A couple of years ago my daughter, Julie, started telling me I could/should run a marathon. After all, there were many women who were over 60 and running their first marathon. Being older and wiser I knew this just wasn't going to happen. Then in August 2007 my friend Ginny Gilbertson was diagnosed with myeloma. Julie took the opportunity to suggest that I could/should WALK a half marathon in honor of Ginny. She was getting older and wiser too since this was definitely a possibility.
So Julie found the Country Music marathon/half marathon to be run and WALKED in on April 26, 2008 and I could train with Team in Training. For those of you who don't know, TNT is associated with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society who Julie used to work for and who trained her to run her first marathon several years ago.
Last November when I visited Ginny and mutual college friends in , I studied with her the info from the Leukemia Society about the drugs she had begun taking and we both learned about her disease. I saw how grateful she was to have been contacted by people from the Society, including the buddy she was paired with. I saw the pain she was already beginning to endure. I saw her sitting in her dialysis chair for 4 hour stints. I told myself I didn't want my current health issues to take over and put me that situation so I committed to walk this half marathon for her and for me. It seemed like a win win situation to me.
Last December 28 I met Ginny at the Tampa airport where her son, Andy, who lives in , pushed her in a wheelchair because already her back pain was so great she couldn't walk long distances. We drove down to where Ginny had a condo next door to the condo of another friend and we spent several days by the pool (and hours at the dialysis center) and saw the New Year in with much laughter and loving friendship. We both returned to our colder climates, she to her dialysis/chemo/pain coping routine, me to my training and regular work routine.
On January 28 Ginny went to the hospital with severe back pain and paralysis in her legs. The dialysis wasn't working to clean her system. Her heart wasn't behaving. Her children, Sue and Andy, and their mates came to be with her and her friends kept vigil. She spoke with her pastor. On February 10 Ginny left this world for the next with Sue and Mike, Andy and Bonnie, and dear friend Anne by her side in a peaceful Hospice room at St Peters Hospital. We will miss her greatly. Less than 6 months from diagnosis to her passing; this should not happen to anybody.
I am walking this half marathon in on April 26 in memory of Ginny, and have pledged to raise $3000 for the Leukemia Society to help find a cure for myeloma and to give comfort to families and patients with this and . Please help me by donating whatever you can to this wonderful organization. My website to receive donations is www.active.com/donate/tntnca04