Friday, May 21, 2010

A Family Affair: Maureen's 20 Years of Being Cancer-Free by Genie Quinn

Flash back to twenty years ago… My daughter Maureen, who was 10 at the time, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. After two years of chemo and then three weeks of radiation therapy she was considered in remission. Out of the ashes of that horrible time our family has risen like a phoenix to a new life. From bitterness to joy we have progressed. It seems such a dichotomy that joy can come from sadness but it does. Maureen’s illness changed what was important to our family. We faced some scary times and came out of them stronger and closer.

Fast forward… As the years progressed we stayed a very close family. As a group we were keenly aware of the fragility of life and celebrated each other every chance we could get. Then in 2002, Maureen and her sister Kristen got a card in the mail from Team In Training of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and our family life mission took yet another turn. We found an organization where we could make a difference using our passion to fight cancer. Maureen and Kris completed that marathon, oh so many years ago, and we were all hooked.

Since 2002, as a family, we have completed many TNT events. They include marathons, triathlons, half-Ironman triathlons, and century rides. Also, during this time we have taken the LLS Mission to a new level by speaking at TNT meetings about “the Mission” and how anyone participating in a TNT event can truly make a difference in the lives of cancer patients. We have done “water stop” duties for group training sessions, and lugged change to CoinStar for Pennies for Patients.

However, the jewel in our family’s crown will come this TNT summer season when Maureen, Matt (her husband), my husband Jim, and I will ride together with the cycle team at Lake Tahoe for the America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride to celebrate life, 20 more years of it. Maureen’s sister Kris will be there cheering us on (she is injured and needs recovery time). We will celebrate the love of a family that has gotten us through good times and bad, and in thanksgiving for people who both do events and contribute to events for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. You are making a difference. Maureen is alive today due to research into drugs that could kill cancer cells. That research is still going on thanks to funds raised by Team In Training. As my family and I traverse the many hills of Tahoe, we will be thankful for all that we have and for a mission so special in this world. We are one lucky family to be able to help make a difference, to have found Team In Training, to ride with people who care, and to know people who give from the heart.

One lucky lady, Genie Quinn

Genie Quinn, Jim Quinn, Kris Quinn, Maureen Davidson Quinn and Matt Davidson are all long time Team In Training Georgia Chapter alumni and together have participated in countless events with the Team and raised thousands of dollars for LLS. From all of us at the LLS Georgia Chapter office, we'd like to wish them all a wonderful adventure in Lake Tahoe and we celebrate Maureen's 20 years and counting of being cancer free. Thank you to all of you!

If you're inspired by the Quinns to join the TEAM, visit

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Win-Win Situation by Lori Rasmussen

Despite my somewhat driven personality, I am not too keen on contests and competitions. That said, I learned about one recently that really intrigued me. It’s a contest where even if you lose, you win!

My friend Jen Moss is participating in The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man & Woman of the Year contest. This is a 10-week campaign where she will try to out earn her fellow competitors and raise money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).

Her goal: $20,000!

Team Moss is a family affair. It includes Jen’s parents, brother and his family (the Shireys), her mom’s sisters and their families (the McCaffertys), and some of Jen and Bill’s Team In Training (TNT) family! Her parents are hosting an event at Lake Oconee and her sister-in-law is hosting one in Alameda, California. Closer to home, Jen is busy spreading the word, gathering silent auction prizes, planning events, and selling gala tickets. In other words, she is working like crazy to make sure that she pulls in some big dollars—more than she has earned during her nine years as a TNT participant. She is doing all of this, while keeping her own race training going and building her business: Baby Boot Camp.

Jen is competing against other entrepreneurs and business women in the metro-Atlanta area. Each participant is leveraging their social and business networks to get the word out about LLS and raise serious money. The campaign culminates with a gala event on June 17 where the highest earning man and woman are declared the Man & Woman of the Year.

I had a chance to chat with Jen recently and she shared with me what drives her. Jen’s grandmother raised seven wonderful daughters while battling leukemia and succumbed to the illness at age 59. Jen was just a toddler at the time of her death, but Nana’s memory drives her to do everything with strength and energy. In addition, this year marks the 10th anniversary of Bill’s mother losing her life to leukemia. This fight is personal and they are fighting it hard.
Jen, Bill, and their daughter Delainy, were one of the first TNT families I met when I became a mentor. They showed me the ropes of water stop duty and have always had an encouraging word for my training efforts. As a friend and alum, I wanted to know how we could help. It’s easy. We can donate—as little as $10 helps. We can secure silent auction items. We can buy tickets to attend the gala on June 17, or we can simply offer our arms and legs to one of the many events that Jen is planning.

Win or lose, Jen and her team will make a huge difference in the fight to cure these cancers. Let’s rally around one of our alums and help her succeed!


Upcoming events for Jen's Man & Woman of the Year campaign:
Dine for a Cure on Monday, May 17 at Crepe Revolution, 4600 W Village Way, Smyrna, Georgia 30080 (a percentage will be donated to Jen’s Campaign)
Family Field Day on Saturday, June 12th at 11am, Smyrna (by Market Village). Watch for details and volunteer opportunities!

