurable, the average survival rate currently is no more than 5 years at best and this is with therapy to treat symptoms. My dad said that one day his mum was just standing still and collapsed because her leg broke. Together they went through they individual cancer treatments, my dad went into remission but his mom eventually passed. This was all before my parents got married, my step dad and my mum have been friends their whole lives but didn't start dating until I was around 12 years old. So all the while my dad and his mum were going through this because their family was small there really wasn't anyone to help and this was long before there were social workers that really made any difference.

My dad says the saving grace and one positive thing was that he was hopped up on so many pain medications during this period he didn't really register everything that was going on and just pushed on through. So while he was still undergoing treatment he was his mum's care taker also. Her bones became so fragile that just lifting her into bed would break her arm. As my dad says his story is a lot longer, but that is the nutshell. Honestly, I don't really want to hash out the details of the worst time of his life and make him relive it.

People don't know this really, but this is why when my mom married by step dad they never had any children, not because they didn't want to but physically they weren't able to. This happened to be the case also for my Husbands parents. His Mom had wanted to have a big family but after she went into remission from Leukemia she was no longer able to.

When people say cancer I used to just think you got sick, had chemo, the end. Truth is that cancer's effects are long lasting and reach further than many realize and extend beyond the physical symptoms of the patient but to those around them also because as a care taker you need time off from work, which results in stress and anxiety and  loss of earnings just to name a couple.

This is why I am running #14in2014 and fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. They are searching for a cure, provide support to patients and their families and working on improving treatment options.


Redefining hard …
May 06, 2014 by Erin Barela



People ask me often – was your race hard? Or How did you do? Well define hard … Perception is everything in life – the glass could be half empty or half full, you must make the decision to choose whether you want something positive or negative. Even the worst of times have a sliver of something good wrapped up in them but many will focus on the negative and miss out. My favorite saying has always been “when a door closes be sure to look for where a window opens” – too often too many people miss the window because they stare at the closing door.


So  was my race hard? Well define hard …  what do you think is hard? Is something hard because simply because it requires a lot of effort? No.  I wanted to participate and therefore I trained which required time and commitment and physical and mental energy but was the race hard ? Eh … no, not really because I trained for it. Was it hard to give up going to do others more fun things because I was training? Eh .. not really because I felt so accomplished with each mile the sacrifice was worth it.  A race as with life is a journey, it has its ups and its downs, its good and bad, but as with life a race is not perfect it is what you make out of it just because parts of it are not easy doesn’t make the overall experience hard. So no, my race was not hard even though the course was rolling hills and I expected it to be flat – not sure how I mixed that one up and it was super-hot out and my knee and my right calf were hurting to the point where I could barely run by mile 12 – I had to walk most of the last 2 miles but then at the end my boys were waiting and cheering for me and the pain disappeared and I managed to run the last lil part across the finish line.

And  doesn’t everything hurt a little?  Marathons are kinda like making a baby ….Make a baby – labor is no joke, but you get a baby! Marathons are kind of the same – it’s very exciting at the start but training has its ups and downs but in the end you get a gorgeous medal to take home and the personal fulfillment lasts forever. In fact, true story here, when I gave birth to my son my labor was not straight forward and as they were stitching my hoo-hah back together and cleaning me up ( his  hello to me as came out the womb was to poop all over and on me as he came out of me )  so the doctor asked me how I felt and I told her that my labor was the equivalent of running 2 full marathons back to back following by an emergency appendectomy! ( the latter having happened a few years earlier and prior to my son the most painful thing I had been through) so no running a half marathon is not hard at all with a little perspective and as with having a baby its most definitely worth it.


Now just to say it’s not hard does not mean that it is easy – it requires effort, time, money for apparel and footwear etc.  but when I am running and it stops being easy I define pain and what I think IS hard to help me push through – I think of everything a cancer patient goes through and not just the disease related treatments but specifically what my aunt and my mother in law had to go through emotionally.


  • Not being able to hold a baby because you are sick
  • Missing out on family functions because your immune system can’t be exposed to public areas
  • Losing your partner of 30 years.
  • Not giving up when the doctors say they can’t do anything for you.


