My Fundraising Page
Jul 10, 2008 by Alan Harmon *
I Ran A Life Saving Marathon
Welcome to Alan's Team In Training home page.
As a four-year survivor of Hodgkins Lymphoma, I know first hand how tough the fight can be. I'm alive today because of the medical advances that have been made over the last 20 or so years, many that were funded by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. But there is still much more that can be done.
If I can do something to help someone else win their fight and to do so while maintaining a quality of life, above and beyond the harsh chemo and radiation treatments that I received, then I'm going to do all I can! I am looking forward to seeing a complete cure in my lifetime! I truly believe that is a possibility as long as we keep up the fight!
That's why I trained to participate in the 2009 WALT DISNEY WORLD Marathon Weekend as a member of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's (LLS) Team In Training. All of us on Team In Training are raising funds to help stop leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma and myeloma from taking more lives. I completed this event not just for myself, but also in honor of ALL individuals who are battling blood cancers. These people are the real heroes on our team, and we need your support to cross the ultimate finish line - a cure!
I read in the "Facts 2007-2008" report, an annual publication available from LLS, the following sobering highlighted facts:
- Every five minutes, someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer.
- Every ten minutes, someone dies from a blood cancer. This statistic represents 143 people a day or nearly six people every hour.
That is unacceptable!
So we need people like you to help make a difference! Please make a donation to support my participation in Team In Training and help advance LLS's mission. There are promising things on the horizon, so this is not the time to give up the fight!
I hope you will visit my web site often. Be sure to check back frequently to see my progress. Thanks for your support! And to learn more about my journey visit: http://www.myspace.com/alan_livingstrong
Also see my TV appearence for Light the Night on our local news in Jacksonville:
New - 10/26/08
I must say, I have been good with the training; its been going very well. We have been ramping up the miles on our Saturday runs, weve done two 8-milers, then a 9-mile last week back at the beach, and yesterday we did an 11-mile run. Double digits, whew! My calves were a bit tight after this one, and I had some swelling on my left calf. Ice followed by heat seemed to help. Our weekday runs are good too; were up to two loops on the downtown bridges. I have finally found a steady stride and when Im running, I hardly ever have to stop and walk. I still walk some, but not near as much.
Ive been burning the candle at both ends over the past month or so and Ive handled it pretty well. Ive been working a lot of overtime at work and still keeping up with training plus keeping my soon to be 18-yr-old son on track, to say Ive got a full plate would be an understatement. So the last thing I needed was an injury. But Ive been nursing my left calf since last Saturdays run; its just a strained muscle. I tried to run on Tuesday and we were having our first cold snap of the season. I continued to have pain in that calf, so I cut my run short.
So now I'm finally getting a weekend off from work. Good timing too, I can rest up my strained calf muscle, no run for me either. I need to get rested and be ready for the Outback Half-Marathon on Thanksgiving. If all goes well, I'll be running by next weekend (and I'll probably have to work too.)
This is a minor setback; it will not keep me from moving forward! January 11th I will be crossing that finish line at Disney.
Tuesday, I did 5 miles with the "walker's team" (fast pace walkers!) and today I did 7 miles walking and running. I'm working back into it cautiously so as not to injure my calf any further. I got some work in and I was pain free and that was my goal today. The team did 1/2 Marathon distance, but I didn't want to push my luck. My ego says go go go, but I'm not listening! I want to be healthy at Disney.
When I do the Outback Half-Marathon on Thanksgiving, this will not only count as my long training run for that week, but it will truly be my first 13.1 mile run
Well, Im back to training at the high level I was at before I strained my calf muscle. Last weekend I did 10 miles of the scheduled 14-mile training, still being cautious. I missed the Team training on Tuesday, so I ran 4 miles in my neighborhood on Wednesday to make up for it. All week, we have had record cold for this time of year in North Florida. A new wrinkle for running, at least for me. It doesnt seem that long ago that I was running in 90 degree heat, and this morning we started out at 31 degrees and windy! Brrr! (All of you from up north are probably laughing at me, but thats OK)
So, we had 13.1 miles on the schedule for today except for those of us that are doing the Outback Half Marathon here in Jacksonville on Thanksgiving morning. We only had to do 7 to 9 miles, the 13.1 was optional. We do have one Teammate that is doing the Jacksonville Bank Marathon in December, and he was going to do 15 to 16 miles.
I had every intention to only do the 7 to 9 miles, but my running partner (Katy) was up for the whole 13.1 even though shes doing the Outback as well. Freezing temperatures and I let Katy talk me into doing a half marathon 5 days before we do a Half Marathon! OK!
