So Very Thankful
Dec 16, 2013 by Diane Wikso
As we approach the final days of our fundraising efforts, it's truly remarkable to think of ALL the folks who have donated their time, talent and dollars to the efforts of Team Wikso. I know I can't name everyone or every contribution method, but here are a few things that have stood out to us:
- Mom hosting craft days, selling crafts, organizing events, and utilizing her artistic talents for LLS. And Dad, of course, for driving and making all the A.C. Moore stops needed to execute these plans!
- Carol, Ben, Joan & Mimi for getting behind us on the iPad Mini Raffle idea and sales. That raised a HUGE piece of our goal!
- Grace, Rob, Yael, Em, Vision, Ryan, Jamie and Faith for entertaining us during Coffeehouse for a Cure. Also, Ben from LOMA for donating the coffee and space!
- TEAM DELAWARE (TNT volunteers) for supporting us AMIDST their own fundraising efforts and for giving their best advice along the way to these two novice runners.
- LLS volunteers and Board Members supporting me (Diane), again, when they support our mission year-round. That is so encouraging and humbling for us!
- Family and friends who traveled many miles to attend events on our behalf. We don't always like going very far, and yet you went the distance for us!
- Donors we don't know very well or who we haven't been in touch with for years clicking on our link and helping us more than we could have ever imagined!
- Diane Paradise cheering US on from her recovery room at Johns Hopkins! She not only got us through some demotivating training runs, but she throws life back into perspective for us! We are so honored to be running for her.
And (Diane speaking), this has been truly humbling for me as an LLS staffperson to be taking the role that my volunteers take every day. It's a HUGE commitment to sign up to run and fundraise. I am so grateful for the people who step up and do this year-round. Each day, I'm realizing the dependence on the TEAM...for volunteer efforts and fundraising support. I can't imagine anyone doing this without TEAM behind them!
So, as we approach the final hours of our fundraising, we want to extend a heart-felt THANK YOU!
Diane & Eric
Let the Countdown Begin...
Nov 30, 2013 by Diane Wikso
This Thanksgiving weekend, our Honored Hero Diane Paradise is counting down the days until she receives a stem cell transplant to make her cancer free! After 19 years of battling her lymphoma, it amazing to think that the stem cells infused in her body in just a few days will keep her in remission--that's our hope and prayer for her as she undergoes this procedure.
One thing that has blown me [Diane Wikso] is how BRAVE and STRONG Diane [Paradise] is through this entire process. Her immune system will be wiped to nothing so that her body can take on these healthy new cells...she is in the hands of skilled doctors and a good God looking over her body!
As Diane [Paradise] undergoes one of the most intense procedues of her life--transplant--I am reminded that our task is NOTHING in comparison. While the training makes us ache and we get nervous about being so far from our goal, we have nothing to fear. We get to take off our running shoes and hop into a warm shower when we feel sore and sweaty. We will soon conclude this chapter of fundraising for LLS when we meet our commitment. For us, this is a season.
True persistence and bravery are reflected in the daily actions of blood cancer patients and their families--Diane and her family will still be fighting to keep her healthy in the days following transplant--it's a 24/7 commitment for a SURVIVOR! I am blessed to witness her journey, as she documents it on her Caring Bridge and on Facebook. She is real and she is strong...and it has been a tru blessing to learn from her this season.
Please keep Diane in your thoughts and prayers--not just in the next few days during the countdown to transplant, but in the days following, when her immune system will nee all the strength in the world to keep her healing.
Let's do this for Diane! GO TEAM!
Our love, prayers, and thanks,
Diane & Eric
The Power of a Hero
Nov 03, 2013 by Diane Wikso
It all began in May when one of our long-timeTeam In Training volunteers, Andrew Nerney, rached out to me (Diane) and said there was this lymphoma survivor from his Toastmasters group I needed to meet. As soon as Man/Woman of the Year was over and we could escape from the office, Jessica and I met Andrew and his friend Diane Paradise at the PureBread down the street. And, that was the FIRST time in my year at LLS that I had the chance to talk to a survivor--who was still fighting--and really HEAR her story. It was that day that Diane started re-shaping my motivation to share for the mission I daily explain to others. For the first time, I had the PRIVELEGE of sharing in the journey of someone who was in the midst of her fight...and it is an HONOR to share her story with you:
December marks the 19th anniversary for Diane Paradise as a survivor of Hodgkins Disease and also what will be her new birthday as she undergoes a bone marrow transplant on December 3. Diane was originally diagnosed just a few weeks before her 25th birthday with nodular lymphocyte predominant, a rare and incurable form of Hodgkins. It has recurred 5 times and has been extremely active since 2008. Recently, she was referred to Johns Hopkins to seek out information on transplant options. She has been enrolled in a randomized study and will either be getting a half match sibling donor (her brother Charlie) or an umbilical cord mini-transplant. She will be staying nearby and traveling to and from the outpatient clinic daily beginning with chemo on November 27, the day before Thanksgiving, her favorite holiday. Diane lives life with a grateful heart and attributes survivorship to her healthy lifestyle, strong faith and legion of prayer warriors lifting her up. This Thanksgiving, she is even more grateful to be here to undergo a transplant. She lives with her husband and two dogs in Wilmington, DE.
This summer, Diane started volunteering in the LLS office, offereing her time and talent in the midst of chemo treatment, to assist with recruiting volunteers for the Light The Night Walk. Personally, I loved talking to Diane on those days she came in to visit because she was SO transparent about her decision to undergo transplant, her struggles with treatment, her joys and sorrows throughout the entire journey. She has made the mission to cure blood cancer all the more urgent for me. We will be running for Diane in Disney...and as we cross the finish line, Diane will still be fighting in that period known as the critical "100 days" after transplant.
