Tuesday, March 6, 2012

More Than Just a Project by Evelyn Keeney-Ritchie

Although I have been in school for almost fifteen years, my time with Team In Training was one of the best learning experiences I have ever had. I am a high school senior from Atlanta, GA, and at this time last year I joined the Team as a school project. Despite reading numerious enthusiastic accounts of people's experienes with the program, I started with the mindset of obligation rather than opportunity. I thought I was prepared to take on the challenge of training for and competing in a triathlon, but needless to say, I still hit the ground running... figuratively and literally.

I am sure that my five-month Team In Training experience taught me lessons on many levels, some that I probably have yet to realize. Physically I was educated in form, fitness, technique, and nutrition. Mentally I learned what it means to persevere, focus, motivate, and be motivated. However, I also learned in another way. I am sure that anyone who has participated in a TNT event can vouch for the fact that there is emotional growth in the involvement with the program. I not only gained an incredible respect for the patients, families, researchers, fundraisers, and fighters of cancer, but I was able to develop a personal connection to the cause.

Me and Jordan, my Honored Hero
As a teenager, pondering my life and future, this experience gave me a new way of looking at myself and the world. It was more than just completing a tremendous project. The support and enthusiasm of my teammates, coaches, friends, family, and donors helped my raise my head and look out on the endless opportunities that are out there. I now realize how fragile life is and that we have an obligation to make each day count for ourselves and better for those around us.

Evelyn Keeney-Ritchie completed the Tri Latta Triathlon in the summer of 2011 and raised $2,730 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Evelyn is currently a senior at Academe of the Oaks High School and hope her story gives courage to those who think they are too old, young, or unfit to follow their dreams and change the world.

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