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Running For More…

The personal blog and website of Kristen Cincotta

Posts Tagged ‘Activism’

Army of Women Call to Action – Looking for Buffalo Area Participants!

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

If you’re checking in for a Baby C update, he’s still not here. He’s taking his sweet time deciding when to come into the world, just like his Mom did!

But hey, while you’re here, I’ve got another great cause that I wanted to write about today. I can’t help myself, you all know that.

Anyways, I regularly get emails from Dr. Susan Love’s Research Foundation soliciting qualified participants for an array of breast cancer-related studies through their awesome and unique Army of Women initiative. Admittedly, most of the time, I don’t pay enough attention to the details of each study to find out if I’m qualified for the studies. But with not much to do these days but wait for Baby C (and get some actual work-work done from home), I’ve actually been taking the opportunity to look at some of the things that land in my inbox on a daily basis. And lo and behold, this Army of Women study caught my eye today. I’m not qualified for this study (I’m too young and can’t get to the study site easily) but with a large family and a number of friends from the Buffalo area, I figure that there’s a good chance that someone in my extended network will be. So I decided to share the details here and even if you’re not interested personally, maybe you’ll take five minutes to share the details with your network as well.

Please note that I’m not posting this particular call to action because I think it’s the best or most worthwhile of the many Army of Women studies. I’m posting this one in particular because I know a lot of people with connections to the Buffalo-area and geographic barriers are often some of the hardest to overcome when recruiting participants for a study like this.

Project Title A Pilot Study of the Flaxseed Effects on Hormones and Lignans: Role of Race, Genes, and Gut Microbiome

Researcher Susan McCann, PhD, Roswell Park Cancer Institute

Study Summary The purpose of this study is to determine whether adding flaxseed (a food high in compounds that can change hormones) to a regular diet changes hormones that are related to breast cancer risk and if the effect of flaxseed differs between African- American and Caucasian women.

Who Can Participate? You can sign up for A Pilot Study of the Flaxseed Effects on Hormones and Lignans: Role of Race, Genes, and Gut Microbiome if you meet ALL of these MAIN criteria:

• You are a woman between 45 and 75 years of age.

• You have stopped having your menstrual periods (you are postmenopausal).

• Your last menstrual period was more than 12 months ago.

• You have never been diagnosed with any cancer (basal and squamous cell skin cancers are OK).

• You have never had gastric bypass surgery.

• You have NOT taken estrogen or other female hormones (hormone replacement therapy, nonprescription hormones, or herbal supplements for menopausal symptoms) within the past 2 months.

• You do NOT eat flaxseed or take a flaxseed supplement regularly.

• You are NOT allergic to seeds or nuts.

• You have NOT taken antibiotics in the last 3 months

• You live near or are willing to travel (at your own expense) to Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York

• You self-identify as:
o Non-Hispanic White OR
o Non-Hispanic Black

After you RSVP, the research team will contact you to ask additional questions to be sure that the study is a good fit for you.

What Does Participation Involve? If you sign up for A Pilot Study of the Flaxseed Effects on Hormones and Lignans: Role of Race, Genes, and Gut Microbiome, the research team will contact you to confirm that you are eligible. If you choose to participate in the study, you will be asked to: 

• Be randomly assigned (like the flip of a coin) to eat 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed per day for 6 weeks or to maintain your usual diet. Two months later, you will switch into the other group for 6 weeks. 

• Complete an interview about your diet, health habits, medical history, reproductive history, and other information related to a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. 

• Attend 5 morning visits throughout the duration of the study at the Prevention Center at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. At these visits, you will be asked to provide a blood sample and have your height, weight, and body fat measured. You will also be asked to bring a urine sample from the night before and a small sample of that day’s bowel movement that you collected at your home. The research team will provide the containers for these samples, and instructions on how to collect them. The research team will also call you periodically to ask you everything you ate and drank in the past 24 hours.

Where? Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York

If you are interested in participating, or know of someone who might be, please click the image below to be taken to the Army of Women site for this project. And hey, while you’re on their site, please consider signing up for future Army of Women calls to action by clicking “Sign Up Today” in the menu bar at the top of the page!

Army of Women Logo

PS – Michelle’s IndieGoGo campaign to raise funds to supply protective equipment to the healthcare workers in Liberia on the front lines of the Ebola outbreak is still going strong. In case you missed it yesterday, please click here to learn more about her efforts and how you can contribute! Thanks!

Baby C Update and a Cause Worth Supporting!

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Hi all!

Since today is my due date, I thought I’d start with a quick Baby C update, but then I wanted to post about something that I think is really important – my friend Michelle’s IndieGoGo campaign to raise money for medical supplies for the medical aid workers trying to contain the deadly Ebola virus outbreak.

From our maternity photoshoot at Piedmont Park with Allison DePalma.

From our maternity photo shoot with Allison DePalma.

But before we get to Ebola, an update on me! I have somehow gone an entire 40 weeks with almost no posts about my pregnancy. That was entirely by accident, due to a number of circumstances beyond my control. However, if you’ve been following my #100HappyDays challenge, you’ve seen plenty about all of our last minute preparations. At this point, we’re feeling prepared, if not yet ready. I’m not sure anyone ever feels totally ready for this magnitude of a life change. But we are prepared. We’ve taken birthing classes, breastfeeding classes, a baby basics class, even infant CPR. We’ve both had haircuts, eye appointments, and dental cleanings. The dog has had a bath and her most recent shots. The baby’s room is FINALLY done and we think we have everything we need for these first few weeks. Mike has been diligently cleaning every inch of our house and every linen/baby outfit he can find (truly, that’s all been his efforts and I could not be more grateful!). Heck, I even got my nails done last week so they’d look halfway decent in those new baby photos. So we’re prepared.

Baby C, however, doesn’t seem to be quite ready to make his big appearance just yet. I haven’t had any signs of early labor that I’ve recognized as such, so we’re thinking he’s going to take after his mom and come into the world a little behind schedule. But that’s ok. I’ve been lucky to have a fairly comfortable, non-eventful pregnancy so I’m not sitting here in misery. I’m excited to finally meet this little dude who’s been wiggle-worming his way around my insides for the last nine months, but I’m actually fine with waiting for him to be ready to enter the world. For now, I’m finishing up some things from work (from home at this point, thankfully!), taking care of some things around the house, and just generally taking it easy. We’ll be sure to spread the word to excited and anxious friends and family once there’s actually news to tell, I promise.

Now, onto my friend Michelle’s IndieGoGo campaign. Doctor Michelle is my college roommate and is easily one of the most impressive people I’ve ever met (and I know some pretty impressive people). She is Harvard-trained in emergency pediatrics and global health and has lead medical outreach efforts all over the globe. Of the many places where she has worked, Liberia has captured her heart. She speaks passionately about her experiences there and the wonderful people that she’s gotten to work with. Her great pride in how far they have come is clearly evident.

Doctor Michelle in Liberia

Sadly, Liberia, and its neighboring countries of Sierra Leone and Guinea are currently facing one of the worst Ebola outbreaks that the region has ever known. To use Michelle’s own words from the IndieGoGo campaign page:

In a world where conflict and war is raging on across so many countries, this is a war with no sides and no fault. There were no instigators, there will be no winners but the victims are many. The number of people killed by Ebola in this three-country region is more than half the total number of deaths from all prior outbreaks in Africa combined. Healthcare workers are on the frontlines where the sick flock, their safety is in jeopardy while they charge straight into danger to care for their own people.