Diane is a HERO and a SURVIVOR whose faith and geniune spirit has motivated me especially in the last few weeks when I discovered that every mile we run wanes in comparison to the fight she will undergo in the next few months. If she can undergo transplant, we can run 13.1 miles and train many miles more in the meantime!
As Diane prepares for transplant, I would encourage you to follow her progress and story on her Caring Bridge website. She is a hero worth running for, and I ask for your prayers in the coming months as she awaits and undergoes the lon-awaited bone marrow transplant that will finally make her CANCER FREE!
With mission in mind,
Coffeehouse for a Cure
Oct 13, 2013 by Diane Wikso
Please join us on November 16 at LOMA Coffee in Wilmington for "Coffeehouse for A Cure!" Enjoy performances by local artists including: Rob & Yael Haislip, Jessica Holland, Grace Hoover, UD Vision A Capella, and more!
There will be coffee, food, music, raffle prizes, and great time to enjoy one of downtown Wilmington's favorite hot-spots!
Adults: $15 (ages 12+)
Students: $10 (with valid ID)
Children: $5 (ages 4-11)
ALL proceeds will benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, thanks to the generous donation of the venue and coffee by LOMA Coffee.
You may register by visiting http://tinyurl.com/coffeehouseforacure or by donating the TOTAL amount for tickets here on this website!
Diane & Eric
20 Reasons to Help TEAM WIKSO Reach $2000
Oct 13, 2013 by Diane Wikso
As we approach the end of Blood Cancer Awareness Month, we want to give you some quality reasons why YOU need to support TEAM WIKSO in our effort to run down and beat cancer!
Here are 20 reasons why your donation of just $20...or $200...can help us reach our goal. No gift is too large or too small to make a difference!
Now, read on ...we think you'll get a better glimpse of WHY WE RUN! And feel free to comment on YOUR favorite reason!
1. So many people say, “Dela-WHERE?!” Well, two of us will be serving as ambassadors of the first state…we’re doing a public service!
2. If you think a half marathon isn’t enough to support, consider this…we’re each doing a half, and two halves equal a whole! So really you’re supporting a total of 26.2 miles!
3. It's too easy to skip going to the gym or running outside. It was actually hard to get started before the season began...until we received a donation from a perfect stranger who cared about the MISSION! That's what spurred us on and keeps us training, knowing that you support us and expect us to succeed.
4. Everyone of you who reads this knows SOMEONE affected by cancer, and maybe even directly by a blood cancer. The remarkable thing is research conducted by LLS intended for blood cancer patients has been used to help patients with other forms of cancer and inflamatory diseases. The research here IS impacting you and your loved ones!
5. Eric is more naturally the “fitness” partner in the relationship. Diane is more professionally the “fundraising” partner in the relationship. This half marathon forces us to challenge one another in our gifts and encourage us beyond what we think we can do and what we will succeed in doing by January 11, 2014!
6. Neither one of us needs a housewarming, birthday, Christmas, or any other present in the next 4 months. But, we do NEED to reach a $6000 fundraising goal by December to be able to run this half marathon! Make your gift to us a contribution to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
7. Afraid your donation won't make a difference? Eric wants to share this quote: “If you think you're too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room.” --Anita Roddick
8. What a beautiful blessing it is to be part of a team...Team Wikso and Team In Training. We are made to be in fellowship and partnership; running together trains our hearts and minds to do just that: “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
9. Eric says, “Send Diane to Disney World for the first time!”
10. Diane says, “Help Eric ENJOY running after his years of military duty!”
11. We told one another we wouldn't start having a family until we ran a half marathon. Your donation...or lackthereof...indicates whether you think we should procreate and grow the Wikso clan someday.
12. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society funded researchers at the University of Pennsylvania who discovered that if you alter an immune cell (the HIV virus), it can be used to target and kill cancer cells. LLS is funding the best and brightest researchers who are developing treatments none of us would ever think of...seriously, would YOU ever consider altering the HIV virus to cure cancer? Read Emma Whitehead's amazing story!
13. Eric is running in memory of his long-time friend and college roommate Steve Smisson, who lost his battle to large granular lymphocytic leukemia in 2010.
14. Diane is running in memory of her grandparents Raymond and Irene Kane, who lost their battles to cancer in 1974 and 1989, before she would ever know them.
15. September is Blood Cancer Awareness month. If there's any time to support The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, it's NOW as we celebrate the incredible success of the research funded by LLS since it was founded in 1949.
16. Team In Training is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year. In 1988, Bruce Cleland gathered a group together to run the New York City Marathon and raise money for LLS in honor of his daughter, who was fighting a blood cancer. It's a beautiful legacy even 25 years later as we prepare for Disney!
17. An estimated 1.1 million people in the US are living with, or are in remission from, a blood cancer. Almost half of new cancer therapies approved by the FDA between 2000 and 2012 were first approved for blood cancer patients. Last year alone, LLS invested approximately $70 million in cutting-edge research.
18. TEAM WIKSO is not fundraising alone. We are part of a larger team of 88 Flex participants training in 23 states with an overall goal of $300,000. Help us reach the BIG total...starting with the Wikso goal!
19. This season, the Disney Team In Training Flex Team is training on behalf of a young boy named Parker who was diagnosed with lymphoma in March. His mother, Amy DeCosmo, was already training for a TNT event when he was diagnosed; and she is running again, this time in Disney World with the Flex Team! We're looking forward to meeting our little hero, who is now in remission, when we run this January!
20. Someday, there will be a cure for cancer. And you can start today by saving lives! Someday IS Today!
Donate today to TEAM WIKSO, and help us run to the end of cancer!
Diane & Eric