The Battle is Won!! ....but the War is Not Over!
Oct 23, 2012 by Justin Legg
WE HAVE DONE IT!! Thank you all for helping to create the Jarred McKinley Carter Project. We topped $50,000 raise as of 23 October 2012. You have all helped to create a tribute to the man who saved my life and to his mother who made the courageous decision to share her son with me.
Please remember however that this was only one battle, a big battle, but the war rages on. Donations to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society are important and must conitnue. This site remains open until 30 days after my race - it will cose on December 10th. Please encourage others to keep donating and blow this $50,000 mark out of the water. The more money we can collect for this research project, the more work that it can fund and the greater tribute we pay to Jarred.
Jarred's name will now live on in the research toward fighting and curing cancer and the fruits of that research will carry his legacy forward as saving not only my life, but the lives of so many others. Thank you all for helping and thank you Jarred.
Jarred's mother, Julie McCarthy, is orgnaizining and holding a fundraiser at the American Legion near Titusville, FL on November 3rd to raise more money in support of this project and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Please tell all of your Florida friends near Orlando or the Kennedy Space Center (next door to Titusville), to please get out and support her and the memory of her son on that day.
Please come back to visit this site as I already am working on the next entry. I just want to give full attention to the accomplishment of the objective for now. I will continue to post here and I will continue to give updates on twitter @GorillaFrog as to how I am doing.
Slight preview of what's up next --- it has to do with a REALLY big mountain begining with a "K".
Difficulties with Training
Oct 16, 2012 by Justin Legg
As most people would imagine, training for a half-marathon after cancer, bone marrow transplant ,Graft versus Host Disease and a double-lung transplant has been difficult. It has been long and tiresome and grating on my nerves and will at times. For the past 2 years I have had to be content with learning how to run a little over a mile without stopping when in the past I completed my first marathon on one-day's notice with NO long distance training over 12 miles...ever!!! I was been blessed with good genes for athletic performance, but I put in tons of work for many many years to get in great shape. Now for me, putting in a heavy workout means I get my ass kicked in about 3-4 minutes of what was my prior heavy cardio limit that I could sustain for about 2 hours or more. I have had to learn how to walk and jog, and run only a little. I have recently been getting back into martial arts to help build my cardio, but also to teach me how to relax under stress and manage my breath even more so than in yoga. I have been practicing japanese sword and have taken up archery, also both to help my breathing and focus in difficult circumstances.
But In the past 2 months however, I have been really delaing with some difficult times. I had a sinus infection that woudn't go away, a fungus was discovered in my lungs that required inhaled medications, and the pain that I have been having in my back turns out to be compression fractures, 5 of them to be exact. The first two I know i got while I was in the Teams and I know when and how. The other 3 are more of a mystery and most likely due to the osteoporotic (lessening of bone mineral density) effects of having to take prednisone (a steroid used to control my immune disorder) for over 5 years. Additionnally, the old fractures make a section of my spine move up and down like an accordion so the newly brittle bones in my upper back can bang into each other. It appears that the first one of those 3 was probably fractured 4 or 5 years ago while running a lot to get in shape after cancer and bone marrow transplant to become an operational SEAL again. It appears to be healing OK. The other 2 apparently have come during the recent training for the past half marathon or have just been re-injured during that time. They aren't as bad as a fracture in the vertebrae would sound, or maybe my pain tolerance now is just ridiculous, but either way, they are painful. They are a constant reminder that my body is not normal anymore and never will be. Despite the apparent stability in health I am in possession of right now, these serve as constant reminder of the specter that will be nipping at my heels for the rest of my life... or at least the next 40-50 years until science can figure out a way to re-replace my original immune system, regrow my original lungs and replace my damaged vertebrae.
So what do I do now? What would your answer be? I should probably back off and stop running or stop doing so much..right? Sort of... The real answer is to keep training, train harder even now, but I just have to make adjustments. I have to be very careful about HOW I run and how I hold my posture. I can't try running as long anymore, so I just have to run a shorter distance faster and walk faster when I walk. The faster I move, the more muscles I use and the less impact is placed on my skeleton. I also have to reduce the amount of prednisone I take to help the bones stay in some kind of shape. I have to get at least one of the vertebrae repaired, maybe two. Just time to pull out the erector set I guess. But the answer is not to stop. Stopping will only set me back further and in fact, I feel it will make me go backward. Once I stop pushing myself through all of the difficulties, I feel as though my will may get a little weakened. A strong will is something that must be maintained all the time, you don't just get it and keep it without exercising it. Simply put, if you don't use it you lose it. The only way to exercise the strength of will is to use it push yourself. That's all I am doing, and I will continue to do it no matter what. I may have to modify HOW I do it but ICANNOT stop. This is the very essence of what has kept me alive, what continues to make stronger and healthier each day and what will keep me alive until science can help me find a way to relax....but how much fun would that be??
Jarred McKinley Carter Project in the News
Sep 15, 2012 by Justin Legg
Thank you to everyone who has donated up to this point, to those of you checking back in to see how things are going and to those of you visiting for the first time. This is just a quick update to post a few links to media sites that have helped spread the news about the Project in case any of you have not seen them.