Ebola is a highly contagious virus with no cure and no vaccine that spreads easily through contact. In the people that it affects, it starts out like any cold with fever and vomiting but turns into deadly internal bleeding. Ebola infection has claimed the lives of 12 brave healthcare workers and infected over 30. Only 1 in 3 infected with the virus are expected to survive this deadly disease, making the frontlines of healthcare in Liberia as deadly as armed conflict. Yet these brave individuals put their lives on the line to treat emergencies, pregnant women, children and those with chronic disease. Healthcare cannot come to a halt while Liberia waits for Ebola to go away.

As in all developing countries, medical supplies are scant and an outbreak like this taxes the few resources that the healthcare workers do have. To help ease this burden, Michelle has created an IndieGoGo campaign to raise funds for the healthcare workers in her beloved Liberia. You can read more about their needs on the IndieGoGo page, as well as more detailed information about how these funds will be distributed. But keep in mind this one number: $2.50 is enough to provide a healthcare worker with one set of protective equipment. That’s it.

Michelle’s initial goal for this campaign was to raise $10,000 in two weeks. Her friends and family blew that out of the water in the first day. So, as is Michelle’s relentless way, she raised her goal. She is hoping to raise $250,000 in the next 30 days. I hope that you will consider giving to this important effort. You can do so at the link below:

Click here to donate in support of the healthcare workers in Liberia in their fight against Ebola!

I am lucky that when Baby C decides he’s ready to enter the world, he will be doing so in a well-equipt medical facility where his risk of contracting scary infectious diseases is nonexistent. The same cannot be said for the healthcare workers in Liberia that Michelle considers to be family. Please consider making a donation to this most worthy campaign today!

Georgia Gives Day (Plus an Injury Update)

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Happy Georgia Gives DayGa Gives Day Logo

Since today is Georgia Gives Day, I thought that I would shine a brief spotlight on some of my favorite local organizations that could benefit from your donation today. But first, a few quick updates on me, since it’s been a few weeks:

  • Despite my blog absence, I didn’t die during the Atlanta Marathon 10-Miler a few weeks ago. In fact, I felt pretty decent at the finish line, all things considered. Expect a full recap in the coming weeks, along with recaps from the 13.1 half marathon and some in between stuff for both.
  • I haven’t done anything more physically taxing than walking the dog for over two weeks now. Rest seems to be doing my ankle injury a world of good, so hopefully the worst of that injury is far behind me at this point.
  • Rest does NOT seem to be helping my knee injury. In fact, while I had a low level of soreness during my first week of rest, it actually seems to have gotten significantly worse over the past week. Walking down stairs is incredibly painful right now. I’m working on getting a referral from my primary care physician to see a sports medicine doctor about it which hopefully will happen soon. I’ll keep you posted on what comes of that.
  • Too much rest is also causing a (very) old hip injury to flair up as well. Years of gymnastics and dance classes have left me with chronically weak and achy hips which running actually seems to help with, not hurt. However, all this not running is causing my left hip to really (REALLY) hurt, especially when I try to turn out that leg. So I’ll be talking to the sports med doc about that too.
  • Because I have no idea what the prognosis will be for either of those injuries, I’m holding off on registering for any races for the rest of this year and even into next year. Even I was suddenly cleared to run tomorrow, I’ve lost so much fitness that racing anything longer than a 5K this year would be laughable.
  • Not running is making me CRAZY. I didn’t think I had been bitten by the running bug this badly, but clearly, I have been. I’ve particularly been struggling with the fear that I won’t be able to get back to where I was before I got hurt, and that all of the gains I made this past year will be just a blip in my running “career” instead of the beginning of a long period of continual improvement.
  • Because I’ve been so down about not running, I haven’t really felt like blogging about running. I also had a cold that left me physically voiceless for almost a week plus I’ve had some stuff going on at work. I just haven’t been feeling the blogging thing, which is why it’s been two weeks since I last posted. BUT! I’m back today and that’s what matters.

So that covers what’s been going on with me, running- and blogging-wise. As I mentioned, I’m trying to get back into the blogging swing of things and have a bunch of overdue recaps coming up soon. However, I was motivated to hop back online today to write about the second annual Georgia Gives Day!

Georgia Gives Day was started last year by the Georgia Center for Non-Profits (or GCN) in recognition of the fact that we are all affected by the work of our local non-profits, whether we realize it or not. Or, as the official website puts it:

Whether you know it or not, you live your life in nonprofits. From the hospitals where we are born, to the day care centers, schools and colleges that educate us. From the clubs, sports leagues and cultural institutions that entertain us, to the religious institutions we worship in. From the invisible impact of groups working on literacy, hunger, blight, disease, disability and job development, to programs that train our doctors and police and rally volunteer firefighters, to groups that fight for our voice and for justice. From the preservation of our green spaces and great places, to parks and paths, farmers markets and pet adoption, hospice providers and historic cemeteries.

Whether you have ever given a dime or a minute of time, your life has been affected by the work of a nonprofit. Now, we are creating an opportunity for everyone, in every corner of the state, to support the causes that make Georgia great.

Georgia Gives Day is an initiative that has been co-created by the nonprofit sector itself. It doesn’t support one cause or one locale – it’s all of us in the state’s nonprofit sector pulling together to ask you to stop and consider your life and your community without nonprofits. How much less connected, less vibrant, less interesting and less supported would our communities be without them? 

It is really as simple as that. Our non-profits help us all in a myriad of ways. As we head into the season of thanks and giving and all of that, what better time than now to shine the spotlight on some of these great organizations?

If you are inclined to give (regardless of if you live here in Georgia or not!), you can find a list of participating organizations here. I also highly recommend the following organizations (clicking the links will take you to each group’s Georgia Gives Day page so your donation will be included in the final tally):

And many, many more. This list is FAR from comprehensive. If you’d prefer to donate to another organization here in Georgia (and they don’t necessarily have to be in the Atlanta area), click through to the Georgia Gives Day website and use the search box to find the organization(s) you prefer instead. Just please give a little something today to help support my adopted state.

Also, while I believe very strongly in “think global, act local”, sometimes we need to act globally as well. If you can spare a few more dollars, please consider giving to an organization that is providing typhoon relief in the Philippines as well. Here are some great places to start:

Thank you everyone, for supporting me, my state, and the world!

Announcements!

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

Even though I am STILL furloughed from my job as a research Fellow at the CDC, my advocacy and fundraising work never stops. I finally sent out my #Run4Results fundraising letters and they have worked like gangbusters – I’m less than $170 away from reaching my goal with two and half weeks still to go before the Atlanta Marathon 10 Miler. I’ve also been easing back into training following the AllState 13.1 Half Marathon this past weekend. And I am starting to put some pieces in place for the future, including a few fun announcements!

1. I have started a team for the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Atlanta Walk!

The Making Strides walk is on October 26th (the day before the 10 Miler!) and will take place at Centennial Olympic Park. Because I am still working on my #Run4Results fundraiser, I won’t be actively fundraising for this walk (although you can donate here if you are so inclined). Instead, I want to encourage as many people as possible to join my team and walk with me. It is $25 to register (or $35 on race day), with all of the money going to fund ACS’s breast cancer initiatives. It’s also only a walk, and a relatively short one at that – no running involved. My team is currently named “3 Day Tweeps” although I may change it once I see who will be walking with me. Clicking on the icon below will bring you to my team page where you can find all of the information about the event and sign up!

ACS Making Strides Logo

Click on the image above to join my team!

