I have struggled to make meaning of the events of the past year. At this time last year I was training for my first Ironman race which was to be Ironman Florida on November 2, 2013. Training was going so well that when the inaugural Ironman in Chattanooga was announced for 2014, I decided to sign up for my second before completing my first. I was lucky to get in as it sold out within minutes. I had no idea that the following 30 days would change my life in ways I could never imagine.
On September 18, 2013, at an appointment with the orthopedic doc to discuss some knee pain I had been experiencing while running, a startling discovery was made–there was a tumor in my knee. More specifically, the tumor was in my distal femur which is the bottom part of the large upper leg or thigh bone. The next 10 days were a whirlwind of tests and doctors appointments and second opinions in which it was determined that the tumor was isolated to that area and was most likely a giant cell tumor of the bone. By October 7, I was in surgery at Emory Midtown Hospital in Atlanta getting the baseball sized tumor removed and the subsequent cavity cleaned out and packed with bone graft.
Of course I scoured the internet looking for information, research, anything that might help me understand what was going on in my leg and what I would face in my recovery. There was very little information. One thing I did find said that the treatment of giant cell tumors had not changed in the last couple of decades due to a lack of research. Well, I have a chance to change that and so do you.
Emory and the very doctors that performed my surgery and who I continue to see regularly are participating in a multi-institutional study investigating a drug typically used to treat osteoporosis in the treatment of giant cell tumors. I have decided to partner with them and help raise money to fund the study. Throughout my recovery and my Ironman training this past year I have been using the phrase “take that tumor” to motivate me, but the opportunity to be a part of this study gives new meaning to it–I now have the ability to help people for years to come to give it to their tumor, too!
So what does all this have to do with you? For one, your support has meant the world to me throughout the past year. It hasn’t been an easy year for sure, but knowing you have a bunch of people pulling for you, praying for you, standing by your side helps more than words can adequately express. We now have the opportunity to spread that support to others dealing with giant cell tumors now and long into the future. I am looking for people/business/groups to pledge to sponsor one of the 140 miles I will be covering on race day with a minimum donation of $25 to Emory School of Medicine (details on how to give will be forthcoming). You can even pick the mile you want to sponsor, and I will carry the names of all who give with me on race day over all 140 miles. In addition, for a donation of $250 or greater, I will put your name or business logo on the clothing/uniform/tri kit I will be wearing in the race.
Please join me in being one of the 140 and say loud and clear TAKE THAT TUMOR!
By the way, Mile 13 has already been claimed. Updates will be posted on the Take That Tumor page on the website in addition to making it into a future blog post, as I am sure you would expect 🙂