Archive for November, 2011
I want to tell you about a wonderful man in my running community. John Schick is one of those runners who has always taken me seriously, even as he qualifies for Boston and I bring up the rear. He was one of the first men to read my book and quick to tell me he loved it. Everyone who knows John appreciates his smile, sincerity, kindness, and enthusiasm for friendly competition. And those who know him (and those who take my word for what a lovely human being he is) have the chance to support him as he raises funds for a cause that means a lot to him. Even if you don’t know John and don’t take my word for how much he deserves our support, consider the cause!
John is raising funds for the Dana-Farber Institue which conducts cancer research. Here’s his story:
“April 25th was a day when time stood still for me. That’s the day my dad, John H. Schick, called to tell me, ‘Son, I’ve got the T-cell lymphoma.’ I’ll always picture the light shining through the trees, as I sank down in the chair and tried to make sense of what I’d just heard from this man who had been so healthy and robust for his first 80 years.
“Only one week earlier I had run my first Boston Marathon and my dad had been my biggest fan. How could this be happening? During the race I had noticed a lot of runners who were running to raise money for charity. I also noticed the extra level of respect they earned from the 500,000 spectators who lined the course. I remember thinking someday Boston would be great to run for a bigger cause than just me. Little did I know that one week later I would have my cause.”
John researched organizations looking for just the right fit. Here’s why he chose Dana-Farber:
“The Farber Institute has been on the leading edge of cancer research since Sidney Farber first invented the use of chemotherapy in the 1940’s. One of the more compelling reasons for choosing the Dana-Farbe rInstitute is because 100% of all funds raised go directly to cancer research.”
So what is John doing and how can you help? Here it is in his own words:
“On April 17, 2012, I will be running the 116th Boston Marathon in honor of my dad who is courageously battling an aggressive and rare form of T-cell lymphoma. This will be my 10th marathon; in addition, I’ve run 6 ultra-marathons and last year completed an Ironman Triathlon. Training and running
this marathon will be the easy part of my journey. Asking people for money to support this cause is a huge jump out of my comfort zone. Of course, dealing with chemotherapy treatments is beyond anyone’s comfort zone. Watching my dad battle this ruthless disease makes raising money and running 26.2 miles seem tame by comparison. Also knowing that cancer will affect 1 out of every 2 men and 1 out of every 3 women in the United States in our lifetime really makes this about more than just my dad; but he is my personal connection. I have set an ambitious goal of raising $8,700 by April 2012. I, along with 549 other runners, am working to raise $4.8 million to support the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research which is a department of the Dana-Farber Institute. Money raised will help leading edge scientists solve the cancer riddle.”
If you care about this issue and want to help John in the fight against cancer, go to his fundraising page (http://www.rundfmc.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=484862&supid=338423199) and donate!
Also, follow along on John’s Blog as he trains and raises funds. You won’t be sorry to get to know him.
I’ve been watching the news about the Penn State debacle closely. For years, as a therapist, I’ve worked with adult victims of childhood sexual abuse. I’ve sat with them, men and women, as they have grappled with why this happened to them. In some cases, the abuse devastated their lives. Others were/are more resilient and have found a way to prevent the abuse from defining them.
I’m so profoundly saddened about one thing in particular: One boy could have been saved. The act was witnessed and allowed to continue, and I can’t understand it. Admittedly, I was never a high school or college athlete, so perhaps I simply cannot grasp how anything can rise above the duty to protect a child from a life-defining trauma, but should anyone be able to understand this? I asked my friend Carol Frazey, a former Penn State athlete, herself, what she was feeling in the wake of the scandal coming to light. Here’s how she’s attempting to making sense of it all:
“The past 2 weeks have been emotional, sad, and disturbing for me. As a former Penn State cross country and track runner, I feel a family connection to the university and the athletic department. Penn State is the place where I grew up and was guided by a fun, loving, and knowledgeable coach and teammates.
“As for the sexual abuse scandal, I think it’s good to know that it’s possible to spend our life building up our reputation and helping others reach their full potential. But, if even once, we don’t protect the weak, the vulnerable, and the young when we have the opportunity or obligation to do so, this one misguided step will be our legacy. I think something good has to come of this somehow. Maybe more people will do more to stop abuse. Maybe people will be more willing to stop inappropriate things they see. Maybe more children will find their voice and speak up if someone is abusing them. All I can do is hope that these victims can heal and that the world will be a better place because they have shared their story.”
I also received an email from Marilyn, a reader of my book and a runner getting ready for a marathon in 2012. She told me I could share her grief with others:
“I’m sure you heard, my Alma mater, Penn State, is grappling with some serious tragedies. Other than the alleged pedophile, I know all of the people involved, and I’ve had a really tough time processing the whole thing. I spent a lot of time last week licking my wounds. Tuesday evening I went out for a run at five o’clock. I ran as fast as I could so the only thing I could really feel was the pain of exertion. When I slowed down, I would start to tear up. There was comfort in being out there with other runners, who were just doing their thing. Seeing people engage in something as simple as running somehow proved the world wasn’t coming to an imminent end. I just couldn’t get myself to move the rest of the week.”
If someone, like Marilyn, is paralyzed and overwhelmed with what has happened, imagine the damage to the victims. As a woman who has found my soul and renewed my life through an athletic activity I came to later in life, I’m grieved at the thought of the victims in this situation shying away from their sport because someone bigger and more powerful than they decided to gratify his own fleshly greed with their innocence. Like Carol and Marilyn, I hope they heal. I also hope that Penn State Alumni will hold onto their good memories and remember that there are more good people in the world than bad, even when it seems they’re hard to find.
