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The marathon that almost wasn't
May 01, 2011 by Ross* Kinney

The marathon that almost wasn't....



It has already been three weeks since Laura and I ran the Paris marathon and for me this really was the marathon that almost wasn't.


Three days before the marathon I wasn't sure at all that I would even make it to the starting line.


The last six weeks of training were filled with many anxious moments and for intents and purposes I was on a six week taper. I ran a whopping total of 52 miles after mission day.


I started having intense shin pain early in March that made it impossible for me to run. My TNT coach advised me to stop running until I could get in a see a doctor. It was the last week of March before I could get in to see a doctor and the initial diagnosis was that I had stress fractures in both of my shins. I was devastated. The doctor scheduled a bone scan to confirm the diagnosis. I had given up all hope of being able to run the marathon with Laura.


Incredibly the bone scan came back negative. No stress fractures and no clue at all what was causing the pain. My doctor advised me not to run. There will be other marathons and while that is true, there probably would not be another marathon to run in Paris with Laura.


I went for a run later that day. Could I somehow be able to run the marathon?


I ran for 15 minutes and stopped, the pain was still there. I was in tears. How could this be?


I ran a couple more times before we left for London. The pain was diminishing, but my strength and stamina was not coming back.


Laura and I ran in Hyde Park in London on the Tuesday before the marathon. We ran for about 30 minutes and I was wiped out. I am just kidding myself.


Wednesday we headed for Paris, took the chunnel ride across the English channel.


Paris looked just like I had imagined it from scenes in movies and television. Beautiful tree lined streets.


Laura and I went for a run on Thursday from our hotel, through Luxemburg Gardens and down to the Louvre and back. Six miles or so and I felt even worse on that run. I was so out of breath, felt so weak. Well if nothing else, at least I got to run in two different countries, I still wasn't sure that I would try and run on Sunday, but how I wanted to try.


A trip to the marathon expo on Friday and I knew I had to try even though there was a very good chance that this marathon would result in my first ever DNF(did not finish).


I believe now that the pain and muscle weakness was caused by a side effect of medication I had started taking for Cholesterol(Lipitor). As mysteriously as the pain began it was now starting to subside. My family doctor said it would take 2-3 weeks for the medication to get out of my system. Good grief.


Laura and I left the hotel at 6:30 Sunday morning and hopped on the Metro. We got to the staging area far too early and we sat together near the gear check-in and chatted like we have done at so many races we have gone to together over the last 12 years.


We checked in our bags and headed off towards the start line, past the Arc De Triomphe and over to the Champs Elysees avenue.


It took us 16 or 17 minutes to cross the start line and Laura was off, running for Kelly, our team heroes(Whitney, Lauren and Brittany) and for Laura''s friend Chris Johnson. I lost sight of her within the first minute or so of the race and yet I felt close to her throughout the day, knowing she was set up to have a great first marathon. She had trained well and her last six weeks of training had gone great for her.


When I decided to try and run, I knew there was no way that I would be able to run the entire way. I would have to adopt a run/walk strategy and commit to it if I wanted to create the possibility of being able to finish the marathon.


So I would run for 2 minutes and 40 seconds and walk fro 1 minute and 20 seconds. That was my plan to get to the finish line, I felt like I could run for 160 seconds at a time and regardless of how I felt when my watch beeped at me to walk, I stopped running and would walk that interval.


The kilometers passed by fairly quickly, only once during the marathon did I feel any shin pain and it disapeared after passing the 5K mark.


I saw Sue, Adam and Laura' boyfriend Chris, around the 1/2 point of the marathon. My family has been such a huge part of my TNT experience and Sue is an awesome cheerleader for all of the runners not just for me.





For the first time ever during a marathon, I fell while I was running right around the 18 mile mark. The people behind me described at as it looked like I had a blow out.



I banged up my hand and my knee pretty good and I picked myself up and started running again. I bled on my singlet and got some Bravo's from the spectators as the noticed the blood below my knee.




As I ran on, I would ask for Kelly to stay with me. She has been my guardian angel so many times and I felt that connection to her throughout the day.


This has been an incredible journey that started back at an informational meeting in December of 1998 when I first signed up to run a marathon for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. And throughout this journey, Kelly has been my north star. She has been my inspiration to me in so many ways and continues to be.


The last marathon I ran in October of 2008, I ran with a broken heart and now, I can run for Kelly and feel nothing but love and gratitude for the love she has brought to my life.


When I got to the 25 mile mark that was really the only emotional moment I felt during the day as I knew that Laura was a marathoner now and I loved being able to share this experience with her. Laura was 12 years old when I crossed my first finish line and she had to help me tie my shoe after the race. Now Laura is a marathoner!!!