2. I have a new role on the Komen Atlanta Race for the Cure planning committee!

Because I will almost definitely be out of town the weekend of the Komen Atlanta Race for the Cure (May 10th, 2014!), I won’t be able to serve as Safety Chair again this year. Instead, I will be taking on a MUCH bigger role that is entirely pre-race: I’m going to be serving as the Participant Recruitment/Teams Chair! After seeing the numbers that we had turn out for our race last year compared to what other (smaller) cities were turning out, the staff at Komen Atlanta (including the new Executive Director Cati Stone) and the members of the Race planning committee realized that we can and should be seeing much, much higher participation levels. One of the main things that I realized during my stint on the committee last year was that one area where we could do much better was in recruiting more participation from other runners here in Atlanta. I also feel like we need to do more outreach to both the Komen Atlanta grantee organizations and to the local participants in the Breast Cancer 3 Day. So I took some of my ideas to Cati (a fellow runner and 3 Day walker), who was already looking to shake things up around our Race for next year. It turns out that she was already thinking of many of the same types of activities that I was to try to drive up our registration levels, both for teams and for individuals. So starting later this winter, and big time next spring, I will be hustling my butt all over Atlanta to get as many people as possible to take part in our Race. I am a little intimidated to actually find myself in a position to put my money where my mouth is (so to speak… ), but I’m even more excited about it. Our Race has been good in the past. This year, we’re going to make it GREAT.

Komen Atlanta Logo

 

3. I am going to be one of the inaugural Ambassadors for the Atlanta Track Club!

In a stroke of fortuitous timing, after I got home from meeting with Cati at the Komen Atlanta offices earlier this week, I found a wonderful email sitting in my inbox inviting me (and about 40 other people) to be part of the Atlanta Track Club‘s inaugural Ambassadors program. With as much volunteering and yammering on about them as I do, this position is a natural fit for me. I’ll be receiving some communications training and promotional materials to distribute and will be representing the ATC at approximately 4-6 race expos, health fairs, group runs, and similar events over the course of next year (the program will be starting in January). Seeings as I was already looking to do more outreach to the running community in Atlanta through my new Komen Atlanta Race for the Cure position, this Ambassador program is an AWESOME opportunity. I’ll be building connections through my ATC work that I can then use in my Komen Atlanta work – all the while promoting TWO fabulous organizations that I feel passionately about. WIN-WIN!

ATC New Logo

 

So that’s some of what I’ve been working on during my work furlough. As I’m sure you can tell, I’m downright GIDDY over these opportunities. But, before I can really dive into Race recruiting and promoting ATC, I need to keep my eyes on my first priority – meeting my #Run4Results fundraising goals and preparing for the Atlanta Marathon 10-Miler. Coming up in the next few days will be a three part series of posts on my final preparations for the AllState 13.1 Half Marathon and my race recap as well as a few posts about the great work of the American Cancer Society. I’ll also be posting some information about the upcoming Atlanta 3 Day for those that will be here in town and maybe even a hint about MY 3 Day plans for next year. For now though, if you would like to support me in my #Run4Results fundraiser, you can do so by clicking on the DetermiNation image below. Thanks for all your support!!

ACS Determination Logo 2

Please click on the image above to visit my fundraising page and make your donation!

 

Fundraising Lessons Learned from my #Run4Research

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

Early in the year, I decided that in 2013, I would try to raise $1000 for three different cancer organizations in conjunction with my three biggest races of theTime for Research Alarm Clock year. First, I ran for the ROC  at the Publix Georgia Half Marathon back in March and had AMAZING success with that fundraiser, ultimately raising $1513. Coming off of that high, I thought that my second fundraiser, my #Run4Results for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) in conjunction with the Peachtree Road Race 10k would be just as successful. However, that fundraiser just never took off the way I had hoped that it would. In the end, I was only able to raise $205. For my third fundraiser of the year, the #Run4Results, which I launched a week ago and which benefits the American Cancer Society, I wanted to make sure that I do everything I can to recreate the magic of my #Run4ROC rather than repeating my less than successful #Run4Research. To that end, I’m going to take some time here to hash through what I think were the major lessons of the #Run4Research fundraiser that kind of wasn’t.

Lesson 1 – It Takes Time, Time, Time

I launched the #Run4Research on June 17th. The Peachtree Road Race was on July 4th. That means that even though I planned to continue the fundraiser for a few weeks post-race (and, in fact, you can still make a donation here if you’d like!), I really only gave myself three weeks before the race to generate awareness of my fundraiser and pull in donations. Then I went and developed a killer infected tooth that required an emergency root canal about a week before the Peachtree. Honestly, with as much pain as I was in, I was just not in the right mental state to be promoting my fundraiser. At that point, I was hurting so much, I wasn’t even sure how well I was going to run. Ultimately, I promoted my fundraiser for about a week, let it falter for a week and a half, tried to pump it again right before the race, and then kind of gave up when the donations just weren’t there.

So the lessons here? Give myself more time, both before AND after the race. I know from my years with the Breast Cancer 3 Day that people need time to hear about your effort and decide to donate. Sometimes they want to save more to make a bigger donation. Some people like to wait for pay day or the next time they pay bills. Some people just plain forget. Plus, things are going to come up on my end (like that toothache) and I need to be prepared for that. So this time around, I gave myself a full month before the race to raise awareness of my #Run4Results (which is probably still not quite enough) and I’m committing myself to continuing to promote this cause for a full two weeks post-race as well. With the #Run4ROC, I got the majority of my donations in the week after my big race because seeing my tweets and Facebooks posts and Instagrams from the race reminded them to donate. I’m sure if I hadn’t gotten discouraged and basically given up, I could’ve pulled in some more donations immediately after the Peachtree as well. So – more time pre-race to raise awareness and more time post-race to let people make their donations.

Lesson 2 – Just Like Training, Consistency is Key!

I already touched on this, but I was just NOT consistent in promoting my #Run4Research. I would tweet and Facebook about it regularly for a few days, and then completely go silent for days. In this era of social media, you have to say something repeatedly and then say it again if you want it to stick. There are just too many other things vying for people’s attention. If I don’t mention my fundraiser in some capacity on a regular-to-constant basis, people who have every intention of donating will forget. I’m guilty of this as well – I see fundraisers that others are doing and think “I should donate to so-and-so’s fundraiser!” and then completely forget when I don’t see constant reminders. So – consistency, consistency, consistency. Look for lots of posts, tweets, Facebooks, Instagrams, emails, whatever. It’s coming!

Lesson 3 – Move Beyond Social Media

All of my most successful fundraisers have included one key element – I sent out fundraising letters through both email and snail mail. Heck, my parents used to make me write a letter about why their co-workers should buy my Girl Scout cookies before they would take the order form in to work. I have been writing fundraising letters and distributing them in any way I could think of since I was a tiny person. So, what did I NOT make time to do for the #Run4Research? Yeah, I never sent any fundraising letters. No emails and definitely no snail mail. I tried to do everything through social media and it didn’t work. I also didn’t bother to try to plan any other type of fundraiser either. No raffles, no contests, no events. I can’t say that I will have time to plan any big fundraising events for my #Run4Results, but I AM going to get back to what I know works the best for me – those fundraising letters. I just can’t expect everyone to come to my social media sites and make donations. I need to bring my cause to them. If I want my friends and family to go to the extra effort to support me, I need to go the extra mile to ask them directly.

Lesson 4 – Connect the Dots

And by connect the dots, I mean two things: I need to draw the connection between what I’m doing (running until my legs feel like spaghetti) and what I’m asking them to do (donate, donate, DONATE!) and I need to highlight my connection to the organization that I’m fundraising for. Let’s take each of these in pieces, starting with the second one.

