SAVING LIVES: One Mile at a Time

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Building lifelong friendships, getting in amazing shape, and helping to find a cure for cancer are just a few perks to joining The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Team In Training Program (TNT). TNT is the largest and most successful endurance sports charity training program in the world. Since its inception in 1988, when a team of 38 runners trained together for the New York City Marathon and raised $320,000, TNT has prepared more than 540,000 people to achieve their dream of completing an endurance event.  Those participants have raised a remarkable $1.2 billion to support LLS’ mission: to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

If you want to take on a challenge you might never have thought possible and do it for a great cause, this could be the program for you.  Right here in the Rio Grande Valley, TNT has trained over 450 people who have raised an outstanding $1 million since the first team formed in 2008.  You too can aid in funding life saving research to help families in South Texas in a fun and memorable way. During the next five months, Team In Training will prepare a team of local athletes to complete either the Nike Women’s Marathon in beautiful San Francisco, CA or the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in San Antonio, TX, home of the Alamo. TNT offers both Lower Valley and Upper Valley training teams that will be forming in June for one of these exciting events. Whether you are a novice or a seasoned athlete, TNT’s team-focused philosophy will help get you across the finish line at the event of your choice.

Team In Training coaches, such as Patty Barrera and Nicci Grossman, set up customized training regimens to fit your fitness level, provide advice on gear, hydration, and work with you on an individual level to achieve your goals. Multiple clinics are held throughout the season, including talks on nutrition, injury prevention, and even the proper sports bra for women.  In addition to all of this, your TNT staff handles the logistics – from race registration to lodging arrangements and travel. What’s the catch? There isn’t any! You agree to raise funds that go to supporting blood cancer research and patient services and TNT trains you for a race and sends you there in style. Participants enjoy a supportive group of teammates, weekly team workouts, and a greater-than-us cause that helps promote team spirit. And if you’re worried about fundraising, don’t be. Once you sign up you will be assigned to a Mentor who will serve as a guide to help you reach your goal, have access to a vast amount of resources – including your TNT staff, and have a personalized webpage that makes it quick and easy for your friends and family to donate online.

One of the most special aspects of the TNT program is the Team’s Honored Hero. Each team is paired with a local blood cancer patient or survivor who serves as the team’s inspiration throughout the season, cheering participants along from training to event weekend. One of the Rio Grande Valley’s Honored Heroes is Gaby Gutierrez, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2006. On her first day of chemo, Gaby’s oncologist told her “Your attitude will be responsible for 70% of your recovery and drugs will take care of the other 30%.” Gaby adds, “When you run it is the same, 30% will be your training but let your champion attitude take over your 70%!” Gaby is currently is remission and enjoys working out, watching movies and teaching Zumba.

So how serious is blood cancer? Every four minutes, someone new is diagnosed with

blood cancer and every ten minutes, someone dies. LLS is dedicated to lowering this statistic and we have come a long way due to programs like Team In Training. The mission focused program, team camaraderie, and treasured experience has led hundreds of people off the couch to coming back season after season.  We hope you will join our TEAM and help make a difference!

For a list of informational meeting and additional TNT information, call the South Central Texas Chapter at 800-683-2458 ext 5416; or visit: www.teamintraining.org/sctx.

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