The PCRF Race Weekend Has Arrived!

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It’s here!  It’s here!  The PCRF race weekend has finally arrived!

That is our team banner above. One of my team members, Calee, from eXist Designs was generous enough to donate it to our team.   I think it turned out so cute and even though this picture is not the greatest, I love how the sun reflected and made stars on the top left, because that is how I feel… Team Tiny Oranges is going to sparkle & shine this Sunday!

On October 17th I was running a race and thought, “wouldn’t it be fun to put together a team for the PCRF Run/Walk in May?”   In the beginning when I was considering starting a team I pondered whether I could even get the 10 people I needed to be considered a “team.”

Well, today we are 111 team members strong, and, have raised over $23,200 dollars for pediatric cancer research. I still am in a little state of disbelief at what our team has accomplished.  Eighty cents on every dollar raised for PCRF goes towards research so I can’t tell you how happy it makes me knowing the dollars we raised truly will make a difference.

The past six months of planning this event have been a journey for me; one I don’t think I was fully prepared for going into it.  At times it has been exhausting and a little emotional.  Correction, really emotional. It has also been one of the greatest learning experiences of my life. I have learned a lot about myself and a lot about the goodness in others.  This experience has been one that I will never forget.  And the event hasn’t even happened yet.  But it’s because of the people I have met along the way.

I have met moms like Kim, whose son Gavin, is close in age to my oldest daughter. Gavin and his family spent a year in and out of the hospital because when Gavin was 4, he was diagnosed with leukemia.

Kim wrote about her journey in her new book, “Hope Room.” She was kind enough to send me a copy. I can only read a few chapters at a time, because we might try to imagine what it would be like to walk through a cancer diagnosis of a child, but we have no idea.  The courage it took to write her story is completely inspiring and she did it with such grace and honesty.

I can’t more highly recommend this book as it will give your life a new perspective. It taught me that even my most crappy “normal” day is pretty darn good.  It also just makes want to, like my team member Kristin Bush said so eloquently in her blog, scream “F-Cancer!”   NO FAMILY should have to endure this pain.

Team Gavin will be out in full force on Sunday. Last year was their first year participating. It was 4 months into his diagnosis and treatment and he was not able to attend. This year he will be there leading his team.  And I will be very inspired, and very emotional.

During this journey we also walked through the painful story of my team member Sarah’s beautiful 5-year-old relative, Maddie James, who was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in January and within two short months was tragically gone.

I think we all took Maddie’s story into our hearts as if she was one of our own. And felt the pain like she was one of our own.

As I sat there during the memorial service that windy, stormy March Sunday, the grief washed over me like the falling rain. It was so unfair. I was furious.

These are two stories out of more than anyone would care to imagine of the beautiful children affected by pediatric cancer.

As we walk and run on Sunday, we will remember Maddie and the other children whose lives have been stolen by cancer. They will remind us of  how much work still needs to be done and how much money needs to be raised to find a cure.   We will let their lives and memory shine on us and remind us why this fight is SO IMPORTANT.

And, as we walk and run on Sunday, we will think of Gavin’s story, and all the kids who are fighting cancer and winning, and celebrate their stories of survival.  We will let their stories shine on us and give us HOPE for the future.

Personally, I will be running my 3rd half marathon on Sunday.  I am so nervous. Total butterflies.

I am ready, but training for this race has not been easy.  I fought a stomach flu in March that took me out of training for a week, then a bad 14 day cold early this month, not to mention a hip injury that persisted for a few weeks. There honestly were times that I was feeling like I just couldn’t do it anymore.

But every time I felt that way, I remembered our team slogan, “you are strong,” and whether it is fighting through a difficult training period, illness, a difficult time in life, or whatever the current hurdle is, what I have learned the most from running is that we possess an inner strength that we don’t even know we had.

Running Divas did a super cute orange tank for our team that some of the gals will be wearing.  It says “you are strong” on the front.  Just those three words in a simple font.

When I wore it for my last 2 training runs I could almost feel the strength those words were feeding me. I felt so fired up about this race and this cause that I started giving people a corny “thumbs up” sign and smile when running past them, as if to say to them, “you are strong!!!”

Some people probably thought I was a big dork and others probably wondered if this poor mommy was a little off her rocker, but regardless, every time I did it, people got a huge smile on their face.  And I loved it.