When I set out to accomplish my three big races/three big fundraisers plan, I spent a lot of time deciding which organizations I wanted to fundraise for. I knew that I wanted my organizations of choice to be cancer organizations, and I wanted at least one of them to be explicitly a breast cancer organization. I wanted reputable organizations with solid track records of doing good work. I wanted at least one organization to focus primarily on research because I’m a research scientist and I wholeheartedly believe that research is our silver bullet to ending cancer forever. I wanted there to be some structure for running a fundraiser on behalf of each organization to already be in place. And I wanted to stay away from Komen, not because I don’t support them (because I obviously do) but because I’ve focused almost exclusively on them in the past and knowing the growing public fatigue towards Komen, I wanted to use my efforts to spotlight other organizations. So that is how I landed on my three organizations: the ROC (my mom’s oncology center), BCRF (a breast cancer foundation focused primarily on research), and the American Cancer Society (highly effective and diverse organization with a great structure in place for the fundraiser).

For the #Run4ROC, I had to put in a little extra effort to get the fundraiser itself set up since there wasn’t really a model already in place. However, my connection to the organization I was fundraising for was readily apparent. My mom has been getting her treatments at the ROC since 2007 and they have been tremendous to us. Many of my potential donors also had friends and/or family who had been treated there and those that didn’t wanted to extend their gratitude to the staff there for taking such excellent care of my mom. I didn’t have to work very hard to sell people on why donating to their capital campaign was a great thing to do.

For the #Run4Research, though, I over-estimated both the general awareness of BCRF AND the trust that folks had in them. A lot of the big breast cancer organizations have been hit pretty hard in the press lately and they are all feeling the pinch because of it. While I know that BCRF isn’t perfect, they are a VERY good organization. And they do put their money where their mouths are – in 2012, they donated 91 cents of every dollar raised to breast cancer research. In promoting my fundraiser, though, I never really made it clear why I had chosen them. This should have been an easy sell – I was a biomedical research scientist and I’m currently a public health research scientist. If I can’t sell people on the importance of funding research (especially under sequestration when federal funding for research is super tight!), then no one can. And somehow, I failed to make that connection. I can’t expect my potential donors to do the leg work to research an organization they’re not familiar with. I need to be the one to do the leg work and bring the facts to them if I want them to donate, especially since this was my second fundraiser of the year.

And speaking of leg work – I also think I need to draw the connection between my running and my fundraising a little better. With the 3 Day, it was fairly easy to draw that line – if I didn’t reach my fundraising minimum, I didn’t get to walk. I had skin in the game to make my fundraising successful, as it were. With the fundraisers I’m doing this year, that isn’t the case. I was running the Publix Half Marathon whether my #Run4ROC fundraiser was a success or not and I was running the Peachtree regardless of what happened with my #Run4Research. I tried to connect my fundraiser to my running by suggesting amounts for people to donate (like donations per mile or per minute of time), but I’m not sure that worked as well as I’d have liked.

For me, the connection between my running and my fundraising is this: I’m working HARD to prepare for this race. Because of social media and email and all of that, I can draw as much attention to my training efforts as I want (Hey! I ran 12 miles on Saturday!). And in drawing attention to my training efforts (Did I mention it was HOT when I ran 12 miles?!), I hope that I can take that little spotlight I’ve claimed for myself (TWELVE MILES!), and redirect it onto a cause that needs as much of a spotlight as it can get (How about a $12 donation for my twelve miles?). I’m not delusional here – I know that I don’t have the clout (or even Klout) of a celebrity when it comes to drawing attention to a cause or an organization that I care about. But through this blog, my many years volunteering for breast cancer organizations, and my personal experience as a researcher, I think I’ve built a little bit of credibility when it comes to highlighting organizations worth supporting. And, well, I’m really good at being loud. If I can use my loud voice and my legs to draw attention to a cause that matters deeply to me, I’m going to do it. I think I just need to make that more clear in my fundraising efforts!

Translating the Lessons to Action

So given all that, here’s what I’m going to do differently to make my #Run4Results just as successful as my #Run4ROC:

1. Start earlier and stick it out longer. The AllState 13.1 Half Marathon is on October 6th. I’ve already started raising awareness for my #Run4Results and I’m committed to keep it up for at least six weeks – four weeks pre-race and two weeks post-race.

2. Promote my fundraiser and highlight my efforts towards it more consistently. I’ve already been highlighting all of the training that I’m doing to prepare for this race in my weekly training posts. I’m also going to start including a brief fundraising update in each of those posts as well as dedicated fundraising updates every two weeks. I’ve also got at least three posts planned over the next four weeks highlighting the great work of the American Cancer Society. Which brings me to action item #3….

3. Highlight the great work of the American Cancer Society. I chose them for my third fundraiser for a reason. I’m going to use this blog to tell you why.

4. Send out fundraising letters. I’m planning to send out one set in the next week or so and one set in the week immediately following the race. I’m going to send primarily emails but I’m also going to use snail mail to reach some family members who aren’t as comfortable navigating the online world (aka: my grandmother!).

It’s going to take a bit more commitment to make this fundraiser a success than in the past but I’m ready to give it the same time and effort that I’m giving to my training. After all, while all this sweaty running might draw some eyeballs, it’s the donations that will ultimately lead us to a cure (or cures!) for cancer.

ACS Determination Logo 2

Please consider supporting me in my #Run4Results at the AllState 13.1 Half Marathon to benefit the American Cancer Society by making a donation today!

Running for Results with the American Cancer Society!

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

This is it – my third and final running fundraiser of 2013. I’ve run for the ROC. I’ve run for research. This time, I’m running for RESULTS.13.1 Atlanta Logo

Not my results, of course, although those will be on my mind throughout this process. Instead, I will be running for the results that have been and will continue to be achieved by the American Cancer Society. ACS has been a stalwart in the universal fight against cancer and I am thrilled to be running for them at the AllState 13.1 Half Marathon here in Atlanta as part of their DetermiNation program.

The American Cancer Society is truly fighting the fight against cancer on all fronts. They fund critical research on the causes of cancer, how best to prevent it, and better and more effective cures. They provide helpful information for newly diagnosed individuals and their friends and family about exactly what cancer is and what they can expect throughout treatment. They provide additional patient support including rides to treatment, the phenomenal Hope Lodges, and connections to support groups around the country. Through their ACS CAN advocacy branch, they work to promote local and national policies designed to eliminate cancer as a national health problem. Like I said, ACS does a little bit of everything. And ACS gets RESULTS.

This October, I will be running my second half marathon. I’ve been training for this race since mid-July, dodging summer thunderstorms and persevering through the steamy temps here in Atlanta. As I put in the miles, I am asking once again for your support. Please consider  sponsoring my Run for Results by making a donation to the American Cancer Society via my personal fundraising page today.  As with my previous two big races this year, I have set my goal for this race at $1000. This is a big goal, but one that I think we can achieve, together. I’ll do the running. You just need to make a donation. You don’t even need to put on your sneakers and you can be part of my team!

For my previous races, I’ve given suggestions of amounts for you to consider donating. This time around, I’m just asking that you give whatever amount feels right to you. As I have written before, the ultimate victory against cancer will not be funded by one person with deep pockets. That victory will come because each of us, in our own way, came together and gave what we could, no matter how small. So that is what I am asking for from you – a donation, no matter how small. Together, we will help the American Cancer Society achieve the results they strive for every day – a world with less cancer and more birthdays.

To support me in my Run4Results, please click on the link below to visit my personal fundraising page on the DetermiNation website and follow the instructions to make an online donation:

http://main.acsevents.org/goto/Run4Results

The American Cancer Society also accepts donations via snail mail. If you would prefer to make your donation this way, please email me for additional instructions.

After you have made your donation, and over the next few weeks, please be sure to come back here regularly to check in on my progress. I have been documenting my training through weekly training posts, which can be found here. I am also going to try to write a few posts highlighting some of the great work that the American Cancer Society is doing. So please, be sure to come back!

