Wednesday, April 25, 2012

50 Miles for 50 Days

One year ago, on May 5th, 2011, we cheered my wife's accomplishment of pushing herself to walk 14 laps around the nurse's station outside her hospital room. Nine days later, she came home to us. On May 5th, 2012, I plan to push myself in her honor.
Shelley's story started with a routine, 20 week ultrasound for our daughter, Lily.  The checkup kicked off a series of events that led to her diagnosis of and treatment for acute myelogenous leukemia (AML).  The grueling hospital stay entailed chemotherapy, blood transfusions, hundreds of needle pricks, fevers, mouth sores, and intense nausea.  That’s the short list.  The only time she left her room for an extended period of time was to spend Easter Weekend in the Intensive Care Unit to battle bleeding in her lungs and a blood clot in her liver. 
We said goodbye to Lily during that time. 
Nearly 50 days passed between the ultrasound and her departure from the hospital.  During this time, Shelley endured each blood and platelet transfusion, needle prick, and treatment protocol with the steady calm of a person looking beyond the hospital bed and the oncology floor with the thought, “I will get through this.”  Maybe her attitude came from the years of mental and physical conditioning for competitive swimming.  Maybe it was a combination of her inherent character and the invisible hand of her parents that taught her to never give up.  Likely, a combination of many factors built her deep resolve. 
Her fight during her hospital stay--and now during her maintenance treatments--is inspirational. 
On May 5th, nearly one year from my wife's departure from the hospital, I will participate in the 50 Mile Northface Endurance Challenge ultramarathon at Bear Mountain, NY, to both raise awareness for Leukemia and raise money for research.
50 miles: nearly one mile for each day before Shelley achieved remission status.
May 5th: nearly one year from the day she left the hospital. 
Although the race is called an “endurance challenge,” the endurance required to complete the distance is immeasurably small when compared to the endurance of body and spirit my wife exhibited during that time and the treatments since.
She is why I wear orange.

To donate to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through Shelley’s Light the Night event Life's a BeachTeam Page: Shelley's Light The Night Team Page
To learn more about the 50 mile race: North Face Endurance Challenge Ultramarathon