So on Sunday as I fight through those 13.1 miles, I will be giving more “thumbs up” signs to remind everyone out there that “you are strong!”   And I will give the biggest THUMBS UP to the kids and families fighting cancer.  I will run in honor of their strength.

I will also be running with an enormous amount of pride because quite simply MY TEAM ROCKS!

Every time I think about the people who have joined my team and the people who have supported our team with donations, well, my heart just feels like exploding.   It’s pretty incredible, the goodness in others.  I feel so blessed I got to experience this goodness firsthand.

I will give the full update on the event next week when I come up for air and recover!

Thanks for following me through this journey, for re-tweeting my tweets, for listening about the fundraisers, for attending the fundraisers and for just being the most awesome good-hearted people in general. Your support means more to me that you will ever know.

And I can’t sign off without one FINAL fundraising request, because, we want to make the biggest impact we can. So,  if you are moved to help find a cure for pediatric cancer and play a part in our success on Sunday, please click HERE to make a tax-deductible donation of any amount to my fundraising page.   Your dollars, ANY amount, will make a difference.

Wish me luck on Sunday!

XOXO
Jen

19 Comments

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19
  1. 1
    Michele says:

    Go team! And big thanks to Jen for all your energizing and organizing. It takes a special person to take all that on – and you are a pretty special person to me. So, in case I don’t get a chance to say it Sunday, THANK YOU!

    • 2
      Jen says:

      I think every single person on our team or that supported our team are the special ones, but thank you for your kind words!! I am so happy you are on our team! Can’t wait to see you Sunday!

  2. 3

    I read your blog and I cried! I remember when my daughter & I first met you at the captains meeting and now I see how much you have accomplished! I am SO excited about Sunday!! Can’t wait to see you there!

    • 4
      Jen says:

      Thanks Michelle! I can’t wait to see you on Sunday! Going to be an amazing day!

  3. 5
    Sharon says:

    Thank you Jen!! I am so excited to be apart of this team! And to meet you all on Sunday! We are all strong xoxo

    • 6
      Jen says:

      Sharon, I am SO excited for you to do your first half!!! Please, please come to our team booth afterwards so I can give you a big sweaty hug! HA!

      • 7
        Destiny says:

        It was dark when I woke. This is a ray of snuhsine.

    • 8
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  4. 10
    Gail Kudo says:

    Thank you Jennifer for all your hard work! As a mom whose daughter is a childhood cancer survivor, I was inspired reading my daughter’s (Kristin Enrico)testimony on your blog about her journey and how more needs to be done to find a cure for pediatric cancer. In fact, there was a grassroots effort through facebook to get Oprah Winfrey to host a show on this huge issue of how little money goes to support pediatric research. It does not appear the Oprah show will happen before she exits but it is through efforts like this walk that we all can get involved and support such an important cause. Thank you again Jennifer and I look forward to seeing you on Sunday!

    • 11
      Jen says:

      Gail – amazing to think it was Kristin’s testimony that started this entire project!!! I am so excited to see you on Sunday and celebrate her as a pediatric cancer proud survivor! xoxoxo

  5. 12
    Stefan says:

    Great job Jen, I am very proud of you and all the great work Team Tiny Oranges has done!

  6. 13
    Megan says:

    Jen you are amazing! Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your many hours of service that will benifit such an amazing organization and amazing kids! Go Team Tiny Oranges!!!! I will run proud wearing my “You are Strong” Tank. Love you girl and again THANK YOU!

    • 14
      Jen says:

      Megan, I am sooooo happy you are on our team! Thanks for all the encouragement! Can’t wait to see you Sunday! xo

  7. 15
    Holly says:

    Wow, Jen…yet another of your posts has me in tears. SO beautiful…you have an amazing talent. I think you are so inspiring and I am SO incredibly proud to be a member of your team. And you are right, Sunday is going to be a very emotional day. I will be thinking of all the kids fighting this disease, but especially of little Maddie. I will run my heart out for her. See you Sunday!!!

  8. 16
    melanie says:

    Jen- I am so proud of you! You have done an amazing job supporting this team! I wore my tshirt to the gym and got a compliment from the instructor!!! 🙂 Cant wait to see everyone on Sunday!

    • 17
      Hawk says:

      Thanks for sharing. What a pelausre to read!

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