I was able to cross the finish line and completed my 17th marathon. While it was my second slowest marathon, I am incredibly proud that I was able to finish this event. It was like pulling a rabbit out of a hat, I really don't know how I was able to do it. And I know that I was able to do this because of my love for Kelly and Laiken and all of the angels who have touched my life. I was able to do this to honor Brittany, Whitney, Lauren and Chris's lives.


Hearfelt thanks to Whitney Mouton, Lauren Truijillo and Chris Johnson for sharing their cancer journey's with us, helping us to raise awareness.


Running a marathon and raising money to find a cure isn't easy and it is worth fighting for.


This was my 19th event with Team in Training and I have so loved being a part of this organization. It truly did change the course of my life.



In love and gratitude to all who have supported Laura and me.



Ross



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Chris-Worth fighting for
Mar 21, 2011 by Ross* Kinney

One of the things Laura and I wanted to do during this season with TNT in addition to raising money to find a cure for blood cancers was to increase awareness of this disease by sharing the stories of those who have touched by a blood cancer.


For Laura and myself, it is truly an honor to run for Chris and all of our heroes. There are so many faces to blood cancer. These are real people with hopes and dreams like all of us. The finish line for Laura and me at the Paris marathon is well defined, 26 miles, 385 yards from where the race begins.


For Chris, and Brittany, and Whitney and Lauren their fight continues and we stand at their side, standing for their lives, standing in the possibility of a world without blood cancers.


Please read Chris and Laura's story about his cancer journey, Blood cancer is such a pervasive disease and can strike anyone, anywhere at anytime.


I hope you will be as inspired as I am by the bond of friendship that Chris and Laura share with one another.


Chris is worth fighting for!

In this photo(Laura, Ashley and Chris)


My name is Chris Johnson. I’m 25 years old and completing a bachelor’s degree in history at Florida Atlantic University. When I was 23, I noticed spots on my legs. They didn’t itch or irritate at all, so I thought that they were a product of heat rash and made an appointment to see my doctor the next time I visited my parents in Daytona Beach.

I started bruising in my arms and legs but since I had moved from one dormitory to another, I felt that those bruises were probably just collateral damage. When I discovered a large black bruise at the small of my back I got worried. A friend managed to get me an appointment with her family doctor immediately and the resulting blood test discovered that I had a platelet count of about seven percent of that required for a healthy sample. The spots on my legs were bursting capillaries and the bruises were a product of my blood not clotting properly.

Originally I was diagnosed with ITP, a disease that spontaneously affects men my age; their bodies just stop producing platelets. Usually a transfusion and steroids are given to them over the course of a weekend in a hospital and they just have to get their blood tested from time to time. About an hour later another doctor told me that I had leukemia.

My life suddenly changed. I had to drop out of school to receive intense chemotherapy treatments for the next year. I developed pancreatitis and other complications from the treatment that pushed my return to the university back another six months. Biologically, mentally, and spiritually there were several challenges to overcome.

Thanks to Dr. Ruby Deveras and the staff at the Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach, FL, as well as Dr. William Slayton of Shands Medical Center at the University of Florida, I am in remission and have recovered from the pancreatitis intact and have a long, relatively healthy life to look forward to. I hope to pursue graduate studies in Political Science at FAU, and a career in academics at the university level.

Leukemia is a terrifying ordeal, and it can be very stealthy. I did not realize I was ill until it was almost too late. Please donate whatever you can to help us better understand and fight this awful disease.-Chris Johnson


Chris is one of my best friends. We met at school at Florida Atlantic University in 2005. He was always very sarcastic and kind of angry at the world but is one of the nicest, most caring people I've ever met. A year and a half ago he was diagnosed with leukemia. After all these years of my dad being involved with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, it hit too close to home for me to seem real. When Chris first told me he was sick, I honestly didn't believe him. I don't know why someone would lie to you about having cancer but it just felt like it had to be some kind of evil joke. Once he sent me a few pictures of his hospital room and convinced me it was true I, obviously, felt horrible for not believing him. I'm sure the biggest reason was because I didn't want it to be true. I had heard too many sad stories and was pretty afraid of losing my friend. One thing that all cancer stories have in common, regardless of how they end, is it changes your life. I knew it was going to be hard and would take some time but I hoped at some point Chris would be able to get something good out of having cancer.


