THIS weekend!

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Bibs…check. Snacks…check. Water and gear (including raincoats)…check.

Extraordinary humans Running for Nana and supporting Achieving Cures Together…CHECK.

I still can’t believe it, but race weekend is now upon us! The fun starts bright and early tomorrow morning with the 5K race, and continues through Sunday with the half marathon. We simply cannot wait to be together and could not be more grateful for the ways in which you continue to support this journey from near and far.

It’s getting late in Denver, so this will be a short post (they say sleep is a good thing!).  Tomorrow, May 19th, marks three years to the day since we brought in hospice care for Nana during her fight against C. diff. We talked often about how she was going to “prove hospice wrong” and she sure rallied time and time again.

She wouldn’t want to focus on that tomorrow, though. Instead, she would be absolutely beside herself just thinking of the incredible ways in which you have helped advance better outcomes for people with C. difficile. She would be there (despite the rain) in her lawn chair and her umbrella (probably with a blanket or two), and I’m sure she’d be sitting at the finish line – keeping an eye out for each of our team members and yelling as loudly as possible when each crossed.

We’ll be listening for you, Nan. I love you more!

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Two weeks to go!

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Though it’s a little hard to believe, we’re already just under two weeks away from the weekend of Colfax races!

This photo was taken yesterday from the Museum of Nature and Science, looking out at our beautiful city, mountains, and City Park – where all the races begin and end in just two short weeks.

I am so deeply grateful to share that we already have 16 people who have signed up to be part of the Running for Nana/Achieving Cures Together (ACT) team. We cannot wait to share this weekend together, cross some finish lines, and fight back against C. difficile.

Additionally, I am so thrilled to announce that Peter Westerhaus, the founder of ACT, and his family are coming to Colorado from Minnesota to be a part of this weekend! His dad, Jon, will be joining in the 5K race! We are so thrilled to be able to welcome this incredible family to our Denver paradise (please, Denver weather, play nice) and build more connections in the fight against C. diff.

We have additional travelers as well! I am so thrilled to share that my beautiful sister is coming from Minnesota to race in the 5K, and we have two incredible racers (and incredible humans) coming all the way from Austin, TX! We are so excited to have such an extraordinary group of people together in one place. And, if you have friends or family that are interested in joining, there is still plenty of time to register at this link and we would love to have them join!

We also continue to raise funds and awareness for Achieving Cures Together and the fight against C. difficile. I know Nana would be absolutely floored to hear about the life-changing and life-saving research that is helping others like her fight back against this awful infection. If you would like to join this fight, please visit the crowdfunding page here.

My run tonight was full of reflection about what an incredible adventure this has been over the last couple of years, and how none of it would have been possible without each of you reading this right now. It is also such an immense gift this year to be able to race with an entire team – all Running for Nana. I know that every person’s schedule is packed to the brim each day, especially this time of year, and I cannot express how much of an honor it is that you are sharing part of that time with us. Thank you so, so much.

Now back to the pavement – we’ve got miles to go before we race! Cheers to you, Nan. I love you more!

 

A month to go, and the team still grows!

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Happy Sunday and happy Earth Day! In celebration of Earth Day, here’s a photo from a couple years ago on Sanibel Island, one of Nana’s most favorite places.

So. Here’s where we’re at. Clearly someone pushed the fast forward button on winter/spring 2018 because somehow, we’re already a month out from the Colfax Races. How is that even possible?!

And, while I’m not sure the training readiness has moved quite as quickly as 2018, I am unbelievably excited to share that our team continues to grow. [DRUMROLL]

At last count, there are already FOURTEEN incredible humans who have signed up to Run for Nana in one of the Colfax races! I am absolutely blown away by the generosity of spirit, time, talent, treasure, and encouragement with which you continue to grace this adventure, and I’m full of gratitude for getting to walk/run/hand cycle this journey together.

Our team so far is comprised of folks coming from as far away as Minnesota and Texas, in addition to many from our amazing state of Colorado. It’ll be a full weekend of celebration, with seven folks racing in the 5K on Saturday, May 19th, and seven racing in the half or full marathon on Sunday, May 20th. I cannot wait for us to be together, to cross some finish lines, and to raise awareness for Achieving Cures Together and the fight against C. difficile.

If you’ve been thinking about running one of these races but haven’t signed up yet, there’s still plenty of time to join the team and we’d love to have you! As a reminder, you can sign up for either the 5K, the 10-mile, the half marathon, the full marathon, or the marathon relay (5-person relay). For more information please click here!

