TLC Fit Update: Judgement Day

March 29, 2012

A big thank you to YNN for their wonderful story on our Teens Living With Cancer Fitness Program / Duel in the Pool! During this interview you get to meet two of our teens plus never before seen footage of our testing. The pool this is filmed at by the way is a therapy pool, and is 96 degrees. It’s not where I train!

Click here for that interview.

Let me be honest, I dreaded last night. Dreaded. It was the last night in our fitness program / research study, and I don’t want it to end. Coming here weekly and being able to spend time with these teens has been the best thing I have ever done. Throughout the eight weeks as we have progressed through various modules of fitness I now feel like I could make it better, make it even more effective and make it more fun.

Don’t worry, TLC Fit version 2.0 is in the works…. it’s not going to be the end.

Last night the fitness assessments took place, the ones we did week one. The difference was remarkable. Their durability was exponential. Between each test eight weeks ago they were exhausted, now they simply moved from test to test. Brynn, who you met in the above news video ran her first mile, no walking, no slowing down, no nothing.

“Mary I love you!” she cried as she gave me a huge hug when she was done “I have never done that before.” I reminded her that it had very little to do with me, it was ALL her. That’s true. I am just the drill sergeant, they are the ones who did the actual work.

Another young lady who is unable to run walked the mile again. I remember eight weeks ago her face was beet red during it. The mile was a chore for her. Last night she executed it like it was her job. More situps were completed, more push ups. One of our girls couldn’t do ONE push up eight weeks ago and last night she did a full pushup. That’s progress. Big progress.

I have been a triathlete for 15 years and one sometimes I wrestle with the narcissistic  part of all of this. The training, the gear… it all feels very self-centered at times. Through my work as a nurse I have felt like I have been able to give back, and through this chance of working with these Teens it’s my chance to really give back.I realize that I have a unique platform in this sport. I have been around a long time. I have a list of accomplishments. I am well-known in our community. I wanted to begin using my position and my platform to do something that makes a difference and it’s allowed me to bring these teens to you and make you aware of them.

Does that make sense? I definitely worry about that aspect of this sport and not only how it affects me,  but the lessons it teaches our son about life.

Like I stated in the above interview…. what we get to do is EASY. We swim, we bike, we run. We have neat tri kits and custom-made bathing suits and painted helmets. We enter races that cost a lot of money. We spend a lot of money and time on ourselves. Our biggest struggle is often …. how will I perform this weekend?

These kids have faced what we don’t even want to comprehend. Look at the below picture. Look at her right knee….. look closely.

That is what Cancer does.

Imagine what THAT is like. The surgery. The rehab, the entire reason that even happened. Every day she looks at her knee. Every day that she wears shorts she knows you are looking at those scars and that disfigurement and wondering. She knows you are looking her in the eye but wondering what happened.

You can’t even imagine what she’s been through.

While we are out logging hours, they are fighting to stay alive.

We have the ability as athletes to raise awareness. To join the fight. To help these kids who would do anything to be in our shoes. Again, what we do is not hard. Is it inspiring? I am sure on some level it is. But I know a few teens who invented inspiring.

One of the kids in this group still has two round of chemo left. This Friday he will undergo a lumbar puncture and the hell of treatment will come soon after. Each week he comes in with a smile and tells me what he did that week. He crashed his skateboard last week and he laughs about how he went feet over head. He talks with passion about everything he does because he’s just so goddamn happy to be alive. He has a fearlessness about him that inspires me. He’s looked down and maybe he’s looking down the barrel of a gun right now, and that allows him to throw up his hands and enjoy the ride.

What are you doing on Friday?

After we were done last evening we sat in the Teens Living With cancer center and talked about what exactly is going to happen on April 28th at the Duel in the Pool. The looks on their faces was of both excitement and disbelief. Someone rented them a limo to travel to Buffalo in. They couldn’t believe it.

We are a small grassroots group who has been fortunate to receive some really good media over the past few weeks. In fact next week we have a full booking of media and some really stellar things to come as we draw nearer to the Duel in the Pool. What I felt last night as we were together was that no matter what, we have and will maintain who we are. We are just regular people. We are not flashy. We just want to have the chance to grow. We are grateful beyond belief for the amount of money that has been donated so far (and the number you see on that donation page is lower than the total!!!!!) and we can’t believe you have all jumped on board to this cause with the passion and dedication that we have here.

Thank you is no longer enough, yet we will say it anyway.

If I could meet Melissa (as you remember she is the entire reason this organization is in existence) I would tell her….. remember that promise you asked your Mom to make over ten years ago…. days before you died? You asked her to make it better for other teens.

That promise is happening girl. Your memory has inspired us. Your Mom has been the driving force behind it. We look at your picture every single day and it pushes us forward.

I got your back sister. We all got your back.

We got this.


One comment

  1. There is no teaching until the pupil is brought into the same state or principle in which you are; a transfusion takes place; he is you, and you are he; then is a teaching; and by no unfriendly chance or bad company can he ever lose the benefit.

    ~Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. “Spiritual Laws,” Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1845).

    Mary, that’s the quotation that I live by with my students and myself. I think it speaks for itself on how it applies to you, Lauren, and all of the staff with the teens at TLC.

    Thought you might enjoy!

    May you all enjoy each moment and each blessed step of the journey!



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