Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Open Letter to the TNT Fall Season Teams by Mitzi Jiles

Mitzi with her mom and dad at the Nike Women's Marathon
I can't believe that the Nike Women's Marathon is only six weeks away! What a season we have had so far! Friendships have been made, miles have been logged, money has been raised and we are hopefully only going to have cooler temps from here on out!. I just wanted to say with the race so close--Nike Team, it has been my honor to be your honored hero, THANK YOU! The encouragement, tenacity and support you all have graciously bestowed upon me has made me even more appreciative to be apart of the Team In Training family. So, with that, I wanted to share another aspect of why I am apart of TNT.

Yes, being a cancer survivor is a blessing. Yes, research for a cure is important. Yes, it's for those patients still fighting and those who lost their lives. But it's also so much more.

I've flashbacked to when I was sitting in the emergency room over 10 years ago waiting anxiously for my test results. At that moment I wish I could have been alone. I wish it could have just been me, the doctors nurses and anyone else who worked at the hospital, but it wasn't.

As I was in a daze being told terrible, change your life in a second, type of news.... there sat my mom.

Her eyes filled with tears, her heart breaking, her world crumbling...she had to witness the "you have cancer" diagnosis. The fact that she was a mere bystander to the words that I had Leukemia and that I could die in two weeks still haunts me! It's one of the most painful memories I have from my entire experience with cancer.

Parents should NEVER have to hear that the son/daughter they have raised, loved, and nurtured get diagnosed with a deadly disease. No matter how old they are.

When those words "you have cancer" came out of Dr. Morris's mouth I turned to my mom and I smiled. I told her that it was going to be ok. I was going to be fine and she had nothing to worry about. I became the parent. I comforted her. I was watching her watch me and all she saw was my life flashing before her eyes.

Why am I a part of Team In Training? Lance Armstrong said, it's because I have an obligation as a cancer survivor, but for me it's for the parents, siblings, family members, friends and caregivers. I hope there comes a day that they no longer have to hear someone they love is sick.

To all the members of Team In Training Fall events, what you have done this season has not only helped those who are sick but those caregivers who have been just as affected.... so, Thank You, Good Luck and GO TEAM!

Mitzi Jiles has been a part of Team In Training since 2007 and is doing her third TNT event with the 2010 Nike Women's Marathon, her first marathon. As an acute myeloid leukemia survivor for the last nine years, Mitzi is one of our Honored Heroes and motivates us all to continue the fight against cancer. Thank you Mitzi for the inspiration!

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