Amy Jablonski wrote -
When I was in college, we used to joke about what age we would be when our bodies felt the effects of the pounding we put on them daily: the running on the old-style-basically-concrete turf, the knee problems, or the increasingly creaky joint pain. As it turns out, that year is age 36. At this age, my body doesn't rebound the way it did once; As I sit here today writing, my hips and legs are sore from the three miles I ran yesterday. So I've caved to my masochism, and this September I'll be running the Philadelphia Rock & Roll Half Marathon in an effort to raise money for the Michael Mosier Defeat DIPG Foundation.
So, why in the world would I continue inflicting pain on my body? Because the rewards are infinitely better!
Reward #1: Learning to Love to Run
I have always HATED running. Even as an athlete, the run was always what had to be tolerated in order to gain the strength and conditioning necessary for the main event: The Game. I'm trying to change that mindset - slowing down my pace, enjoying the scenery, reveling in my body's ability to increase my mileage each week. I won't be setting any personal records (although I guess with your first half marathon, no matter what you set a PR, right?!?), but participating in a dynamic mental and physical endeavor is personal record enough!
Reward #2: Accomplishing a Goal
Strangely, even though I hate running, I've always wanted to do a longer race. Maybe it's the competitiveness inside me, maybe it's trying to hold onto youth. I'm sure I could pay thousands of dollars for that psychoanalysis! This year, I decided the time was NOW. I want to say that I set a goal for myself, and I achieved it!
Reward #3: Running for a Cause
Inspired by the loss of her son Michael, my college teammate and sorority sister, Jenny Mosier, has founded the Michael Mosier Defeat DIPG Foundation. The charities that touch our hearts are ones in which we feel a personal connection. In addition to knowing Jenny, every time she posts the stories of kids with DIPG, I am reminded of how lucky our family is. When our son Will was 4 years old, he was identified as having some eye issues. After being seen by a specialist at CHOP, she sent us for an MRI because while she warned us that the chances were small, she was concerned that there was a mass in his brain that might be causing his vision problems. Thankfully, his MRI came back clean; It was just a lazy eye. But for too many families, including Jenny's, this isn't the case. I don't share this to make this about US because it's isn't, but to explain why this particular foundation holds a place in my heart.
Too many families, too many children, are affected by DIPG, a brain tumor found in a part of the brain stem. DIPG affects children almost exclusively. Approximately 200-400 children in the United States are diagnosed with DIPG each year. These children are typically between the ages of 4 and 11. DIPG accounts for roughly 10-15% of all brain tumors in children. DIPG is an aggressive tumor that interferes with all bodily functions, depriving a child of the ability to move, to communicate, and even to eat and drink.
Medical advances in the past 40 years have greatly improved the survival rates for children diagnosed with most types of cancer. For some cancers, the medical advances have been extraordinary. For example, the survival rate for children with acute lymphocytic leukemia has increased from less than 10 percent in the 1960s to nearly 90 percent today. Overall, the survival rate for children with cancer is around 83 percent.
But these medical advances have done nothing for children DIPG. Brain tumors remain the most common cause of cancer-related death in children, and DIPG is the leading cause of death from pediatric brain tumors. A child diagnosed with DIPG today faces the same prognosis as a child diagnosed 40 years ago. There is still no effective treatment and no chance of survival. Only 10% of children with DIPG survive for 2 years following their diagnosis, and less than 1% survive for 5 years. The median survival is 9 months from diagnosis.
Jenny created the Defeat DIPG Foundation in honor of her 6-year-old son, Michael William Mosier, who bravely battled against DIPG for 8.5 months before passing away on May 17, 2015.
Hearing Michael's story, and the stories of other children and families, makes me realize that the pain of training is nothing compared with what those affected by DIPG endure. I hope you'll join me on my journey to 13.1 by making a donation to the Michael Mosier Defeat DIPG Foundation. Your financial and moral support will help us take steps towards a cure, and help my creaky body step towards the finish line!
All My Best,