Family, friends & maybe even some very kind strangers who have stumbled upon my donation page—
I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to visit and read about the latest challenge I’ve set for myself. As I’ve shared with some of you, I have joined Team Imerman Angels (IA) to run the 2019 Chicago Marathon! While I know this is going to make for a very exciting 10 months of training and preparation, I also have to share how honored I am to be a part of Team IA.
In the world we live in, it’s no stretch to say that everyone we know has likely been affected by cancer in some way. It’s a word that universally strikes a ray of fearful and negative emotions by everyone involved: the fighters themselves, caretakers, family members and beloved friends. Imerman Angels is an organization aiming to provide 1-on-1 cancer support to all parties involved. As some of you can probably guess, this cause is especially close to my heart as I spent my undergraduate years supporting many children and families facing cancer with Dance Marathon, and came to witness my dad battle his own cancer for two and a half years.
My dad, family and I were truly fortunate to have such a strong knit support system around us during his battle. The love and encouragement we received was constant, from the times where my dad’s health was stable through the most trying moments of his sudden decline. While we were aware of the army both within and around us, my dad was the first to shift conversations to his fellow cancer fighters’ needs. He was determined that they themselves receive the same support he had. Between my mom and us four kids, we had a pretty regular rotation of who would take my dad to his appointments and treatments (which he also regularly insisted was not necessary). Often times, he would receive treatment next to the same patients weeks in a row. My mom shared a specific memory when my dad overheard a conversation between the woman next to him trying to navigate public transportation to get home. Immediately, he insisted on offering her a ride home to the south side of Chicago. When my dad was asked how he was feeling he was quick to say, “Me? I’m going to be fine. It’s the kids and the elderly. They’re the ones that need looking out. They need the support.” We also remember being at one of his chemotherapy appointments early on and as we walked out of the office he told all of the patients receiving their treatments “We will get through this, ok? Stay strong, God Bless.”
I am sharing these memories for a few equally important reasons: to keep my dad's spirit alive over a year after his passing and to promote the mission of IA that strives to ensure no individual faces cancer alone. As someone who has been in the caregiving role, I sincerely admire that the supportive services IA offers go far beyond the individual diagnosed. These supportive services include a unique process that partners anyone of any age, any gender, anywhere and any cancer type seeking support with someone just like them – a “Mentor Angel”. A Mentor Angel is a cancer survivor or caregiver who most importantly has faced the same type of cancer. The support system around us was as true as true can be, but I can also remember the feelings of isolation and despair that came with caring for a dying parent in my early twenties all too well.
I’m lucky enough to know friends who have supported Team IA through the Chicago Marathon in the past and beam with joy and excitement when they talk about the organization and their efforts. Even more so, I’m lucky enough to join in on this mission as I try to fundraise $1,250 so more fighters and caregivers can receive the same perpetual support from Team IA, that we received from family and friends.
I want to thank you all in advance for your consideration of this cause, and whether it’s a “Way to Go!” text during my long runs or following the donate button above, we will create our own army of support . Most importantly, please know that I appreciate it all, and you, just the same.