As I said above, please donate whatever amount is right for you. This is my third fundraiser of the year. I would not be coming to you again if I did not believe in this cause and this organization. While I will be striving for my best possible results in the 13.1 Half Marathon this October, it is more important to me to achieve success with this fundraiser. Please consider donating today and being a part of this effort. In October, as I cross that finish line, we can celebrate all of our results together – results that will help turn the tide against cancer forever.


Thank you for your support!

Thank you for your support!


Thank you for your continued support of me and my fundraising efforts – together, we will end breast cancer forever!

Race Recap Flashback: Atlanta Race for the Cure

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Welcome back to Race Recap Flashback week! I have already recapped my Run for the ROC at the Publix Georgia Half Marathon, which you can read here, and I’ll be posting my recap of the Peachtree Road Race over the weekend. Tonight, it’s all about the Komen Atlanta Race for the Cure, which took place over Mother’s Day weekend back in May!

Every year, the Komen Atlanta Race for the Cure is on Mother’s Day weekend. Because much of my breast cancer advocacy is inspired by my mom’s fight with breast cancer, that makes it especially meaningful for me. I was even able to walk last year’s event with Mom, which was a whole new experience for me. The Komen Race was also my first EVER road race that I actually ran, again making it an extremely important event for me all around. If I had run the race this year, it would have been my seventh event here in Atlanta and my ninth (tenth?) Race for the Cure total.

But, of course, I didn’t run the race this year. I didn’t walk it either. Instead, for the first time, I was actually on the race planning committee, where I served as Safety Chair. And because I was committed to making sure everyone else had a safe race, that meant I couldn’t run the race myself. However, because as Safety Chair I wasn’t anchored to a particular area of the race site, I was really able to take in all of the aspects of the event. So, since this isn’t a traditional race recap, I’m going to do this recap a little differently too. It’s going to be a photo recap!

(Sidenote: If you want to see any of the pictures here in a larger view, just click on the pics themselves or on the link to the album at the bottom of the page.)

So, to start, I had to be at the race site at an absolutely heinous hour of the morning. However, I love this event so much that I was wide awake long before my alarm went off. My first order of business after I got to the site was checking in with my girl Julie who was responsible for assigning everyone their walkie talkies. I also had to get a picture of us together (even though it was still totally dark) to mark our three year “In Real Life” friend-a-versary (and our 4th Race for the Cure together)!

Pre-race shot with my girl!

From there, I did a quick tour of the race site and helped get my Grady medical teams ready to go. Then, it was back down to Julie at “Central Command” to fetch one of my favorite little people: her daughter Niblette. I was also able to capture this beautiful little moment of them:

LOVE THEM

My next “assignment” was to hand out our special Pink Honor Roll t-shirts (and coffee!) to our top 100 fundraisers, which Miss Niblette was kind enough to help me out with:

Pink Honor Roll shirts!

With my super helper Niblette

With the rest of the volunteers assigned to the Pink Honor Roll tent

I also had some visitors while I was working in the Pink Honor Roll tent:

Some of my #3DayTweeps before the race, including my friend Pam (in blue), Anne Marie (in the bandana), and Anne Marie’s daughter Liza. Niblette walked with them during the race.

Mike came and hung out with me before he went to actually run the race. Since I had to be there so early, he actually ran TO the race before running IN the race.

Not long after that, Mike headed down to find some of his work colleagues who were also running the race while we broke down the Pink Honor Roll tent. From there, it was time for me to make my way to the starting line, checking out the sights along the way:

Mike with his colleagues Lisa, Brandon, and Justin before the race. Go FFG!

Some last minute stragglers picking up their race numbers.

More of our great volunteers working hard before the race.

I also made one last check in with some of my medics, where I commented that things had been really quiet on the safety front thus far, including during the one mile fun run. They told me to me to NEVER say that because it’s basically tempting fate. As you’ll read later, I really should have listened to these guys:

Some of my phenomenal team from Grady, waiting for the race to start.

After that, I headed right to the front of the crowd and made my way up onto the starting platform. I’ve ALWAYS wanted to see the race from up there and I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity. I was able to get some GREAT pictures!

The MASSIVE crowd of racers waiting to start…

And with a word from the Komen Atlanta Executive Director Cati Stone (in the pink shirt), our racers were off and running!

Racers making their way towards the start as the large crowd pushed forward. And hey look! Even though I didn’t see him AT ALL, I totally captured Mike in my picture (left side, blue t-shirt, behind the folks in the pink “Thing” shirts)!

Racers flooding across the 17th Street Bridge

And of course, making their way along the crowd were my bike medics! Go team!

Once everyone was safely out on the course, I took a shortcut back through Atlantic Station and down to the finish line area. I met up with Julie again and captured this great shot of her with the banner she designed for our Survivor Tent when we went in to grab water bottles:

We love our survivors AND those who are surviving!

Like I said: Survivors AND Surviving!

I also took some time to check in with some of our local community grantees:

As a Community Grants Review Board Member, I felt extra proud of this group!

At this point, I figured I should head to the finish line and try to catch Mike, who I missed by a couple minutes. However, it didn’t take me long to find him and we were able to catch up for a few minutes. Unfortunately, though, that was all we had because my walkie talkie suddenly started barking my ear – someone was having an asthma attack at the finish line and I needed to head over there. So off I raced into the crowd, thinking I’d see Mike again in a few minutes. By the time I got there, my Grady folks had already taken care of things. So I stopped to chit chat with one of the bike medics to find out what happened and have her fix my walkie. As she was taping up my radio, I commented to her that it was probably the most first aid she’d have to deliver all morning, which, of course, jinxed us AGAIN.

As it turns out, while we were chatting, things were getting ready to go a little crazy on the safety and medical front. Over the course of the next 45 minutes, my medical team had to provide additional care for the person with the asthma attack, as well as a woman with a broken arm and FOUR people with severe dehydration. Apparently, since we had been expecting rain and overcast skies, folks weren’t prepared for what ended up being our warmest morning of the year to date and failed to hydrate properly before and during the race. Needless to say, I was QUITE busy during this period and didn’t take any pictures. You don’t really want to see pictures of people scared and in pain anyways.

Thankfully, my volunteer medics from Grady were true professionals and handled everything VERY smoothly. In the end, everything calmed down and, eventually, I was even able to help everyone else break down the race site post-event. I am also really glad that I ignored the repeated reassurances from the experienced members of the planning committee that “there’s never really any incidents, so Safety Chair is an easy gig” and made sure I had a solid emergency response plan in place BEFORE the race. We had more incidents in this one 5k than they’ve had in the previous three Atlanta Race for the Cure events combined.

Our race chairs, Jess and Liz, celebrating the end of a successful event!

From there, it was off to brunch with Mike, Julie, Niblette, and some of my #3DayTweeps friends and then home to a well-earned nap. It was a long day, but a very fun and fulfilling day!

Posing with some of my team at the end of the race. I really can’t say enough about how great they all were to work with! Thank you Grady EMS!!

So that pretty much wraps up my 2013 Komen Atlanta Race for the Cure experience. It was definitely challenging in new and different ways, but it was also fantastic to get to experience so many aspects of this year’s event. I am ABSOLUTELY planning to come back and take part in the Race Planning Committee again next year. Our new Executive Director has some big goals for us to grow and improve our event and I could not be more excited to help her make them a reality.

See you again in 2014, Atlanta!

PS – If you would like to see ALL of my pictures from the Race for the Cure, you can find them here.

Race Recap Flashback: Running for the ROC at the Publix Georgia Half Marathon!

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Publix Georgia Marathon and Half Marathon display at the Expo!

If you read my mid-year running recap, then you know that I’ve been doing a great job in my races thus far this year. However, I’ve done a terrible job about writing about my races here, even the big ones. So, I’ve declared this Race Recap Flashback week. This week, I’ll be recapping both the Komen Atlanta Race for the Cure and the Peachtree Road Race. But first up, my Run for the ROC at the Publix Georgia Half Marathon!