IN fact even despite what my angels went through they were lucky, they lived a good life filled with love and family their energy was bright up until the end – they had LIVED before they died. Recently my team in training former team mate Jenny has had her niece diagnosed with cancer. Brianna is a young teenager whose courage is far beyond her young years, now to see someone so young go through so much – that to me is hard. She should be experiencing life and she should be carefree but despite many complications with treatment she is still very positive and was even recently named Girl of the Year by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I have been following Brianna’s updates through Jenny for a long while now and I look forward to hearing when she has completed chemo in a year hopefully and she can get back to  living a normal life of a teenager.


Running Updates for 14in2014


After a busy month where I had been sick, family birthdays and a vacation I was a little off track this last weekend  but I am getting back in the zone! I completed the Hollywood Half Marathon in April for #4  and had a great time with this local race with so many friends on the course ( 2 hrs 48 min).


This last weekend I completed the OC Half Marathon (2 hrs 57 mins) which was #5 of 14 in 2014. The latter was also my final race to complete the Beach Cities Challenge so we got a super nice extra medal which more than compensated for the hills & heat

 And now as the temperature goes up for summer I will be continuing to increase my mileage as I start to train for the Ventura Full Marathon this September 2014. IN order to complete a Ultra Marathon (50K / 30 miles) I have to have completed a full 26.2 marathon within the 2 months prior to starting the ultra-training – OYVEY!  I am a little overwhelmed by the enormity of the challenge set before me but I am just going to take it a little piece at a time. I am so lucky and blessed to have a husband supporting me as much as he does so I know that I am not alone in the challenge! I am even tinkering with the idea of #15in2015 to keep the party going and he doesn’t blink an eye!


So far to date we have raised $1819 and I cannot thank you all enough for the support and generosity ! We are working on some new fundraising ideas as we speak so stay tuned for more ways you can support #14in2014!


Much love,





Updates, Facts & Stats!
Apr 03, 2014 by Erin Barela

Virtual 5K Update!

Our recent Virtual 5K event was incredibly successful raising $900! We had people participate in England and here in America from Texas to New York to Wisconsin and of course in Cali and a bunch of places in between. The experience was extremely rewarding with wonderful positive feedback from all of the participants. I have said it before, but once more - thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

As a result of the Never Give Up Virtual 5K event we have now raised $1794 which is approx 12% of my fundraising goal. Amazing.

I have now completed 3 of my 14 events and race #4 will be this saturday, the Hollywood Half Marathon. March was beyond hectic and I am looking forward to a break LOL of 4 whole weeks until the next race after which I will be working on some exciting new fundraisers to help me get closer to that goal. Stay tuned for new events to support #14in2014 !

Surf City Half Marathon 2/2/14 3 hours 3 minutes


Lakewood Community Run 10K 3/8/14  1 hour 14 minutes


Pacific Half Marathon  3/22/14 2 hours 59 minutes

We also gave back to our Running Community this month by cheering on all the runners at the LA Marathon and handing out oranges to them. We were lucky enough to see the elite runners and the back of the back and everyone in between including fightfigthers, charity runners, friends and even a blind runner. It was beyond inspirational, I encourage everyone one time in their life to do the same. A marathon truely is a display of the human spirit in the most positive way.

All these numbers about me and #14in2014 but why am I dedicating myself to this ? It's not just because I have lost someone... Yes that is how I started this fundraising campaign but what is really driving me is for people listen up and see we have a big problem facing all of us.

The  facts speak for themselves ..... 


1) Each year, about 8 million people die from cancer worldwide

2) The World Health Organization (WHO) projects that without immediate action, the global number of deaths from cancer will increase by nearly 80% by 2030, with most occurring in low- and middle-income countries.

3) Research suggests that one-third of cancer deaths can be prevented. Although proven ways to prevent cancer exist, these services and technologies are not widely available in low- and middle-income countries.

 Make healthier lifestyle choices.

4) A "relative" 5-year survival rate of 58% is seen for all cancers

5) It is the #1 killer in America currently. 1 in 4 Americans are diagnosed with cancer. As of 2008 565,650 people in America were expected to die from cancer. It has affected roughly 7.3 million people that are currently living worldwide. It kills over 1,500 U.S. citizens every day. And it kills nearly 547,500 Americans in a single year; that number is rising.

