It started in the fall of 2019. My dad called and asked if I was sitting down...I knew this was big but had no idea just how much those words would change our world forever. "I have leukemia," he said. I was speechless, I started sobbing uncontrollably, I was breathing fast. Dad started talking and explaining what was going on and I was in a daze. When the conversation wrapped up, I told him he'd have to repeat everything again soon as I had no idea what he had just said, other than those three BIG words... I had NO IDEA what leukemia was, it only affected OTHER people's lives. I was confused and scared.
Fast foward a few months. Dad received a stem cell transplant for AML in December. He was in the hospital for several months and there were times where he was too weak to talk. He came HOME in March of 2020, 3 months after the transplant and 6 months after his initial diagnosis.
What transpired from there was and is, nothing short of a miracle. He started getting some strength back, he had some set backs, some bumps in the road, but was HOME and was starting to get somewhat back to "normal" life.
He is now 13 months post transplant and cancer free. He continues to fight through what I call, side effects from the leukemia and subsequent treatment. He has good days and bad and did a recent 2 month stint in the hospital again for some issues arising from all of this.
So this is our story, in a nutshell. He continues to fight daily to stay alive and thrive. His diagnosis and treatment has changed all our lives. Specifically for me, it has made me a better and stronger person.
I completed the Climb for a Cure in June 2020. I raised funds for LLS and felt a sense of pride being able to give back to an organization dedicated to help families like ours.
But that wasn't enough. Recently I realized HOW I could put something more into action. I started walking and exercising quite regularly and realized how blesssed I am to put one foot in front of the other and move my body. There were times when my dad couldn't get out of bed, he was not able to walk, and I think of how many people are in the same position, once healthy, now not able to do the things we all may take for granted.
That stops now. My WHY for this fundraiser is for all of us who are healthy and able (for now, because you know that dreaded diagnosis is coming, for someone, anyone, anytime) to move our bodies, to walk, to run, to bike, for those who can't.
Steps for those who stopped, is a campaign I'm starting so we can join together and move our bodies, stay healthy, get fit, and be active, to support our friends and loved ones, and even strangers, in the fight against leukemia and lymphoma! In the fight against anything that takes away someone's strengh and ability to do things that used to be natural and necessary, such as putting one foot in front of the other.
Join me by tracking your steps, logging your miles, and sharing your movement journey to support those who are fighting for their lives.
Use the hashtag #stepforthosewhostopped and tag #lls in your social media posts! SHARE this campaign with friends and family and help me raise money for LLS!