Throughout most of 2012, I had a little voice nagging at my brain and at my heart. It kept saying the same thing: “I want to run a half marathon. I KNOW I can run a half marathon. I need to run a half marathon.” As I got more involved with the Atlanta Track Club and the local running community, that voice got louder and more persistent. So, sometime in November, I decided to bite the bullet and register for the Publix Georgia Half Marathon, right here in Atlanta. This race course comes within blocks of my house. I’ve cheered for many friends over the years as they’ve conquered these miles. The race is almost always on my birthday weekend, which also happens to be St Patrick’s Day weekend. If any race was going to be my first half, it had to be this one.

So I was settled on the race. I also knew that I wanted to jump back into the fundraising game and raise some money for a breast cancer charity, something I’ve gotten away from more than I’d like over the last two years or so. After considering a few options, I ultimately decided to dedicate my efforts to a specific cause that was near and dear to my heart: the Give Hope a New Home capital campaign to build the new regional oncology center at Upstate Medical University (aka “The ROC”). For those who are new around here, the ROC is where my mom has gotten her breast cancer treatments since 2007. The team there has been fantastic and I was ecstatic to have this opportunity to support them in something this important. It took me a bit to figure out how I was going to run this fundraiser, but eventually, a great woman named Terry Shenfeld helped me set up a fundraising page on the campaign’s website and I was off and running (so to speak…)!

Pre-Race

I’m not going to go through all my training and fundraising leading up to the race. Suffice it to say, I ran a lot (including a course run two weeks before the race), and I pumped my fundraiser as much as I could, both through social media and fundraising emails. So let’s zip ahead to the weekend of the race…

The Saturday before the half was a big day for me – it was my birthday! I’m normally the type that wants to make a big deal out my birthday. However, with the half the next day, I opted to keep things quiet and running-focused. I spent the morning doing one of my favorite things – recruiting new members at the ATC booth at the race expo. It was really fun and motivating to talk to everyone about their race goals, especially knowing that unlike in previous years, I was part of this conversation. Once I was done with my shift, it was time to pick up my race packet and hit the rest of the expo. I’m always a bit “splurge-y” at expos, but this year, I was particularly indulgent; I mean, it WAS my birthday. All together, I left with some new socks, some new running tops, a race-themed t-shirt, Clif bloks for during the race… and lots more that I’m forgetting because it was months ago. It was a lot. I was feeling confident and very much like a “real runner”.

… And then I got home and I got NERVOUS. I wanted everything to go perfectly and I was suddenly worried about all of the details: would I make it to the start on time (because, hey, last year I mis-read our Peachtree wave start times and we got there late… )? Would I be too hot (what is this heat wave in March)? Would I be too cold (but wait, what are those pre-race temps doing in the upper 40s and low 50s)? Would I be able to find Mike along the course (because I had a problem with that at the Hot Chocolate 15k)? Serious pre-race jitters, I tell ya. I was also trying to make a shirt to wear during the race and the iron on transfer just would NOT work, which was really stressing me out (I ended up just printing the graphic below on paper and pinning it on). All in all, I was feeling super anxious about this whole thing. But here’s the great thing about running: the race starts whether you’re ready or not. And when it does, you either step over that starting line or you get left behind. And no matter how nervous I was, I was not getting left behind. So I headed to bed relatively early and did my best to sleep.

My shirt back (click to enlarge)

My shirt back for the race (click to enlarge)!

The Race!

I’m sure my alarm clock went off at some godawful hour of the morning and I’m even more sure that I was wide awake long before it started bleating in my ear. I quickly got dressed and had my usual pre-race breakfast (whole grain english muffin with peanut butter and jelly and a glass of Nuun). I pinned my race bib on the front of my shirt and my “Run4ROC” information on the back, wrangled Mike into the car, and we were off. Because we had such a hard time with parking before the Hot Chocolate 15k, we had planned for Mike to just drop me off near the starting area (Centennial Olympic Park) and then he headed out to his first planned spectating spot where he napped in the car until the race got to him. Out of my paranoia, I got to the starting line REALLY early. I wandered around the area, checking out the finish line chutes, taking pictures, and warming up a little bit. I even had someone mention to me, upon seeing my shirt, that they had family that had been treated at the ROC in Syracuse, something that was completely unexpected down here in Atlanta. I took it as a good sign for the race to come. A little more stretching, a quick snack on a Clif bar, and it was time to line up with my start wave.

Ready to go!

Going into this race, I had two time goals in mind: my “I won’t be disappointed if I at least finish in… ” time was to run sub-2:30 and my “I THINK I can actually finish in… ” time was to run sub-2:20. My plan for the race was to get in front of the 2:30 pace group early on and just focus on staying in front of them. Since this was my first half marathon, I figured trying to focus too much more on pace other than that was probably a recipe for disappointment. So when I got to my start wave, I positioned myself alongside the 2:30 pacers and was ready to go. After a short walk up to the starting line, we were finally off!

The first half of this half wound through downtown Atlanta, and then up through Old Fourth Ward, Little Five Points, and Inman Park, one of my favorite neighborhoods.  Those first few miles felt EASY and I was able to get in front of the 2:30 pace group right out of the gate, just as I had planned. In fact, I was running so easily that the first time I saw Mike, I commented to him that I was worried I had gone out way too fast. The temps were perfect, the hills were manageable, and the vibe was, honestly, somewhat peaceful. At one point, we were running towards the sunrise and was struck with the thought that while I had seen plenty of sunrises on St Patrick’s Day from celebrating my birthday over night, this was probably the first one I’d seen from this side of morning. It was a beautiful morning for a run, that’s for sure.

Cruising along mid-race!

The second time I passed Mike was just after the six mile marker, at which point I ate some Clif bloks. I tried Gu on one of my long training runs and HATED it, but the bloks I could work with. Luckily, I was ready to fuel right when I saw Mike because I couldn’t get the package open and needed him to help me. Lesson learned for next time – open the package pre-race! After that, we headed up into the Virginia Highlands and Midtown, the area of town where I live and do the majority of my training runs. Between the bloks and the mental boost of running on my “home turf” I was feeling GREAT as I headed into Piedmont Park. Even better, I knew that after I left the park, there were only four miles left. Four miles? I can do that!

Yeah, I only thought those four miles would be easy. It turns out, those four miles were pretty much all uphill. Or at least, that’s how it felt. Juniper Street, you are NOT my friend. However, I knew that I had been trucking along at a solid pace and hadn’t really walked at all outside of the water stops (which was big deal for me mentally). I definitely didn’t want to blow my strong first eight miles by wussing out on the last four, so I kept pushing even as my legs grew tired. I focused on the people who I had chosen to dedicate each of my miles to and let them carry me up those hills. I also starting searching for this family of three little girls that were giving out high fives every half mile or so. Each time I’d see them, they were lined in height order so that I could just run along and high five all of them. I must’ve been running near whoever they were supporting because not long after I passed them each time, they’d hop on their bikes with their dad and scoot up the course. I must’ve high fived these girls seven or eight times in those last four miles. It was a great distraction!

Before I really knew it, I found myself making the last turn onto Marietta Street and starting the last uphill climb towards the finish. My legs were exhausted by that point, but I knew I wanted to finish strong. Suddenly, I found myself behind a cop on a bike following someone pushing stroller – completely strange. Then I realized – this was the last “runner” from the 5K that had stepped off not long after the last start wave for the half! That was motivating – I really wanted to “lap” that last 5k-er. Just as I was passing the 5K caboose, I starting hearing sirens and the screaming at the finish line got noticeably louder – could this be for me? Yeah, definitely not. It was the FIRST finisher for the full marathon. As much as I wanted to pass that last 5k runner, I did NOT want to get passed by any of the full marathoners. So, I dug deep, gave it everything I had left and pushed across the finish line, approximately three strides ahead of the winner of the marathon. YES!