I remember briefly talking to him about that the night he told me but he was definitely not even close to ready to look at it that way. He had a rough time for awhile. His cancer treatments caused him to get pancreatitis and that was even worse and more scary than the cancer itself. There were times where he really didn't know if he would see tomorrow. Even before Chris had cancer he had a hard time finding joy in his life. Day to day living was a bit of struggle for him. So his illness was a big challenge for him. Being thousands of miles away I felt pretty helpess but tried to be there for him as much as I could. Somehow even while he was going through all this he still helped me with all of my life and relationship troubles. It just goes to show what a great friend he has been for me.


This last October I got to take a vacation with Chris to Austin, Texas to celebrate his recovery. The Chris I met in Austin was so different than the Chris I knew at FAU. The transformation he's made over the last year is amazing. He was just SO happy! He even complained that his cheeks hurt from smiling so much. :) He really seems to appreciate things more and loves his life. I am so proud of him for how strong he was through everything and so glad that he has this new perspective on life. He is such a huge inspiration in my life and it's an honor to be able to run for him.-Laura Kinney

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Kelly-worth fighting for
Mar 18, 2011 by Ross* Kinney

One of the things Laura and I wanted to do during this season with TNT in addition to raising money to find a cure for blood cancers was to increase awareness of this disease by sharing the stories of those who have touched by a blood cancer.



I have shared Kelly's story many times over the last twelve years and I never get tired of talking about the impact Kelly has had on my life.


Today marks the third anniversary of her passing. I can't believe it and I still wish the outcome had been different.


I know there is nothing that I can write or say that I haven't said before and I struggle to find the words.


What can I do to celebrate and honor Kelly's life? A life that inspired me to a greater purpose, a different path.


And I think that the answer is simple. Keep fighting for her. Fight for all she stood for, and for what was important to her.


Time with her family, with her friends. Time spent well, living and loving life. Standing in the possibility of hope, giving hope to others.


Choosing her life, for all that it was. Kelly had cancer and she chose the gift that came to her wrapped in sandpaper and lovingly unwrapped that present. And she shared that gift with me and so many others during her cancer journey.


She is my teacher, my friend, my hero.


Please join us in this fight to honor Kelly's life and memory. She is worth fighting for.


I love you Kelly!




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Bagel medals and team heroes
Mar 02, 2011 by Ross* Kinney

I got the best possible swag at the end of the longest training run for the Paris marathon.


All of the participants received the coveted bagel medal. Some happily ate their medals. I took mine home and it is proudly hanging from the bulletin board in the kitchen. One of my dogs is greedily eyeing my medal.


I ran 19.5 miles. I have never gotten so close to running 20 miles and fallen short and this was all I had. I was wiped out.


Best part of the day was being greeted by one of my awesome team heroes, Lauren at the end of the run. I was so happy to see her there as it brings home why I chose to run even when the running doesn't feel good. Getting a hug after 19.5 miles of running washes away all of the pain.


I choose to run and to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I am making a stand for Lauren, and Whitney and Brittany and Chris. I am running to honor all that Kelly and Laiken fought for, for who they are to me in the world.


Someday I won't have to run on Saturday mornings and I won't have to ask for people to donate money for research. This disease will be vanquished. Until that day comes, I will keep running. There are bagels to hang on my wall and team heroes to hug and to fight for.



Me, the coveted bagel medal and Lauren at the finish line!

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Lauren-Worth Fighting for
Feb 07, 2011 by Ross* Kinney

One of the things Laura and I wanted to do during this season with TNT in addition to raising money to find a cure for blood cancers was to increase awareness of this disease by sharing the stories of those who have touched by a blood cancer.


Lauren is one of our awesome team heroes for this season and it is because Lauren is worth fighting for that we continue to ask for donations to accelerate a cure for blood cancers, to raise awareness. This is an inspired call to action.


I hope you will take a few minutes to read Lauren's story and if you are so inspired that you will take a few more minutes and make a tax deductible donation to honor Lauren and what she fought for during her treatment and what she continues to fight for now.


Like Brittany and Whitney, Lauren is worth fighting for. Please join us in this fight.


It is our honor to share Lauren's story with you.

Lauren(2nd from left). This picture was taken after one of

our group training runs in December of last year.


On October 10, 2007, I was sitting in class when I started having excruciating

chest pains. I thought I was having an allergic reaction to an antibiotic I was

taking, so I walked out of class and drove to the doctor. At the doctor's office

they took an x-ray and said something was wrong, the doctor thought I had

pericarditis (an infection around the lining of the heart) as there was a huge,

white mass around my heart. They sent me to the hospital to see a cardiologist.