Put down the remote and Put on your sneakers.

6) We need more affordable treatments, treatments that have less side effects and are targeting the cancer(s) more efficiently. (article on cancer costs below) we need a better system to distribute care and medications equitably


Older posts

Supporter Comments

    "Good Luck in this massive challenge. Will support you all the way xxx"

    Jo Graham

    Thu Jan 30 08:59:21 EST 2014

    "We are so proud of you Erin and love you more than words can say. You truly are honouring the memory of our the loved ones we have lost. Good luck darling and as always, GO FROGGIE GO! XXXX"

    Mummy & Toad

    Fri Jan 31 09:37:17 EST 2014

    "Well done Erin you are amazing x"

    Kelly Booker

    Sat Feb 01 10:06:43 EST 2014

    "you go girl! - Lil"


    Sat Feb 01 08:56:39 EST 2014

    "Well done Erin, wishing you Good Luck with your 2014 challenge. love Jill & Mark"

    Jill & Mark

    Sun Feb 02 11:11:45 EST 2014

    "One dollar for each of your 14 races, plus one to grow on :) You go, girl! With love, K & A"

    Abe & Kristen Franchot

    Sun Feb 02 02:15:22 EST 2014

    "With love from Pat & Lesley."


    Thu Feb 06 04:58:10 EST 2014

    "To My Susie. You fought your lymphoma with all your strength And never once complained.And you still always managed to help other people in the Cancer ward putting there needs before your own. My Life will never be the same for losing you. But didn't we have 30 years of love and fun together Always in my heart. Your Johnny. X"


    Thu Feb 06 01:57:43 EST 2014

    "What an amazing and inspiring thing you are doing this year, Erin! I would be proud to participate in your 5K! XOXO!"

    Lauren Plichta

    Thu Feb 13 04:16:32 EST 2014

    "<3 <3"

    Becca Argenbright

    Sun Feb 16 09:18:19 EST 2014

    "You're the best Austin! Love all the way from your Brooklyn family!"

    Tanya Hagler

    Mon Feb 17 12:06:01 EST 2014

    "Well done on taking up this amazing challenge - its an inspiring thing to take something so awful and put a positive mark on it. VERY proud of my buddy. Love Michal, Av and Sidney xxx"

    Michal Nathan

    Sun Feb 23 06:39:11 EST 2014

    "We love you all and will never forget you."

    Barbara Graham Collier

    Wed Feb 26 01:23:12 EST 2014

    "You're doing awesome!"

    Jessica and Chris Grier

    Wed Feb 26 04:27:44 EST 2014

    "For you Erin.. 'cause of who you are!!! You know I'm a Cannabis believer, there are people with Leukemia that have beat it with cannabis and keep it at bay, there is much research to do on all sides, I'll go ski that day as you run and walk and jog, it'll be a chairlift ride up and Gravity Rules for the ride down, at 1.25 miles per run and gettin' around 7 or 8 runs, that will be near 10 miles and at times reaching speeds of 45 to 50 MPH. All the best to you in your endeavors Erin. Keep Up The Good Fight! Takes a strong person to do what your doing... Go Do It!! Take Good Care.. Love You Much.. <3"

    Russell - Colorado

    Sun Mar 02 02:22:57 EST 2014

    "Thank you Erin for allowing me to be apart of your journey! I'm honored to participate. "

    Ashley Dewing

    Wed Mar 05 09:47:08 EST 2014

    "You're doing great. Keep going x"

    Sigrid Ponder

    Fri Mar 07 03:51:16 EST 2014

    "Lots of love from Aunty Sue and family. We are very proud of you and hope you reach your goal. xxx"

    Susan Menachem

    Fri Mar 07 09:20:38 EST 2014

    "Go Erin! You are awesome!"

    Mandy Muenzer

    Mon Mar 10 08:56:02 EDT 2014

    "GO Erin! So proud of you! :)"

    Erica Collier

    Mon Mar 10 11:26:47 EDT 2014

    "We love ya and support you! :)"

    Monica Caldas & Chris Rios

    Mon Mar 10 11:29:35 EDT 2014

    "Virtual 5K - Butler REPRESENT!"