All in all, it was fantastic race. I ran well throughout, took in everything I could along the course, and really enjoyed myself. Even better, I KILLED my goal time. My final time was a 2:14.10 – almost six full minutes faster than my big goal. I was ECSTATIC and ready to celebrate!

My Results!

Fundraising Results

As excited as I was about my race results, I was even more thrilled with how well my fundraiser went for the ROC. When I kicked things off at the beginning of March, I set my goal for this fundraiser at $1000. I challenged my friends and family to donate in various amounts corresponding to mileage or my time goals and had hoped to reach my fundraising goal by the end of March, two weeks post-race. Well, everyone responded so generously that I didn’t even need that long. By the time I took my first steps in the half marathon, I had already raised $518 – and that was in just two weeks! Even better, within a week of my race, that amount had ballooned to $1218, well past my goal. At that point, with an eye towards my planned fundraisers for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and the American Cancer Society later in the year, I chose to stop actively promoting this fundraiser. However, even that didn’t stop my phenomenal support system from donating. As of April 15th (the last update I received from Upstate), I had raised $1513 for the ROC’s Give Hope a New Home capital campaign.

I can honestly say that I was blown away by everyone’s generosity. The ROC and their staff are near and dear to my family but I wasn’t sure how broadly this cause would resonate with others outside of the Upstate NY area. As it turns out, I had nothing to worry about. Many people expressed to me that they were thrilled to have the opportunity to repay Upstate for the great care they’ve given to my mom, to Marcia, and to many, many others. I have no idea how far $1500 will go towards the new cancer center. I know it’s small potatoes compared to the donations from people who get whole wings named after them. But friends, together, we got Upstate $1500 closer to making the new oncology center a reality, which is more than most people can say. I believe strongly in paying it forward, especially when it comes to charitable endeavors. By helping to make the new ROC a reality, we are helping to give others a better chance at a cancer-free future.

As part of my fundraising challenge, I said that anyone who donated more than $100 would be able to dedicate one of my miles during the race to anyone they chose. I also said that I would wear their honorees name on my shirt during the race. While I received ten donations of $100 or more as part of this fundraiser, I received the majority of them after the race. Since I couldn’t recognize those donors and their honorees during the race (as you can see on my shirt image, above), I definitely wanted to give them a shout-out here. So, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to my $100+ donors:

  • Nicole Anderson – One of my #3DayTweeps friends. Nicole asked me to dedicate mile 11 to her aunt, Marilyn Duncan.
  • Julie Brock – My #3DayTweeps bestie. Julie asked me to dedicate mile 4 to her grandfather, LTC Walter P. Schlagel, who passed away earlier this year. During that mile, as I was thinking of him, I noticed I was running near a man carrying an American flag. I lost him after that mile and didn’t see him again during the race. I took it as a sign from Julie’s grandfather to keep pushing forward.
  • Kathy and Mike Cincotta – My wonderful, supportive, endlessly generous in-laws.
  • Kate and Joel Jackson – Another of my #3DayTweeps friends and an Atlanta running buddy. She swears she’s going to get me to run a full marathon with her soon.
  • James Lee – A friend of mine from graduate school. James is getting married this fall!
  • Pam and Sean McCormick – My mom’s youngest sister and her husband. Sean has recently started running too!
  • David and Laura Ostheimer – David is a long time colleague of my mom and he and his wife have been some of Mom’s strongest supporters over the years!
  • Claudia Reeves – My aunt on my Mom’s side. Claudia made her donation in honor of her friends “The Big Ladies”.
  • JT Shoemaker – A graduate school friend who is one of our rocks here in Atlanta. JT made his donation in honor of his mother Janet, a breast cancer survivor who has been incredibly kind and supportive of me throughout Mom’s journey.
  • And finally, Dr. Jonathon Wright, my Mom’s and Marcia’s long time oncologist at the ROC. Dr. Wright also sent me a lovely email about how tough and inspiring my mom has been as a patient. He has given my mom phenomenal care over the years and I will keep that email always.

I also would be absolutely remiss if I didn’t acknowledge my other donors, all of whom helped me to far surpass my fundraising goals: Anne Marie DeSimone, Dom Gambardella, Marsha and Dean Griswold, Jeff Kostusiak, Dawn Mazzanti (who was my first donor!), Jim McKeever, Jennifer and Bill Rabbitt, Faren Shear, and Laura Scholz and her husband Tim Long. This group represents a hodge podge of friends and family from all the various corners of my life. I am strengthened and inspired to keep running for more because of all of you and the wonderful mash up that is my life.

Closing Thoughts

Ultimately, this race and this fundraiser were phenomenal successes for me and have given me huge motivation to keep going with this type of “charity racing”. I can’t wait to get out there again for the AllState 13.1 half marathon this October, when I will be running for the American Cancer Society!

Victory!

Note: If you would like to see all of my pictures from the Publix Georgia Half Marathon, please click here. Also, as far as I know, the link is still active on the ROC website if you would still like to make a donation to this worthy cause!

Running for Research with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation!

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Back in March, I ran for the ROC. Peachtree Road Race LogoThis July 4th, it’s time for my next big fundraising race of 2013 – I’ll be Running for Research at the Peachtree Road Race with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation!

For my second big fundraising race of the year, I am choosing to focus my efforts on raising money for breast cancer research. I chose BCRF for this fundraiser because while many breast organizations do great work and raise money for research, BCRF is one of the few to focus on funding research as their primary mission. In fact, this year, BCRF is funding $40 million dollars in breast cancer research, research that will change the future for all of us. As a scientist myself, I know the power of a dollar. Research is very expensive and sometimes the return on investment isn’t great. But when those breakthroughs happen, they are worth EVERY SINGLE PENNY. I firmly believe that the only thing that will end breast cancer as we know it is research. Research on prevention. Research on better diagnostics. Research on better, less devastating treatments. Research on survivorship. Research dollars will make all the difference.

So, let’s work together and raise some of those research dollars today! As I mentioned, I am doing this fundraiser in conjunction with my running of the Peachtree Road Race on the 4th of July, the world’s largest 10k. This will be my fourth year running this iconic Atlanta event, and my first time tying in a charitable component. Just as the race is huge (60,000 runners!), I want my fundraiser to be huge as well. That’s why I’m setting my goal for this race at $1000 by the end of July. Here are a few options for how you can help me get there:

  • Donate the amount of money needed to sponsor research for the time I’ll be running this race. Based on my training and previous races, I’m estimating it will take me about an hour to make my way from Buckhead to Piedmont Park. BCRF estimates that on average, one hour of research costs $50, so that’s a great starting point for a donation. If $50 isn’t right for you, you can sponsor 30 minutes for $25 (the minimum donation required through BCRF’s Time for Research program), two hours for $100, six hours for $300… you get the picture. This is an excellent way to give your donation a tangible value!
  • Donate per kilometer or per mile. The Peachtree is a 10k, which is the equivalent of 6.2 miles. You can donate $2.50 per km for a $25 donation, $5 per mile for a $31 donation, or hey – donate $62 and honor the distance both ways!
  • Donate to dedicate a mile. As with my previous fundraiser, if you donate $100 or more, you can dedicate one of my miles to anyone that you wish to honor. I will recognize them on my personal website (www.runningformore.com) as well as on my shirt on race morning (provided I have your info by July 1st). Because I am reserving the first mile for Marcia, my best friend’s mom, and the final mile for my mom, there are only four miles to claim, so if you want to do this, donate soon!

