Greetings and Happy Tuesday!
I’m not exactly sure where the time has gone, but somehow it’s already March. Not sure where you’re reading this from, but the weather this week in Colorado is perfect for running outside, which is lovely. [This picture was from yesterday’s run.] It’s been a jam packed (and fulfilling) winter quarter of grad school, but it’s soon coming to a close and I’m so excited to write you today.
We already have 32 PEOPLE on our 3rd Annual Running for Nana team!! I cannot wait to join with you May 16th-17th to Run for Nana in support of Achieving Cures Together and their tireless fight to end C. difficile. Our fundraising has also begun, and we’ve already raised over $650! THANK YOU to everyone who has already joined our team and/or donated – we truly couldn’t do this without you and are so grateful for you!
If you’d like to join our team, we would LOVE to have you, and there’s no time like the present to register because rates increase at 11:59 PM tomorrow (3/11/20). All the registration information can be found here. Also, if running isn’t your thing but you’d still like to participate, I invite you to visit our team Achieving Cures Together fundraising page here!
Who are you running for?
This is a question I’ve written in at the bottom of my race training calendar each month. I’m going for a personal record this year in the half marathon, and this question has been a way to refocus and re-energize on tough training days. If I remember that I’m running for my Nana, it’s a lot easier to put in the work.
In that same vein, I’ve been reflecting on how much our team has grown since we first started in 2016. I am so grateful for and inspired by the growing support for this adventure and the fight to end C. diff. I realize that many folks who are now part of our RFN family never met Nana, which makes it all the more extraordinary that they’ve joined in the fight. Though we are Running for Nana to help end the infection that took her life, her life was so much more than the months that she fought C. diff. Therefore, I thought I would use today’s blog post to share her story.
Nana grew up during the Great Depression on a small farm in Minerva, OH, where she lived with her mom, brother, and grandfather – her hero and best friend. They lived without electricity until she was 6 and without indoor plumbing until after she graduated high school. Nana worked incredibly hard throughout her life, and prioritized her family above everything else. There is so much about her life pre-grandkids that I would love to share, but for sake of brevity, I will I skip to the part that I know best! (And if you’re at our house sometime, you’re welcome to read her autobiography!).
Shortly before Abbe (my older sister and her other grandchild) was born, she packed up her life and bravely moved from Ohio to Colorado. Joan became “Nana” and our closest friend and companion. She took care of us while our parents were at work, and if you asked her, she’d tell you this was “the BEST job” she ever had. Through phone calls, sleepovers at her house, target runs, and a myriad of concerts, holidays, and events, we had the immense privilege to spend almost every day with her in some way.
She and our mom, Kim, were the best of friends, and she always wanted to be wherever “her girls” were. When Abbe and I went to college in Minnesota, she learned how to text, email, and work the computer (and an iPad!) to keep in touch, and made several trips to visit us in MN as well. She kept up with her friends and family through frequent phone calls, letters, weekly hair appointments, and lunch dates. She enjoyed watching musicals, mystery shows, and Lawrence Welk, and was an avid lover of sports cars.
In January 2015, Nana was diagnosed with lung cancer. She began chemo and (later) radiation at the age of 83 because she wasn’t about to let cancer get in her way. The treatment and side effects were very physically and mentally challenging, but yet she was rarely too tired to chat with loved ones or make time for a good movie (The Music Man was her personal favorite).
In May 2015, in the midst of her cancer treatment, she contracted C. diff. Over the next three months, Nana showed immense strength and courage as she rallied time and again to beat this awful infection. After an incredible fight, we lost our beautiful Nana on August 17, 2015.
She spent her life caring for the people she loved and in so doing, taught us how to love each other. It’s with immense gratitude that we miss her every day, knowing that we will always learn new lessons from her stories, laughter, and life.
I truly believe that because of the work that Achieving Cures Together is doing, there will be a day when people no longer suffer from the awful consequences of C. diff, and until that day, I’ll keep running. I would love to know what motivates you to keep running, too!
Thanks for reading (or re-reading!) a bit about our special Nana, and thanks again for being a part of this adventure. Will write again soon!