    Lindsey Jewart

    Tue Mar 11 12:23:42 EDT 2014

    "You are doing an amazing thing this year - keep up the fight! "

    Cory Mitchell

    Wed Mar 12 09:25:13 EDT 2014

    "Three races done! Keep going Erin xx"

    Sigrid Ponder

    Sun Mar 23 04:08:38 EDT 2014

    "Good Luck Erin! "

    Jenny Mayeda

    Wed Apr 16 08:04:00 EDT 2014

    "You're doing an amazing job, Erin! My dad died from leukemia when I was seven, so I know the toll it takes."

    Joyce Rangen

    Fri May 09 11:44:47 EDT 2014

    "This is with love and honour of Little Joe's first run/trot. Love Grandma B and Grandpa Ronnie xxxx"

    Mummy & Toad

    Fri Jun 06 04:32:55 EDT 2014

    "You go girl!"

    Jessica Mendoza

    Sat Jun 07 08:59:15 EDT 2014

    "Way to go Erin!"

    Matthew Simoni

    Fri Jun 13 12:00:28 EDT 2014

    "Erin, I am so proud of you and all your marathons and your accomplishments. I know what these journeys mean! Good Luck. Love, Rhonda and Ed Beer"

    Rhonda & Ed Beer

    Wed Aug 20 12:06:58 EDT 2014

    "So proud of you Erin, wish we had more to donate. With all our love, Mummy & Toad xxxx"

    Barbara and Ron Collier

    Sun Sep 07 02:53:56 EDT 2014

    "My beloved Sue. Always in my heart and soul. You were taken from me to soon. But one day we will be together again. My love.xxxxxx"

    John Farnworth

    Mon Nov 03 01:45:37 EST 2014

    "Erin - thank you for being so great to work with in the DCPCR. The ACS is so lucky to have you join their team. We will miss you so much! Best wishes as you start your new chapter. Amy Jacobson"


    Mon Nov 03 10:44:56 EST 2014

My Fundraising Total

Raised: $2,244.25 | Goal: $14,000.00
16 %

Make a Donation

We are sorry donations are no longer being accepted for this participant for this event.

My Thanks To

Anonymous $200.00
John Farnworth $100.00
Tara Savage $100.00
Monica Caldas & Chris Rio... $100.00
Ros and Laurence Tobias $66.50
Dean Clark $65.50
Jessica Mendoza $50.00
Joyce Rangen $50.00
Richard & Maureen Halsey $50.00
Jasmine Hagler $50.00
Jessica and Chris Grier $50.00
Jamie Nitzky $50.00
Anonymous $50.00
Linnea and John Wilson $44.00
Susan Menachem $33.50
Jane & Terry $32.00
Paul & Elizabeth $32.00
Christine $30.00
Barbara and Ron Collier $25.00
Rhonda & Ed Beer $25.00
Matthew Simoni $25.00
Mummy & Toad $25.00
Jenny Mayeda $25.00
Tony Thompson $25.00
David Cohen $25.00
Tony Reese $25.00
Catherine Hagler $25.00
I. am. bucket. $25.00
Mandy Muenzer $25.00
Ashley Dewing $25.00
Jamie Sterling $25.00
Russell - Colorado $25.00
Cyndy Malcolm $25.00
Michal Nathan $25.00
Tanya Hagler $25.00
Andrew Malcolm $25.00
Becky $25.00
Glo $25.00
Jill & Mark $25.00
Kelly Booker $25.00
Mummy & Toad $25.00
Jo Graham $25.00
Lindsey Jewart $22.00
Barbara Graham Collier $22.00
Becca Argenbright $22.00
Lauren Plichta $22.00
Sigrid Ponder $20.00
Ann Paxton $16.50
Abe & Kristen Franchot $15.00
Zinthia Palacios $15.00
Sigrid Ponder $10.00
Candy Yu $10.00
Two Cyclists we met on ou... $3.25
June Trader  
John Farnworth  
Tasha Hagler  
Cory Mitchell  
Erica Collier  
Claudia Aguilar