My Fundraising Page
Aug 10, 2010 by Kimberly Fields
Thank you for visiting my Team in Training page!
Since surviving acute erythroid leukemia in 2008, I have been looking for a way to pay forward all of the wonderful support I received from my family and friends, and I have found it in Team in Training! (To read more about my survival story, please scroll to the bottom of this page, where you will learn about my experiences as well as the names of those whose stories I will carry in my heart as I run, including my daughter, my uncle, and my friend's brother.)
To help raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, I have joined their Team in Training for the Nike Women's Half Marathon on October 17th, 2010. I just ran my first half marathon in April, and running has been a huge part of my recovery from the stem cell transplant that I had in May 2008, so I am very excited to run my second half marathon!
Please make a donation to support my participation in Team In Training and help advance LLS's mission. You will notice that throughout the duration of my fundraising, I will frequently forego my favorite vice--coffee!--so that I may donate that money to the LLS instead. Please consider occasionally donating the cost of your favorite treat to the battle against blood cancers as well!
I appreciate your support so much. Here's to ending blood cancers!
On January 10, 2008, when I was twenty-seven years old and twenty-eight weeks pregnant, I was diagnosed with acute erythroid leukemia, a rare subtype of leukemia that affects the red blood cells rather than the white blood cells. In a short few days, I went from anticipating the birth of my daughter to quitting my job and packing my bags for a month-long stay in the hospital, during which I would undergo chemotherapy meant to bring me into remission.
I hadn't been feeling sick at all, and I only had my blood drawn because I was due for a routine 28-week prenatal iron test. The following Monday, though, I was admitted to the hospital and I started my first round of chemotherapy, while pregnant. I stayed in the hospital for three weeks, where the oncology nurses kept a close watch over me and the prenatal nurses kept a close watch on my daughter.
The chemotherapy went well, and I was fortunate enough to be able to give birth to my daughter while in remission. Annabelle Strawberry Fields was born on February 26th, 2008, at five and a half pounds, with ten fingers, ten toes, and a totally laid back attitude. That sweet disposition helped her mommy and daddy out a lot given that when she was just five days old, we packed our bags and flew from our home in Colorado to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where I began the pursuit of a stem cell transplant, which offered my only chance at long-term remission.
During my first appointment at the Mayo Clinic, I learned that my sister, Michelle, was a perfect match for a stem cell transplant, and since that day, I have received nothing but the best news. After more chemotherapy and radiation, I had a stem cell transplant on May 22, 2008, which was a huge success. This summer, I celebrated the second anniversary of my transplant, which came with a tremendous increase in my odds of longterm survival, and I feel better, stronger, and faster than I ever have in my life!
Survivors Near and Dear to my Heart
To learn more about the stories I will carry in my heart as I run, please read about the following amazing people. If you or someone you know has been touched by blood cancer, please let me know, and I would be honored to share his or her story on my page and carry his or her story in my heart as I run.
Annabelle Strawberry Fields
Annabelle had to survive cancer before she was even born, and she didn't even have the disease; she had to survive my illness. Learning that I was sick while I was pregnant was the single most terrifying moment of my life, and it wasn't because I was afraid that I would die, but rather, because I was afraid that she would die. Having chemotherapy while I was pregnant was scary, though the longterm studies have shown that the chemotherapy I had is not harmful during late pregnancy. Her birth was scarier yet, given that we had to induce early, so that I could pursue the stem cell transplant, but she came out tiny, pink, and hollering! Today, Annabelle is a perfectly precocious two year old who brings joy to my heart every single day.
Uncle John Graner
Throughout my transplant process, which required a 100-day stay near the Mayo Clinic, Annabelle and I lived with my aunt and uncle in Rochester. Uncle John is a lymphoma survivor, and knowing his story was a tremendous support to me. Sadly, shortly after I moved back to Colorado, Uncle John's cancer relapsed, and he ended up needing a stem cell transplant of his own. Fortunately, though, his transplant was a success as well and, today, Uncle John is also doing well. As my godfather, my uncle, and a fellow survivor of blood cancer, Uncle John will be at the forefront of my mind as I run in October.
I will also carry the story of my friend Molly's brother, Kaleb, in my heart. After I moved back to Colorado, I began teaching part-time, and just after I celebrated the year anniversary of my stem cell transplant, I met another teacher, Molly, who had lost her brother to lymphoma. Molly and I have bonded over our shared experiences with blood cancer as well as our shared hobbies, gardening and running, and as I run the Nike Women's Marathon, I will carry her brother Kaleb's story in my heart.
Blood cancers have touched so many lives, and it is my hope that my participation in Team in Training will help bring strength to those who have been touched by blood cancer while also helping to fight back against blood cancers. If you or someone you know has been touched by blood cancer, please let me know, because I would be proud to carry that person's story in my heart as I run. On race day, I will paint the names of those I am running for on my legs, and I will be sure to share pictures. :)