Monday, January 25, 2010

An Alumni Challenge by Lori Rasmussen

I've heard a few alumni saying, "If it weren't for the fundraising, I'd train for Team In Training events year 'round." I've had the same thoughts. My experiences with TNT have been so personally rewarding that sometimes it's easy to lose sight of the mission-to raise money and find a cure for blood cancers. Thanks to TNT, I am in the best shape of my life! I have a huge circle of new friends, and I never lack for something fun to do. This adventure started as a way for me to get in shape. Oh, and also to raise a little money to do some good. Yes, my goals really were that vague (and self-serving). After my first event, I thought, "No more fundraising for me. I will just keep running on my own." Then, about a year later, there was a great alumni deal for the San Antonio Rock and Roll Half-Marathon. I signed up and had another great event weekend. After that, I thought, "OK, once a year is reasonable for fundraising."

As I continued to train and raise money, I met some amazing people who have had blood cancer crash their lives; a friend's infant niece, a mother whose teenaged son battled this illness, a neighbor who had it in college, and a young woman who is a survivor and runs with the team today. Then, I started remembering folks I knew in my past; my godparent's daughter, my elementary school classmate, and my middle-school English teacher. So, I signed up for the Nike Women's Half-Marathon. During that race, I ran up Inspiration Hill and saw sign after sign of survivors, honored heroes, and folks who didn't make it. Something clicked.

This isn't about fitness for me anymore! It's profoundly personal. These people I am "helping" aren't out there "somewhere." These are people I know-people I love-they are family. And you do whatever it takes to help family.

So, what does this mean for those of us who aren't independently wealthy, or linked into a huge corporate donating machine? It means hard work. It means yet another uncomfortable quest to hit up friends and family for money. It means getting creative-thinking of new projects and ways to earn money. It may also mean finding other ways to help-donating blood or platelets, signing up for the bone marrow registry, or volunteering to speak at recruitment events. For me it means staying involved.

I am thankful to TNT for giving us a vehicle to raise money where it does so much good. And raising money IS the main deal. I believe I am joining hands with all of the rest of the TNT Alumni and we are making a difference. I hope you'll do the same.

Lori Rasmussen has been an enthusiastic TNT participant since 2007. She has participated in three half-marathons and is currently planning to attempt her first full marathon with TNT at the Country Music Marathon TEAM.

Team In Training Georgia Chapter is now recruiting for the Summer 2010 Season. Contact the TNT staff for details, (404) 720-7842.