To support me in my Run4Research, please click on the link below to visit my personal fundraising page on BCRF’s Time for Research website and follow the instructions to make an online donation:

http://www.timeforresearch.org/run4research

It’s really as easy as that! 100% of the funds donated through Time for Research go to the BCRF, who currently spend 91 cents of every dollar on breast cancer research and awareness programs. All donations are tax deductible. Please be aware that Time for Research does not accept mailed in donations at this time.

Please donate whatever amount is right for you. Every donation is step towards an end to breast cancer forever. I know many of you donated to my Run4ROC in March, and I will be asking for donations again this fall when I run the Allstate 13.1 half marathon to benefit the American Cancer Society. I’m asking a lot of all of you this year, just as I’m asking a lot of myself as I sweat it out in the hot Atlanta sun training for each of these races. I appreciate every cent that we are able to raise together for this important cause and for this great organization that often gets overshadowed by some of the better known breast cancer groups.

As I noted with my Run4ROC fundraiser, this fundraiser is different than the fundraisers I’ve done in the past. While I am using the BCRF’s Time for Research structure to host this fundraiser, there are no fundraising minimums required for my race entry and I’m not trying to earn any awards or prizes. I simply want to raise some money for the most powerful weapon we have against breast cancer – RESEARCH. I have seen this power firsthand, both with my own work during my lab days and now with my mom – the chemo drug that she is currently on was only approved by the FDA this spring. Through research, we are literally building the path forward for those living with metastatic breast cancer as they are walking down it. I don’t want anyone to ever come to the end of that road because we didn’t fund critical research when we could have. No one should ever have to hear “I’m sorry, there are no more treatments for you” and yet, for too many women, that is still a reality. The ability to change that is in our hands right now.

Clicking on the image will take you to my fundraising page too!

Thank you for your continued support of me and my fundraising efforts – together, we will end breast cancer forever!

Running For More on National Running Day!

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Me and my best girl enjoying our morning run today!

Me and my best girl enjoying our morning run today!

Happy National Running Day!

Celebrated on the first Wednesday of June every year, National Running Day is a day for runners everywhere to stand up and yell “I’m a Runner!” and tocelebrate the inherent craziness that goes along with that. There are group runs in cities across the country, race discounts to be found everywhere, and for many running and fitness bloggers, lots and lots of giveaways. Last year, I celebrated by going for a short run and then blogging a little bit about why I’ve come to love running so much. This year, I’ve got something bigger up my sleeve. This year, I’m unveiling my new blog name!

As of today, my new blog name is:

Running For More

So, why the new blog name? Well, Kristen Walks just didn’t feel right anymore. I picked that name back when my main breast cancer advocacy work was centered around the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure. I walked the the 3-Day three times between 2007 and 2010 and I’ve been a fairly visible member of that community ever since. However, in 2009, I got it in my head that I was going to try to run the Komen Atlanta Race for the Cure (with no idea how to train, it didn’t go well). Then in 2010, I decided I wasn’t just going to run the Race for the Cure again (with a training plan and everything!), I was going to Couch to 10K it all the way to my first Peachtree Road Race 10k. In 2011, staring at months of sitting on my butt writing my doctoral dissertation, I decided to be proactive and signed up for the Atlanta Track Club’s Women on the Move 5K training group. And the Women’s 5K race. And Race for the Cure. And Warrior Dash, because mud is fun. And the ATC’s Peachtree training group. And the Peachtree itself. So clearly, this running thing was becoming much more of “a thing”. That led to last year when I ran 18 different races, many of them with a charity component. I was officially a (self-declared) #RunningBadass.

Predictably, after I started my job late last year, I didn’t have as much time to blog. And when I did have time to blog, I found myself mostly wanting to write about running. Not about running in terms of “how to be a runner” or anything like that. There are plenty of bloggers that are much more knowledgeable about that sort of thing. I wanted to write about my training and my races, even when they didn’t have anything to do with my cancer advocacy. I felt that way even more strongly once I decided to try to do my own fundraising for my three big races this year, without the structure of an organization like Komen to guide me. Running is what I’m doing now and running is the major form that my advocacy is taking. In addition, with my position at the CDC, I have to be very careful about the public health and science information I post in public forums like this lest it be perceived as representing the CDC’s position on, well, anything. (To be clear: All the opinions and factual interpretations here on the blog are mine and are based on my professional perspective only. They are not necessarily representative of the CDC’s position on anything.) I also now have restrictions on my ability to persuade people to lobby the government, also on pretty much anything. So beyond the fact that I just plain don’t have time to research the types of posts I was starting to write last fall (like these), out of an abundance of caution, I decided to move away from any kind of post that could be potentially problematic. So that leaves me with writing about my running. Which meant that Kristen Walks as a blog name had to go.

So, how did I land on Running For More? I know this is going to come as a surprise, but it came to me on a run. I was running intervals on the track at Piedmont Park, to be specific, on a hot, dusty night. I had recently added new songs to my running playlist, and one of them was Melissa Etheridge’s song “Running for Life”. On her website, Melissa writes that:

Ford asked me to write a song for their “Race for the Cure” initiative to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer charities. I wanted to write a song that was personal; climb into people’s emotions and portray a woman who has had breast cancer but is out of it. The first verse is about a survivor. The second verse is from my own experience and the last verse is for those who have not been diagnosed or don’t know anyone with breast cancer yet. We are all running for answers and to make the situation better.

I’ve probably heard this song hundreds of times. I find it incredibly inspiring and always have. I also relate to many of the lyrics:

I run for hope
I run to feel
I run for the truth
For all that is real
I run for your mother your sister your wife
I run for you and me my friend I run for life

Those are all reasons why I run, which was what struck me during this particular run. So as I made my way around the track (probably not as focused on my pace as I should have been during speedwork), I started to think about whether any of those lyrics could work as a blog title. And none of them felt quite right. They didn’t quite encompass enough. They are all reasons I run but none of them are THE reason that I run. And then I got to the last lines of the song:

We will be running as we have before
Running for answers
Running for more

BINGO. Running for more. It was perfect. So I raced my butt home (ok, I had just done intervals – it was probably more of a trudge) and did a quick Google search. Miraculously, I didn’t find a single other blog using the name (if there is one, I apologize!). Even more astonishing, the URL www.RunningForMore.com was available. It was fate. And a short ten minutes later, it was mine.

So, what does Running For More mean? (I’m into the rhetorical question thing today!) To me, it truly encompasses all of the the things that I’m running to have more of in my life:

  • More AWARENESS of the need for more breast cancer research funding. And cancer funding in general. All biomedical research, really.
  • More EDUCATION on the risk factors for breast cancer, things you can do to protect your health, and the early signs and symptoms that something might be wrong.
  • More FUNDING for research, educational outreach, patient support, political action, and so many other aspects of the fight against breast cancer.
  • More HEALTH for myself so that breast cancer and other chronic diseases don’t steal years from my life like they have from my loved ones.
  • More EXPERIENCES through participating in great events, running in fun races, and volunteering for wonderful organizations.
  • More FRIENDS like those I have met through my advocacy and running.
  • More FUN!
  • And most importantly, more TIME. Time with my mom, time for other moms, time for everyone. Cancer has shortened too many lives. I’m O-V-E-R it. Through running and all those things I listed above, I’m running to give everyone, including myself, more time.

So those are the topics you can expect me to (try to find the time to) write about on here in the coming weeks and months. A lot more running, but still holding on to the best stuff from before. I’m excited about this. I hope you are too!

 2013 National Running Day Image

PS – Hey, graphic designer friends! I would love a new logo for that upper left hand corner, as well as possibly a new banner pic for the splash page. Anyone want to help me out?