Monday, May 7, 2007

Why I Wear The Shirt

I wear the shirt, because it captures the first thought that came to
my mind when I found out about Lisa. I mean, once the original shock
wore off, of what I was it was possibly my second
thought. Lisa, who threw my bridal shower as one of my bridesmaids;
and two weeks before had celebrated not only her 34th birthday but
her engagement and pregnancy too. At her birthday dinner party we sat
around the table celebrating all of her joy and confidence in the
future and seemingly endless possibilities. Three weeks later, I get
the call and Lisa has been diagnosed with leukemia.

I wanted to help. I wanted to fight for her. My friend and I started
Team Lisa to raise $10,000, a small portion of the $600,000 she would
need for her bone marrow transplant. (And that is with her insurance
covering 80%.) We started raising money by training for a Half
Ironman. 400 hours of training at $25 an hour equals our goal of
$10,000. Our shirts drew attention. Our shirts raised money. Our
shirts made other cancer survivors or those who knew friends and
family battling cancer smile and nod. On race day, as soon as we
stripped off of our wet suits, on came our shirts over the tri-gear
for the bike and the run. People clapped and pointed at our shirts,
people stopped us and asked us where we got the shirt, people asked
how they too could help.

I wear the shirt now, with its ripped off sleeves, on days when I
don’t feel like running but go anyway. It reminds me that I can run
and Lisa cannot. I wear it days, when I want to send her extra
energy vibes, when she is too weak to talk or even listen to
encouragement. I wear it too, because it always get a second look. I
love the half a second of an extra glance from a stranger, that tells
me without saying, “my thoughts exactly”.

- Jen

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