So we did the miles, we took it easy as we did but we did the miles. And I felt pretty good afterwards; improved stretching and a cautious pace served me well. And best of all, my confidence is back. I cant wait until Thanksgiving.
Annual CT/PET anxiety
So, Monday I will have my first CT/PET scan since last year. (My oncology Doctor moved me to once a year) I am healthier than I have been in years, so Im not worried about the results of this scan&..but I am worried about the results of this scan!
I guess I will always worry about having scans done. More to come on that&.soon.
The Outback Distance Classic results...
So, I had a PET/CT scan on Monday and I ran a half marathon on Thursday...What a week!
So here are my official results as recorded on 1stplacesports.com:
- 10K Split TIME - 1:04:25
- Chip TIME - 2:19:48 (this is the official start-to-finish time as recorded by electronic ChampionChip timing. The chip is worn on the shoe and registers every individual start time, even when participants are at the back of the pack)
- PACE - 10:47 min. per mile (this is well below my average practice pace, I never stopped running until the finish)
This was truly an awesome experience, one that I'll not soon forget. As I had said in my bulletin, this may have served as a Team In Training practice run on the way to the Disney Marathon, but it was a definite milestone for me. And I had the good fortune to share it not only with many of my current Teammates, but also with some of the past coaches and participants that have been such good friends to me from the time I started with TNT as an honoree.
An overdue update
Its not like I havent had anything going on to update, its just been hard to find the words to describe everything. Its been quite a roller coaster ride since my last update. Training has been tough, breathing issues due to "exercise-induced asthma" has come up and I now use an inhaler with albuterol, (an asthma medication) before each run. I have developed knee pain due to wearing my worn out running shoes, which led to a very poor performance in the Jacksonville Bank Marathon, where I ran the half. It took me an hour longer than when I ran the Outback Half Marathon on Thanksgiving morning. (I do have some new shoes now for the marathon)
Then theres the CT/PET scan that I thought was just a formality. I didnt look good. So it seems that even though I have been feeling the best I've felt in years, my cancer may be back. I am not symptomatic, so I am cleared to run the marathon. I will have laparoscopic surgery for the biopsy on the 30th of Jan. Now, optimistically there is a chance that the biopsy will come back negative and everything will be OK. Realistically, the way the PET scan looked, it is what it is.
They had me scheduled on the 13th at first, but that's only 2 days after the Disney Marathon! I needed some recovery time so I asked for at least a week. I guess that put me out a bit farther, but I want to enjoy the experience of running my first marathon. I've worked hard and it means alot to me.
But all is not bad news; I have had a surge in generosity that has put me very close to the $5000 mark. This was started by my co-workers taking up a Christmas Eve collection, prompted by our plant manager and they donated another $450. A lot of these guys are paycheck to paycheck, but still they found The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society worthy of a little more. So, with less that two weeks until the Disney Marathon, Ive campaigned for people to give just a little bit more. I raised My Personal Fundraising Goal from the $3600 that I had already exceeded to the $5000 milestone that is now just within reach.
I have often said that my survivorship is a "gift from God" and I still believe that is true. So, Gods purpose is for me to help others, and by reaching the fund-raising milestone that I have set, I believe more good things will come. So Ive raised the bar, and now Disney awaits&..
Back home from Disney....
I have now completed The Disney Marathon! It was an incredible experience, one I will always remember.
Today, my knees are aching but pain is temporary, and making a difference can last forever. I raised over $5000.00 and collectively all the Team In Training participants at this event raised over 7 million dollars.
Unity = Strength
my official results as recorded on http://www.mydisneymarathon.com/ALANHARMON14454
ALAN HARMON #14454
ORANGE PARK, FL
Age: 43 Gender: M
Clock Time 7:02:42
Chip Time 6:50:15
Overall Place 14348 / 14940
Gender Place 7599 / 7801
Division Place 1349 / 1374
Age Grade 32%
5 Mile 1:06:26
10 Mile 2:15:57
Half Split 3:07:11
20 Mile 4:56:43
My last update
This part of my journey has ended, but the fight still goes on, One mile at a time, until we reach the finish line. A CURE!
As for me, I had my biopsy to find out if my personal fight goes on as well. It went OK, I'm just trying to take it easy and relax so I can recover from the surgery. I got the word shortly after that the sample lymph node that was taken for the biopsy is BENIGN!!!! This news was given to me from my surgeon, and it was from the pathology report at the hospital.
I have followed-up with both my surgeon and my oncologist, and there are still unanswered questions. The answer comes only with time and continued monitoring. Pet scans more frequently until we can see why there was a sudden group of lymph nodes that just decided to start growing, benign or otherwise. Next scan, April 3rd, then we'll see.
