Kathryn's RMHC Chicago Marathon Fundraising Page
On October 8th, I will be representing Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon! As a member of Team RMHC, I will be training, fundraising and ultimately running 26.2 miles to help keep families close.
Since 1974, RMHC has been making children happier and healthier by keeping families together – giving them a place to rest and refresh. A place that feels like home.
You too can join RMHC's network of HOPE, STRENGTH and SUPPORT, by supporting my efforts to raise $1000 - $25 can provide dinner for a family, $80 can give a family a room for a night. Your donation, of any amount, will not only help me achieve my goal, but will help children stay close to their families when they need it most!
On October 8th, I'll be running the streets of Chicago in memory of my friend, Tammy Jackson. Tammy and I first met in seventh grade. We were on the same academic team at Chiddix Junior High School, had most of our classes together that year, and quickly became friends. In the summer of 2000, the summer before we started high school, Tammy was diagnosed with Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma, which is a rare form of cancer that attacks the body’s muscular tissues. While many 14 year olds would approach such a diagnosis as though it were the end of the world, Tammy held her head high throughout her treatment. Like most other cancer patients, her hair quickly fell out as a result of her chemotherapy treatments, but despite this and the other side effects she experienced she never once let herself feel depressed by the challenge she faced.
Despite her own illness, Tammy continued to always put others first. Shortly after she was first diagnosed I had an emergency appendectomy. While recovering at home, I received a card in the mail from Tammy, saying that so many of us had come to her house to cheer her up while she was sick and that now they needed to do the same for me. This was just one of the many examples of Tammy’s selfless character and how she never used her battle with cancer as an excuse for continuing to persevere and enjoy life.
During our freshman year of high school, Tammy’s time was split between home and Memphis, where she received her treatment at St. Jude. As her cancer spread, her time at St. Jude increased, and by the middle of our sophomore year Tammy was too sick to continue making the trip between Memphis and our hometown of Bloomington, and she began receiving home bound instruction in Memphis. Tammy’s focus was on one thing – to do whatever was necessary to graduate high school and walk across the stage at graduation with the rest of our class. Her focus on her education helped distract her from the pain she endured. Tammy graduated with a 5.0 GPA, as well as as a member of National Honor Society. She continued to remain focused on walking across the stage at graduation, and it wasn’t until three days before graduation that her doctors told her and her mom that it wasn’t in Tammy’s best interest to make the nearly seven hour drive from Memphis back to Bloomington for graduation.
Throughout her treatment, Tammy never wanted to give up. She was willing to try various treatments, and kept herself busy with studying and crafting. She always said she would rather die doing something she enjoyed as opposed to just lying in a hospital bed feeling sorry for herself.
During our senior year, the Normal Community High School Spirit Club started the “Tabs for Tammy” campaign. While in Memphis, Tammy and her mom stayed at the Ronald McDonald House, and the purpose of the campaign was to fill milk jugs with soda tabs, which the House would then recycle and use the money from in order to support its ministries. The goal was to fill 334 jugs, one for each member of our Senior class, but the school and community’s response to the campaign was beyond anybody’s expectations, and the club received enough tabs to fill 800 milk jugs. Many of the jugs were decorated by members of our Senior class, and many of us also wrote messages to Tammy and her mom on the jugs.
As many of our classmates were starting their first semester of college, Tammy’s condition continued to worsen. Sadly, Tammy’s battle came to an end on September 20, 2004, when she passed away from complications from her chemotherapy treatments and two stem cell transplants.
I'll be chronicling my journey to 26.2 miles on my blog, From Dancing to Running (http://dancingtorunning.com). Feel free to follow along in my training progress as I prepare to run my first marathon. Every step that I run in Chicago will be for Tammy.
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