My Fundraising Page

From "In Honor" to "In Memory"
Nov 21, 2013 by Chelsea VerHage

Last night, I found out my Uncle Mike died.

Mike is why I was inspired to run and raise money with Team in Training in the first place.

I shared this on my blog on Tuesday, and I was worried people would think it was "too real" to share.

And I agree, it's all a little too real right now.

I desperately wish it wasn't, but it is.

Cancer is real.

And this is an opportunity to let people know how prevalent, how real, and how evil cancer is; how evil it can be, how evil it was to Mike, and sadly, how evil it will be to more people in the future.

Now I feel even more encouraged to run, raising awareness and raising money for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

If you feel like you can spare any amount of money and donate to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, I urge you to simply look at the right sidebar and donate.

Cancer sucks, but I know that people don't, and I have faith that with your help, I can raise money and make my Uncle Mike proud.

Mike, my Uncle Jim, and my dad: three amazing men.

Why I'm Part of the Team
Nov 08, 2013

Thank you for stopping by my Team in Training page!

I'm Chelsea, and I'm a junior at Clemson University.

I remember hearing about leukemia for the first time in elementary school through a Charlie Brown movie. I came home, worried, because I thought my little brother had cancer. In the tearjerking cartoon, Linus's friend bruised easily due to her cancer, and like most young boys, my little brother had bruises everywhere! Once I was assured that my brother was okay, I didn't worry about leukemia for a while. Sure, I gave Pennies for Patients, and I knew cancer was terrible, but it hadn't affected me personally.

I still remember sitting in a Michaels parking lot, less than two years ago, hearing my dad tell me his brother, my Uncle Mike, was diagnosed with leukemia. I'll be honest: it was a semi-selfish moment. I thought, "This can't happen to someone I know! Someone I love!"

Here I am, many awkward moons ago, with my cousin and Mike's son, Josh, my brother Corey, my dad, my Grandad, my Grandma, and Uncle Mike.

After that, I tried to forget about the pesky cancer. I saw it as a stage or a phase that would end soon enough. Since Mike lives in Michigan, and I'm in South Carolina, it made it a bit easier to do. I focused on my life, ignoring the sickening fact that Mike's battle with cancer was a real thing. I tried to ignore that chemo wasn't working, and a bone marrow transplant wasn't working, and alternative treatments weren't working...

Here is Uncle Mike as of September, with his parents and his grandson.

But suddenly, the first weekend of November, 2013, it hit me. Mike's cancer is real. And it is ugly. And I hate it. But sitting here and hating it isn't going to treat it and kill it and bring back Mike's vivacious self. I knew I needed to do something.

After a little research, I found out about Team in Training, or TNT.

Team in Training is a branch of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS), and I realized TNT and I were on the same page...

First, and foremost, we want to help find cures and more effective treatments for blood cancers (leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma).

Secondly, Team in Training helps team members train for an athletic event.

TNT is challenging me in two ways that I've never been challenged before.

I'm responsible for raising $1250 for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Although it seems like an overwhelming number, knowing this money is going to help improve the quality of life for people like Mike makes it so worth it.

I'm running the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in Raleigh, NC. I'll be honest: the longest distance I've ever run is 6.2 miles, and that was a one time thing! I know 13.1 miles is probably going to suck, but it will suck a heck of a lot less than the pain of blood cancer.

Please make a donation in support of my efforts with Team In Training and help advance the research for cures.

I'm so excited to start this journey, all in honor of my Uncle Mike


Supporter Comments

    "Thanks Chelsea for all your effort. Mike will love you for it."

    Ned Ver Hage

    Tue Nov 12 07:03:36 EST 2013

    "Thanks, Chelsea, for what you're doing in your Uncle Mike's honor. If only there were so many more loving and gutsy people like you! I have a friend who is a one year survivor of Hodgkin's Lymphoma, so I'm donating to your cause in her honor too. Good luck and God's blessings with the marathon and your fundraising efforts."

    Colleen Werley

    Wed Nov 13 06:21:47 EST 2013

    "Good luck Chelsea!! We are so proud of you!!"

    Timothy Whitten

    Fri Apr 11 07:50:18 EDT 2014

    "Chelsea- I am so proud of you for setting such incredible goals in both fundraising and running! I am donating in memory of my Papa Bill, my dad's dad who died of leukemia more than 20 years ago. Run fast, girlfriend! I will be thinking of you and I am continually praying for you during this time of loss. Lots of love and hugs! -Ryann McCall "

    Ryann McCall

    Tue Dec 03 08:10:32 EST 2013

    "So proud of you!! :)"

    Kathryn Whitten

    Thu Nov 14 02:53:30 EST 2013

    "I know you can do this!"

    John Whitten

    Tue Nov 12 09:33:20 EST 2013

    "Good luck, Chelsea. It warms my heart to see your efforts for this worthwhile cause. I know it means a lot to Josh and Mike. You are awesome! (For many reasons, but certainly for running a 1/2 marathon. I certainly could not do that!!!)"

    Melissa Verhage

    Mon Nov 11 07:48:04 EST 2013

    "We are so proud of you! Good luck! Love, Brian, Jana, & Charlotte"

    Jana Carney

    Sat Nov 09 06:59:22 EST 2013

    "We're thinking of you and your family. Good luck with your training!"

    Laura Wills

    Sun Nov 24 06:14:01 EST 2013

    "Chelsea, Thank you for running in Mike's memory. It means a lot to our family."

    Jim VerHage

    Sun Jan 26 04:44:06 EST 2014

    "So proud of you Chels and everything you are doing to support your uncle! I KNOW that you can do this and you will reach any goal you set for yourself. Love you so much!!"

    Kara Kusterman

    Sat Nov 16 08:52:16 EST 2013

My Fundraising Total

Raised: $1,410.00 | Goal: $1,250.00
113 %

Make a Donation

We are sorry donations are no longer being accepted for this participant for this event.

My Thanks To

Melissa Verhage $100.00
Timothy Whitten $50.00
Jim VerHage $50.00
Dave & Dee Bolinger $50.00
Ryann McCall $50.00
Kathryn Whitten $50.00
Colleen Werley $50.00
John Whitten $50.00
Jana Carney $50.00
Christie Clark $50.00
Andrew VerHage $25.00
Laura Wills $25.00
Kara Kusterman $25.00
Susan Taylor  
Kathy VerHage  
Brian Verhage  
Becky Hekkema  
Ned Ver Hage