I have just been given the honor of the Versatile Blogger Award! This award came to me compliments of Kari Ann (Runner Woman), who received her award compliments of Terzah (BQby40), whose blog I just discovered when I also discovered that Kari Ann had awarded me the Versatile Blogger Award! What fun.
The way this award works, as I understand it, is that one graciously receives it by (a) thanking the blogger who awarded it, (b) revealing seven little-known things about oneself, and (c) awarding one’s 15 favorite blogs with the award, thus bequeathing the honor forward. A writer friend of mine describes this as a blogger Ponzi scheme, but I kinda like it!
So here goes:
A) A huge thanks to Kari Ann! I “met” Kari Ann when she wrote to me that she’d read my book and liked it. I followed up by checking out her blog and discovered that she’s a funny, insightful writer in addition to being a runner and a PhD student. I like strong women; they inspire me. Hugs, Kari Ann. You’re awesome.
B) Seven things about me even my friends may not know are…
- I recently colored my hair with a drugstore box color and it turned an unnatural red that makes me feel sad when I look in the mirror.
- I’m a vegetarian. Well, I’m a pescatarian who sometimes eats poultry, although I’m trying to wean myself off of it.
- The Dave Matthews Band is my favorite music, but they’re no good to run to, so I mostly have disco on my iPod.
- My favorite red wine is Hyatt 2005 Merlot (which I can only find at the state liquor stores which Washington voters recently decided to put out of business by privatizing alcohol sales).
- I had a triple major in my undergrad program at Western Washington University: English/Theater/Secondary Education.
- I’m unlikely to qualify for the Women’s Olympic Marathon trials this year because premenopause is slowing my usually competitive pace (ahem, cough cough).
- I just signed my second book contract to co-edit an anthology with my pal, Susan Tive (tentative title is Submitted: Women Finding and Leaving Extreme Religion).
C) In the past, I’ve frequently mentioned blogger friends Tele of Hooked, Carol of Fit School and Brandon of NobachingDown, so it goes without saying that they are among my 15 faves. In addition, I’d like mention the following:
- The Fifi Organization by Jason Toews. Jason is a longtime friend of mine (we think we met in the third grade). His is truly a versatile blog! He writes about film, music, religion, and politics. He also takes photographs of abandoned mental institutions and other abandoned buildings. His writing is pithy, smart and funny. Check him out.
- Emily of Emily a la blog is one of my favorite people. She is also a writer/runner/reader with a lot of heart. In the past few years, I’ve followed along as Emily and her family have processed her mother’s experience with an early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. With heartbreaking beauty and depth, Emily makes space in her world for the messiness of life and inspires me to do the same.
- Another Mother Runner is a pro-woman, pro-runner blog with oodles of information and encouragement.
- Lynn’s Weigh. If you want to be encouraged, check Lynn out. She’s lost over 160 pounds and tells you how she maintains it.
- Feministing.com is already famous, of course. But if you don’t know about this outspoken blog chock full of hot topics and hard core opinions, you should!
- Belben’s Book Blog is written by my favorite librarian. She’s quick-witted and insightful. She doesn’t post as often as I’d like, but perhaps if she thinks everyone is hanging on her every recommendation, that may be remedied.
- Wendy Welch in Big Stone Gap. Speaking of books, this author will publish her first book in Fall, 2012. How do I know? Because she’s my friend. But she’s also a used bookstore owner, a college professor, and a writer with a laugh-out-loud narrative voice. Follow her now so that when her book hits the the bestseller list, you can say you knew her when…
- Brooke Warner of Warner Coaching puts out a monthly newsletter for writers. If you’re a blogger yourself, or a writer of any kind, you would be well advised to follow Brooke and take her advice!
- Chronicles of Me and Mine. Aleta is a regular person with a regular life, but she’s fun to read and has plenty of tips for the rest of us regular folks trying to enjoy our regular lives. I like her.
- Hope Clark is a writer who posts resources for other writers. I read her blog because she encourages me, and I find what I need to make my writing life just a little easier.
- Sandra Beckwith’s buildbookbuz.com is another one of my favorite writer’s blogs. I follow faithfully because Sandra is teaching me how to market what I write. Like a lot of people, I love to write and I love what I write about, but I need a little support in figuring out how to reach people who will love it as much as I.
- PeaceNick chronicles Nick and Becky’s kayaking tour through Chile. It’s gorgeous and fascinating.
So thanks again for the Versatile Blogger Award, Kari. I hope I’ve followed the rules. Through blogging we have the opportunity to create community among writers far and wide. I’m grateful to be a part of the greater blogosphere. Cheers.
If there was one really great thing my parents did for me as a kid, it was to make sure I grew up in a neighborhood. When I was five, we moved into a house on a suburban street with a cul-de-sac, and we stayed there for the rest of my childhood. Some neighbors came and went, but most were life-ers. This gave me a sense of “place” I’ve never really been able to replicate—until very recently.
In my early adult years, I bounced around from house to house and job to job, trying to figure out where I belonged and what I should be doing with myself. Then about six years ago, right around this fall/winter season, I moved back up to Bellingham and onto a little street with a cul-de-sac. Some neighbors come and go, but many are long-termers. My running partner, Julie, lives a few doors down, and my next door neighbors are a pair of fun, smart, beautiful sisters who will be running a half marathon with me in January.
Today I went out for a short run with Fuji, the BT. From behind me I heard someone say, “It’s Cami.” I turned around to see Carol and Sharon. They slowed to my pace and we chatted for a few minutes before they ran on ahead and left me to my own thoughts. And here’s what I’m thinking: I’m grateful today for a community of people who know me by name. It’s easy to be anonymous, and sometimes it’s even advantageous, but most days it’s nice to live on a little street with a cul-de-sac and to run on trails where you might see friends. Thanks to everyone, near and far, who is part of my community. I really value you.