WAVY TV-10 Video Clip
Fox 35 Local - I am Hampton Roads TV Show
Keep your eyes peeled for an articel from Cnn.com - rumor has it they will be publishing a rather long piece about this project. That's all for now.
I am Humbled!!...in more ways than One.
Sep 06, 2012 by Justin Legg
The outpouring of support fro this project has been so incredible I just can't believe it. At time of writing this, the total amount raised is $30,018.91. About $15,000 of that coming in the 10 days surrounding the race. The support of I have experienced through your donations and comments has just been incredible. It is not the reason I decided to undertake this challenge, but the compliments have poured in and they are just overwhelming. THANK YOU ALL.
Now on to the race and the results. Bottom line, I finsihed in 3 hours and 6 minutes. I ddin't look at the official results for the seconds, but it is true that my sisters beat me by a second or two. That, however is because I stopped to kiss my wife who was FRONT ROW right next to the finish line. I will post a video of that (taken by niece Corrinn) on my face book page. If someone will tell me how, I will post on you tube.
I didn't break thr 3 hour mark that I had wanted. The humidity was ridiculous and the dew point was near 80. By mile 5 my hands had swollen so much from loss of fluids and electrolytes that I couldn't close them to make a fist. By mile 7 my hip flexors were just flat out angry. I had to eat two packets of plain salt just to keep my fluids. I ate a GU about every 3 miles and munched a bag of chomps while I was going. My sister Kim and her husband Brian kept bringing me water and gatorade. My sister Jodi, in her first half-marathon ever, helped me keep pace and held ice on my neck when I was overheating. I kept the pace i needed to for the first 5 miles then fell off of it by mile 8. I got it back through 9 and 10 and kept it until about 11.5 and then my ankles starting hurting, my shoulders (due to previous injuries) starting aching fierce and in the last mile my hands were completely numb with the feeling creeping gradually up my arms to just above my elbows by the finish.
All in all, it pretty much sucked and hurt really, really bad. AND, I got a blister - something that hasn't happened in years because my feet are so damn calloused. A quick dunk in the ocean afterward, made most things feel better though.
When I got done with the race, I called Jarred's mother to tell her how it went, how well fundraising was going, and that since I haven't hit the $50,000 mark yet, and there is still time left in the fall fundraising season as determined by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, I will be doing the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon in November to be able extend my fundraising out through all of November.
With that news, Jarred's mother cried and told me that no one had ever done anything so nice for her or her family. It hit me right in the heart and blasted right through everything I know about myself and at that moment, for the first time in my life, I felt completely and truly, 100% humbled. I try to be humble and keep my (larger thatn I would like to be) ego in the background as much as possible. But in that moment, I felt as though I had been given the greatest honor to be able to struggle my way through all my physical battles so I could do something so nice for one family. That moment was pure, clean and honest gratitude. It would have never happened if I didn't persevere through all that has come my way. And that moment, moments like that, are beyond comparison to pride in personal accomplishment of any sort. Those are the moments that define a life well lived in my book. It is that type of moment that I urge all men to strive to bring about. Not for the feeling it will bring you, but for what it will do for the person on the other end. Moments like that change lives.
It is now when I can start to see the results of my service that I am really beginning to understand just how important it is to volunteer yourself in service of your fellow man, I hope this small example will encourage others to do the same. Serve others and you will serve yourself in more ways than you can count.
Teamwork and Thank You's
Aug 22, 2012 by Justin Legg
It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child. I firmly believe in this, that is of course if we care about that child be brought up to be a well-rounded, moral person with a chance at success and being an upstanding citizen. And so this is the case with many things in this society. Often times things can be accomplished by one person, but the best results are won, and the most daunting challenges brought to bear, through Teamwork.
So I would like to take a minute to acknowledge my Team.
Thank you to everyone who has visited this page. You are all my teammates in helping me accomplish my mission of raising $50,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Without each and every person who has contributed to the site or who has told their friends about it or has followed what I am doing and given me some encouragement, this would not be possible. Without all the doctors and nurses and hosptial support folks who kept me alive, this would not be possible. Without my teachers, coaches, and BUD/S instructors who helped build my drive and determination, this would not be possible. To my parents who taught me how to give back to others this wouldn't be possible. To my sisters and cousins and family who are spreading the word and running fundraisers, this would not be possible. To a fellow TNT teammate, Leigh Ann, supporting me with fundraisers she is coordinating, this wouldn't be possible.
Without my wife, who has done all the above and more; she has put up with all of my crap and stuck by my side, she cared for me, held my puke pan, helped me stand and walk, bathed me and even wiped me. Without her giving me a real reason to pull through when most thought I just wouldn't be capable no matter how hard I tried, this project would not be possible. And most of all, without Jarred and his mother's courageous decision to share his lungs with me, this would not be possible.
Thank you everyone. You are part of the team that will make the Jarred McKinley Carter Project happen.
For those of you who wish to continue supporting in another way, please visit
and sign-up to shop, earn cash back and donate to LLS all at the same time.