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As an ovarian cancer survivor, I will race in 50 triathlons in all 50 states by 50-years-old to raise $100,000 for ovarian cancer research. This campaign is self inspired, self orchestrated and 100% self funded. In addition, all in-kind donations are turned into cash donations by me in the same name of the person who donates. I race for women who have lost their battle, women undergoing treatment and women yet to be diagnosed.

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Partner in Science

OCRF asked me to participate in their Partners in Science program, as a thank you for my campaign and efforts over the last five years.  That means I got to view several research projects and decide to whom the $107,000 I raised should go.  Now I don't profess to know a thing about science (some may recall my mathematics background) but they were fantastic to read.  I understood more than I thought; luckily OCRF put it into a nice summary for me.  It was unclear how I would chose.  After all, what was my criteria?  It was completely up to me.  Seven projects were offered and I hoped that one would "speak" to me.  I read them and reread them and then read them again.  I waited a few days and read them again, this time omitting a few.  Finally there were three candidates left and I read each project summary two more times. 
Finally I chose Dr. Matthias Stephan's project.  He is based out of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington.  As I hoped, his work "spoke" to me.   My mother read his summary as well and liked his face and also his name.  My step-father's name is Matthias.  But that's not really why I chose him.  It was his work... and two lines of his project summary in particular.
  • We propose to create an injectable reagent that can quickly reprogram the patient’s immune cells (particularly T lymphocytes) to recognize and destroy ovarian tumors.
  • In contrast to standard chemoradiation therapies, nanoparticle-mediated targeting can direct T cells to selectively destroy only ovarian cancer cells, without damaging healthy tissue or producing toxic side effects.
This just made sense to me and gives me a lot of hope.  Remembering my own treatment and how awful the side effects were, the thought of target therapy with minimal to no side effects makes me almost giddy.  A big WOOT! to Dr. Stephan for coming up with the idea and another round of WOOT! to the Scientific Advisory Board of OCRF for recognizing and choosing him. I am thrilled to be a small part of it. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Grand Finale

I've been posting my list of highlights and lowlights of the last five years.  It's been fun to re-live each state and recall what made it special.  There was no ONE favorite state or best race; they were all incredible in their own way.  I could probably add another 50 or so facts and tidbits about the journey but it somehow feels like it has come to an end.  But here's some exciting news...
OCRF asked me to be a Partner in Science.  As a donor, I am able to select an OCRF Scientific Advisory Committee approved scientist to receive the $107,115 raised by my 50x50x100 campaign.  I am in the process of reading summaries of research and choosing a candidate.  For a geek like me, it is a dream come true.  I will get to see first-hand where your money is going and how it is impacting science and study and ovarian cancer research.  How cool is that?  And what a great way to put the "icing on the cake" of this campaign!
Thanks to everyone for following me along this journey, supporting my efforts, cheering me on, donating even in tough economic times and always believing that I could accomplish this. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

The List Continues

LEAST AMOUNT OF RACERS: North Dakota.  Shortly before the race in North Dakota, there was terrible flooding that almost cancelled the event completely.  Many homes were destroyed and people were displaced.  The venue had to change but the race director was determined to proceed.  Six people competed in the Olympic distance event.  By far the smallest race I have ever been part of.
BEST MUSIC: Virginia.  Luray Triathlon wins here.  Rocking tunes to help me cross the finish line and as a side note, peanut butter and jelly for a post-race snack.  Nice touch.
BEST POST RACE FOOD: Alabama. Even though the pb&j in Virginia was fun, the hot, spicy Jumbalaya in Alabama not only filled my stomach but it warmed my soul.  Yum!
FLATTEST COURSE:  Georgia.  Jekyll Island is a barrier island and flat as a pancake.  I didn't like it as much as you would think because I rely on the hills to gain speed. Flats aren't my thing.  There wasn't much shifting or variation in position with the terrain being the same, so after a while it was kind of boring too.  Beautiful but not my cup of tea.
LONGEST LINGERING EFFECTS OF A RACE: Louisiana.  Swamp rot as diagnosed by my dermatologist. Brought on by infectious waters. Contagious, fast spreading. Totally gross. Lasted two weeks post race.
LATEST RACE START: Nevada.  Called the Showdown at Sundown, this Las Vegas event went off at 4 pm.  It totally messed with my head, as I didn't know how to eat that day.  Around noon my mom suggested I take a nap and start the day all over again. I did just that and had my morning oatmeal at 1:30 pm.  It was unique, beautiful and a nice change.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Some Quirky Facts

These don't go under the heading of the least, most, best or worst because they are one-of-a-kind (or almost) incidences.  Call them quirky little facts from along the journey.
STATES DONE BACK TO BACK IN SAME WEEKEND: New Jersey and Maryland....and....Delaware and Virginia.  I know, I'm nuts!
DIFFICULT T1: Maine.  T1 is the transition time from the swim to the bike.  The race in Maine was particularly tricky because I got my timing chip stuck and couldn't get my wetsuit off.  Coupled with a calf cramp and it made for one of my slowest T1s to date.
ONLY PLACE I WANTED A T-SHIRT FROM: Arkansas and a little town called, Toad Suck.  Yep, that's right. And believe it or not, I had to hunt for a shirt with the town name on it.  When I asked a local where I could find one, he looked at me like I was crazy.  Really?  They don't sell them on every corner with a town name like that?  I finally found one at the Harley dealer.
SMALLEST RACE AND BIGGEST HEART: Wisconsin.  The folks of Portage were some of the loveliest I have met.