While I waited they took a routine blood test and the results came back that I

had 90,000 white blood cells (9,000 is normal)- I had leukemia. The amount of

white cells I had was extremely high even for those leukemia. I was told I would

have been dead in two weeks if I didn't start treatment. The white mass around

my heart was blasts (cancer cells) that has accumulated. The pain was from that

mass (which was 17 centimeters across!) pushing out on my chest.

I went into surgery the next day to put a medi-port in (a line implanted under

my skin that connects to my vena cava). Then I started treatment. I went through

8 months of intensive chemotherapy, going to the hospital several days a week. I

got everything you can imagine- spinal taps, bone marrow aspirations,

intermuscular shots, intravenous medicine, oral chemotherapy and tons of blood

transfusions. At one point, I stayed in the hospital for about a month as I

underwent an experimental chemo treatment.


At the end of the 8 months, I went through 9 days of cranial radiation. This was,

by far, the scariest thing I have ever done in my life. The side effects of radiation

are especially scary, losing your memory, losing the ability to perform certain

every day functions and brain tumors. I can distinctly remember the feeling I had

walking into the first radiation session- I was extremely nauseous, my legs felt

like they were going to give out on me, I had spots in front of my eyes and I

literally felt like I was going to have a heart attack because my heart was beating

so fast. It took everything I had in me to just stand up and walk. To me, it is

worth fighting for for no one to ever have to undergo cranial radiation related to

blood cancer again. I would not wish that feeling on my worst enemy and I hope

that the LLS can raise enough money to find a cure for blood cancers so no one

has to undergo cranial radiation again. I will stay involved with LLS until this

happens, because I don't want anyone to have to go through what I went

through. I still have nightmares about cranial radiation that make me wake up in

a cold sweat with my heart racing.


After my nine days of radiation, I got to go to "maintenance" which means going

to once weekly hospital visits for various chemotherapy and treatments. It also

meant starting daily, oral doses of chemotherapy. This included 4 different kinds

of chemo, four times a day. The worst part was that one of the medicines had

instructions that I could not eat for 2 hours before taking it and 2 hours after

taking it. I did this for over two years! I was basically hungry a lot, because if I

ate, then I couldn't go to bed because I was afraid I would forget to wake up to

take my pills. My very last day of pills was January 31, 2010. I still have to go

back to the hospital once a month for check-ups, but it is certainly better than

the regiment I was doing before.


Like Brittany and Whitney, Lauren is worth fighting for. Please join us in this fight to create a world without blood cancers.




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Supporter Comments

  •  
    "Ross & Laura, I am amazed by your commitment and relentlessness to the cure. Paris will be amazing and I wish you all the best. This donation was raised in my own fundraising efforts, and I'm happy to pass it along to a great cause!"
     

    Marisa Murgolo

    Sat Dec 18 11:32:21 EST 2010

  •  
    "Run strong Ross and Laura! Go Team!"
     

    Jane Upton

    Sun Jan 09 03:50:25 EST 2011

  •  
    "Way to go, Ross & Laura!! I'll be cheering for you both!"
     

    Joni Hart

    Tue Feb 01 12:18:07 EST 2011

  •  
    "Thank you Laura and Ross fo all that you do to honor the memory of Kelly"
     

    Uncle Bill and Aunt Linda

    Thu Mar 17 11:44:37 EDT 2011

  •  
    "With much love for Kelly Melissa Sandra Grubb"
     

    L&L for Kelly

    Fri Mar 18 12:17:11 EDT 2011

  •  
    "Inspired by all of our heroes in this fight against cancer. "
     

    Ross and Laura

    Mon May 09 04:56:12 EDT 2011

  •  
    "Wish I could donate more! Thanks for never giving up!!! www.longlegsontheloose.com"
     

    Katye

    Wed Mar 23 11:36:09 EDT 2011

  •  
    "GO TEAM!"
     

    MacKenzie Lane

    Thu Jan 13 03:36:00 EST 2011

  •  
    "Ross, Thanks for being an inspiration to us all. I want to be like you when I grow up. :o)"
     

    Ashley Merritt

    Mon Jan 10 11:54:09 EST 2011

  •  
    "Best of luck with your training and fund raising. You are an inspiration!"
     

    Mathew Anderson

    Wed Dec 15 11:51:33 EST 2010

  •  
    "Light and Love 4 Laiken"
     

    Anonymous

    Sun Mar 06 10:33:00 EST 2011

  •  
    "Ross, you and Laura are AMAZING champions for blood cancer!"
     

    Rebecca Russell

    Wed Jan 19 07:07:41 EST 2011

Team Fundraising Total

Goal: $10,212.00
 
69 %
Donations: $7,050.00

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Lauren, Whitney, Brittany and Chris

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