As for me, ain't nothing I can do but live my life.....I think I'll start running!
One last but very important thing :
Thank you letters being mailed...FINALLY!!!
I have been very slow to get them out, but I have just put the 1st and the largest batch in the mail. I will have them all out shortly, over 80 donors! I just want to let all who donated know that they can be assured that I truly appreciate your generosity, despite the fact that I have taken so long to properly acknowledge my gratitude. But when you receive the formal, personalized thank you cards that I made for each of you, I hope you'll understand. I did spend some time putting together these cards, I just wanted them to reflect how much your contribution meant to my effort as I trained hard and finally completed my first Marathon. Over $5000, WOW! As each card says, "I couldn't have done it without YOU!"
Thank you all...
MY HONOREE LIST
As a three-time Patient Honoree, I have had many participants in past Team In Training events that ran in my honor. This humbling experience has compelled me to run this Marathon in honor of others. Now that I am well into my training for this event, the posted list of all the Honorees I have committed to has gotten quite long. But there is always room for more. Everyone whose name is here on my site, I will have a ribbon with his or her name on me during the Marathon.
In honor of :
Tracy Bonds - 20 year Hodgkins survivor, LLS support group facilitator Amazing person
Rosa Ortiz fighting Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
Lin Riggs fighting CLL
Jennifer Willey fighting Hodgkins www.jenniferwilley.org
St Catherine's Cancer Support Group
LLS Cancer Support Group
Jenn Reeves Breast cancer survivor, and featured on Cheerios boxes
Carrie Breast cancer survivor, on the red carpet at "STAND UP 2 CANCER" with Jenn
Bridget Mooney fighting breast cancer
Linda Hougham Breast cancer survivor and Tri-athlete
Rick Wetzel - Prostate cancer survivor
Carie Small Cervical/Uterine cancer survivor
Debbie DeGrow-Roberts - 25 year Hodgkins survivor and 2 year breast cancer survivor
Margueritte Brandt and________ Joes Wife and _________
Kurt Elles Dad and 2-time cancer survivor
Melissa Breast cancer survivor
Kelly fighting Hodgkins
Robin Survivor of stage 4 leiomyosarcoma
Dan Case - cancer survivor and Taekwondo Instructor
Jeff - [BGTA] - cancer survivor and marathoner
Val Breast cancer survivor
Randy - Acute myeloid leukemia survivor www.randyskickingcancer.com
Meaghan - Cervical cancer survivor
Matt - Testicular cancer survivor
Mitchall Smith stem cell transplant and cancer survivor
Kristen - - A fighter and a Cervical cancer survivor
Jane - Stage IV melanoma survivor
Jacquelynn Franklin (Greensthings) - 3-time cancer survivor
Troy - Chronic myelogenous (or myeloid) leukemia (CML) survivor
Joseph Pinnell - Esophageal cancer survivor
Shelly Donald - Hodgkins survivor, just finished treatment
Scott Kutlik - Neuro cancer survivor
Leonor Evers - 10-year non-Hodgkins Lymphoma survivor and continues to fight.
Mike Pendergast - Prostate cancer survivor
RJ 5-year neuroblastoma cancer survivor, a childhood cancer of the sympathetic nervous system
Joe Schneider - Burkitts non-hodgkins lymphoma survivor, and champion to the cause
In memory of:
Dottie Stevenson Glens wife of over forty years, survived 9 years with multiple myeloma
Rod Smith Last years TNT coach Stephanie Aikens Dad
Barbara Abrahams - Heathers Grandma
Nate of Sacramento and Team SuperNate thank you Justin
Horace E. Williams Karens Dad, battled lung cancer until Oct. 16 2006
Laureen Fene - lost to complications of leukemia August 4, 1989
Jack Collins Lost his battle with Hodgkins Lymphoma
Courtney Paige Clevenger Lost her battle with breast cancer
George & Shonna Whitney - George lost his battle with Hodgkins Lymphoma on October 15, 2008 and is survived by Shonna, is his Wife & caregiver. I moved George from the in honor of list to the in memory of list, but I left his original place on my list blank. No one can take the place of a lost love one.
Francisco Nieves Occsio Lost his battle with colon cancer
Cameron Laughinghouse Lost his battle with neuroblastoma at age 3
Ruth Brandt Joe Brandts Mother. With a heavy heart, I also had to moved her from the in honor of list to the in memory of list, but I left her original place on my list blank. Again, no one can take the place of a lost love one. She was lost to us due to a stroke, but she did survive her cancer.
Doug Scott Lost his fight with prostate cancer. Another survivor moved from the in honor of list to the in memory of list, the third one since I started my list. This is why I am running.