Don’t Stop Believing, Hold On To That Feeling

Last Friday I logged onto Facebook and saw post after post regarding the Color Run that took place that morning in Portland. Two things came to mind: 1) My friends really like paint; and 2) I have a lot of friends that run. All this talk about 5Ks and marathons made me think about my first (and currently only) half-marathon. I was a part of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training Program. It was one of the most difficult yet rewarding experience I’ve had so far in my life. Throughout my training, I wrote updates and posted it on my Facebook page as Notes (remember those?). After going back and re-reading some of my updates, I wanted to share my final post with you as a way to inspire…to fan the flame inside to you to do something that you’ve always wanted to do, but never thought it was possible. So here it is:

Don’t Stop Believing, Hold On To That Feeling
June 3, 2009

FOX really outdid themselves last month by positioning their new show Glee right after the season finale of American Idol. I guess they have high hopes for Glee, and I have to agree. Yeah, that’s right…I watched it! A mixture of Ally McBeal and High School Musical…I think. What I’m trying to get to is that song at the end of the hour, “Don’t Stop Believing,” a rock ballad that originally debuted in 1981 by the rock band Journey. The lyrics goes “Don’t stop believing, hold on to that feeling.” I would sing that for you now to get that “wow-factor” but obviously I’m stuck typing about it. Anyways, I’ll come back to this later…

This final posting is in regards to my Journey (haha, get it), over the past couple of months. What started out as a simple surfing around on Facebook, turned into an experience, and possibly life-changing event, of a lifetime. Here’s a brief summary of my adventures: 

– Learned about The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training Program on 
Facebook last February
– Messaged person that created that group for more information
– Decided to join
– Went to my first Team in Training run near OMSI wearing khakis and a polo
– Decided to commit
– Ran with the team for first time
– Survived 4 miles!
– Soreness, aches and pains, cramps and more
– Started fundraising
– First YouTube video
– More running
– Met a lot of great people with amazing stories
– Bought a hat (glad I did because it rained on race day)
– Continued to ask people for money
– Carb load for weeks
– Inspired
– Where da money at?
– Getting pumped!
– Eugene, Haywood Field, rain, 13.1 miles, tired muscles, dehydration, chips 
– 2 hours, 40 minutes, 17 seconds

So what came out of this? 

Eh, what the hell was I thinking? I nearly fainted!!! If they would have served orange Gatorade, I would have drunk more. (*Sarcastically* But noooooo, we don’t serve orange Gatorade because orange here in Eugene is recognized as Beaver colors. And we wouldn’t want that!) Haha, yeah just kidding. GO Ducks! 

I ran track and cross country in high school. I didn’t suck, but I wasn’t Steve Prefontaine material either. I didn’t expect myself to beat records out there, just to finish and hopefully finish under 114 minutes. Boy, that didn’t happen. A bit disappointed yes, but I’m glad I finished. 

What led up to me crossing the finish line was quite a journey. Early morning runs and numerous treadmill runs were the norm. I found myself sometimes not wanting to get up. Yep, there were times I didn’t get up. However, many times I thought about the reason why I joined Team in Training. I couldn’t let my laziness stop me from my goal. That helped me wake up and prepare for the morning run. There were many levels of runners on the team but we all had similar goals of finishing and representing and advocating for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I believe we all achieved that goal.

Together we raised $2,101! More than my original goal of $2,000! As a team, 31 Oregon & SW Washington participants raised a total of $66,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society! We walked over 577 miles that day; each mile worth $114 in the fight against blood cancer. That’s amazing. YOU helped make that happen! And I personally want to thank everyone ― friends, family, co-workers, friends of friends, strangers ― for helping me reach my fundraising goal. Already, your contributions are improving the quality of life for patients and their families. One day soon, when it is announced that a cure for blood cancer has been found, I want you to feel proud and uplifting knowing that you helped make it happen. I’m amazed at the generosity of people that I know. I realized that not everyone reading this may have donated. But I know you would if you could. I knew coming into this that raising money would be difficult during these tough economic times. And I am appreciative of the support, both monetary and personal support that was given to me. Thanks! 

Final Reflections
I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have been a part of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training. The cohesion and support of all the coaches, mentors, staff, volunteers, teammates, friends, family, everyone, has been amazing! I thought about Shirley even more during this whole experience. I wonder what life would be like for me, my family, friends, if she was still around. Would I have joined this quest to find a cure for blood cancer? I can’t say that I would of. When something drastic happens to you, everything changes. I’ve changed, my family’s life changed, everyone that knew Shirley life changed in one way or another. What remains the same are the memories that we have of her. Those will last a lifetime.

“Don’t stop believing, hold on to that feeling.” I won’t stop believing that one day, someone out there ― mother, father, sister, brother, family, friends, etc. ― will know that a cure is available for their loved one diagnosed with blood cancer. I always wonder what lead people to become involved and/or donate for a cause. I think I now know…Love. Hold on to that feeling.

2 Responses to “Don’t Stop Believing, Hold On To That Feeling”
  1. Impressive – I use running as an excuse to blog/talk about myself even more than usual, so I find it extremely honorable that you used running as a way to rasie money for a good cause. Any more running events in your future?

    • Anthony Tham says:

      Thanks Colleen! Perhaps…thinking about a half marathon with a couple Willamette peers sometime in the spring.

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