To donate directly:
Contact Jen: ; 404-274-3148
Learn more about The Man & Woman of the Year campaign at

About the author: Lori Rasmussen is a TNT Georgia alumnus and is currently a mentor for the 2010 Nike Women's Marathon team.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Difference A Year Makes by Lori Rasmussen

On Tuesday May 11th, I will be attending the Fall Season Kick Off meeting for Team In Training. It will be my second year participating in the Nike Women’s Marathon/Half Marathon event, and my second season as a mentor. This year is stacking up to be another fabulous event. I have already been assigned a great group of mentees and am excited to get started.

But, I also find myself looking back and reflecting on last year. In May 2009, I drove to the kick-off with Nike team co-captain Carol Osterman and new participant Kelly Simmons. Carol, a 30 year leukemia survivor was complaining of some numbness following a spill she took on her bicycle that day. Kelly and I felt she should see a doctor, but ever-stoic Carol wasn’t so sure. No one who saw her that night would have expected anything was wrong. She smiled, laughed and was her usual self. At midnight, I received a call from husband Jim. He had convinced Carol to let him take her to the emergency room. Jim was calling to ask for prayer and let me know that they found "something" in Carol’s brain. That something turned out to be a brain tumor. It was removed and the recovery started.

Fast forward to October 2009…

Kelly and I finished running the half marathon and sat in the TNT tent relaxing with our teammates. A short time later, Carol Osterman crossed the finish line.


Even more remarkable? She crossed it with Mitzi Jiles, a 34 year old leukemia survivor, and Lori St. Germain, a 29 year old breast cancer survivor. They had run the entire 13.1 miles together, reminding me (and the team) exactly what strength looks like!

Fast forward again…

I will be giving Carol a ride to the kick off meeting on May 11, where I will meet up with fellow mentor Kelly Simmons, and mentee/honored hero Mitzi Jiles—both back for season #2.

Together, we’ll do it all over again!

Lori Rasmussen is a mentor for the 2010 Nike Women's Marathon team. You too can join us for another exciting Fall Season with Team In Training. Come to one of our Kick-Off Meetings below and RSVP here:

Atlanta - Tuesday, May 11th 6:30pm at Holiday Inn Select, 4386 Chamblee Dunwoody Rd.
Alpharetta - Thursday, May 13th 6:30pm at Embassy Suites, 5955 North Point Pkwy.
Augusta - Thursday, May 13th 6:30pm at Marriott Downtown, Two Tenth Street

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I Did It! by Angie Prophet

I started my journey with TNT in 2008. I signed up for the San Francisco Nike Women's Marathon weighing in at 340 pounds. I was an athlete in high school and college but I had given up on trying to be healthy when I lost my brother to ALL in 2002. My brother, Bryan, had been a Special Olympian. He competed in swimming, bowling, basketball and track. I could not understand how someone who was an athlete could get so sick. I finally got to a point where I understood that blood cancers can affect anyone at anytime. So I decided that I could do a lot more to honor the memory of my brother and help defeat the disease that had taken him from us.

Initially, I was embarrassed that I had gained so much weight so I didn't go to many group training sessions. I was always competitive and I found out that I couldn't do it anymore. I was afraid that people wouldn't believe in me. I discovered on race weekend that it doesn't matter what you look like and how long it takes you to cross the finish line, people still believed in me. I crossed the finish line and I lost a lot of weight too. I was sad that I hadn't been more involved and I vowed to continue working with TNT.

Last fall, I decided that I was going to try to complete a different event with TNT. I signed up for the Tugaloo triathlon. Then my clumsy ass managed to fall down some stairs and get a bone bruise on my left knee. No race for me.

Finally, this spring my leg was healed and I had lost over 100 pounds. So I decided to sign up for the St. Anthony's triathlon. I'm so glad I did. The whole experience was amazing. Again, I feel like I didn't take full of advantage of all the training sessions, but my life had gotten crazy busy with graduating from law school, applying to take the bar, teaching an after school program, etc.
I learned how to swim, change a tire and put on a wetsuit (things that I never knew would be so difficult). I was still really slow, but definitely faster than I was 100 pounds ago. I made it to race weekend and felt like I was truly ready to race. I made it through a shortened swim, the bike and finally run. I got a nasty sunburn, but I finished the race. It was bittersweet crossing the finish line. I knew that this was a great accomplishment, but yet the one person I wanted to share it with the most was not there.

I think my favorite part of the whole experience was running the last mile and hearing the cheers and seeing everyone who had stayed around to watch my slow ass come back in. I have to take the bar exam this summer and I wish I could have all of you come and cheer me through that too. I will be back soon for another triathlon with Team In Training.

Angie Prophet just completed the 2010 St. Anthony's Triathlon with Team In Training. Thanks Angie for sharing your experience and we are so proud of you!