Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Jonathan Jaques Champions for Life Torch Run

"If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day or if you've been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run."
--John Bingham
Running is a way to clear your mind, feel a few moments of freedom from the stresses of the world.  Running is an escape yet a way to rule the world for that moment in time.
On Saturday I participated in the 28th Annual (my 4th) Champions forLife TorchRun; this time as a Celebrity.  The Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Center (JJCCC) at Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach provides quality compassionate care to children of all ages – infants, children and adolescents – with cancer, sickle cell disease, hemophilia and other serious blood disorders.  Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach provides tertiary level hematology/oncology care, while using age- appro0priate preparation, advanced equipment and treatment to more than 800 children each year.  I have always loved this event as it is a time where children currently living with or have beaten cancer get to run, carrying and passing their torch to the next in a show of solidarity and faith.  There are also families that are running in the memory of a child taken too soon; these are the families that I want to hold, hug and run with because their pride and sadness show through their eyes all too knowingly.

Each leg of the torch run is 1/8 of a mile, this can seem like 10 miles to a child fighting from cancer. I ran this leg of the event multiple times with multiple families providing encouragement and cheerleading along the way. Cheering on 4 year olds like Logan battling ITP, running with his siblings Jackson (6) and Grace (2) (Gracerella) supporting Logan’s mission to beat cancer.  I met Jackson, Grace and their father in the parking structure – Jackson telling me all about his little brother and how much he wants him to beat cancer.  Then there was the mom, struggling with her jogging stroller and 2 small children, her son bald from chemo but smiling as she finally got the stroller up and going WITH both kids in tow. 

His mom ended the race in tears watching him fight to finish ahead of his sister.  Such a great family!
I loved the moments of running with little guys who would rather fight and beat their sister than let her carry THEIR torch AND beat you.  A mother who told me about her sons 85 blood transfusions and finally a bone marrow transplant for her 9 year old son with sickle cell anemia.  I want to hug, love on and laugh with each child and family that I meet along the route.  I enjoy watching the family interactions, the pride and the fight that each child and family puts forth.
The fight and the will

I was asked to run the torch for a family unable to make the event

With Trish from Austin and Ali and her brother from Modern Family

The boys from Disney's So Random

I will be visiting Miller Children’s Hospital and the cancer center in the coming weeks to read and enjoy these wonderful children and their families.

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