Additionally, we completely understand if running isn’t your thing. If you still want to “Run for Nana” (without pulling out those running shoes) please visit the “How Can I Help?” tab above or visit our Crowdfunding page here!: https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/achieving-cures-together1

Honestly, I’ve really been missing Nan recently. I miss her everyday, but the springtime is always a little tougher, as this is when her health challenges began to take a turn three years ago. Embarking on Round Three with you has been such a healing gift, due in large part to the joy and kindness you’ve sent this way. Nana would be absolutely blown away to know about all the folks behind this adventure, and would have thought we were all out of our minds to run these races 🙂 but she would be so grateful for each of you. I sure am, too.

Cheers to you, Nan. More to come soon!

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We’re [literally] off to the races in Round Three!

Hello and happy April!

I am so very excited to share that we’ve officially kicked off Running for Nana: Round Three! In Rounds One and Two, we partnered with Achieving Cures Together (ACT) and Dr. Alexander Khoruts from the University of Minnesota’s Microbiota Therapeutics Program (MTP) to fight back against the C. difficile infection. Thanks to philanthropic support:

  • Over 100 patients with recurrent C. diff have been successfully treated with the encapsulated microbiota that could not be cured with standard antibiotics – all at no cost to the patient.
  • The MTP was able to bring Dr. Matthew Hamilton, PhD, back to their team. Dr. Hamilton previously worked with the MTP to develop capsules of the fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) to fight C. diff.
  • In 2018, the team will be providing the capsules to the VA to carry out a multi-center, placebo-controlled trial to treat C. diff. The hope is to make the treatment widely available to similar patients across the country, and to continue to explore uses for the treatment beyond C. diff.
  • The team was able to publish their work in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

This progress would not have been possible without you and your incredibly generous support, and I cannot thank you enough for being part of this journey. For more information, visit the About page above.

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So now, more about Running for Nana: Round Three!! [drumroll…]

In Round Three, we are creating a “Running for Nana” Team to run (and/or walk) in partnership with Achieving Cures Together in the Colfax Marathon Weekend – May 19-20, 2018!! And the best part?! I am delighted to invite YOU to join our team – in whatever way is comfortable for you!!

Now, before you get nervous, don’t worry. You don’t have to run a full marathon. You don’t even have to run a half marathon. In fact, there are 5 races to choose from. Here’s the run down on each race, and you can click the links to learn more!

Race Miles The Good Stuff
5K 3.1 Stroller, walker, and dog friendly!
Urban 10 Miler 10 Picks up on the last 10 miles of the marathon course!
Marathon Relay varies A 5-person relay, with legs ranging from 4 to 6.5 miles. On the marathon course!
Half Marathon 13.1 Runs through the Denver Zoo, a working fire station, and beautiful Denver streets
Marathon 26.2 Runs through Mile High Stadium, around several beautiful bodies of water, and through stunning west Denver

Wherever you feel most comfortable, we would love to have you as part of this very fun race weekend.

To register, simply click this link and choose the race that suits you best! Once in the registration page, just click “yes” when the screen looks like the photo below. Then, select our charity partner, Achieving Cures Together (ACT) from the drop down menu and you’ll be on the team! Once you sign up, we’ll be in touch about more details.

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Now, all that said, we completely understand if running isn’t your thing. If you still want to “Run for Nana” and help us fight C. diffplease click here or visit our Team crowdfunding page!

Thank you so much for considering being a part of Round Three!!  Together, we can make a big difference for people currently facing or those that will face C. difficile. More to come along the way!

 

RFN Round 2 Conclusion…stay tuned for Round 3!

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Happy February! I hope this post finds you well in the New Year, maybe still strong in your commitment to your New Year’s resolution…or perhaps in the process of adopting a new one.

It’s been a couple months since the Running for Nana: Round Two races – a 10-mile, a 10K, and a half marathon. We truly couldn’t have crossed the finish lines without your energetic and loving support. We are so humbled by your extraordinary generosity in the fight against C. difficile, which continued throughout the holiday season.

IIMG_7162 am so honored today to share with you the final results from the Running for Nana: Round Two adventure. You may remember that our goal for this race was to raise $10,000 for Achieving Cures Together (ACT). Well, get ready. [insert drumroll here]

Thanks to over 35 individual/family donations, WE MET OUR GOAL!! We cannot tell you how grateful we are to each of you for continuing to help make this dream come true.

But wait, there’s more. [insert second drumroll here, if you’ve got it].

Thanks to an incredibly generous family donation, that goal was matched…TWICE. That means that together in Running for Nana: Round Two, we raised $30,000 for the ACT Team and the fight against C. diff and other awful diseases. Honestly, typing this still feels very surreal. We truly could not have done this without you.

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And the best part? These donations have already made a difference. Here are a couple of highlights from 2017 and a look at 2018 opportunities, shared by Dr. Khoruts, Professor of Medicine at the University of Minnesota and Clinical Director of the Microbiota Therapeutics Program:

  • The team at the University of Minnesota has now successfully treated over 100 patients suffering with recurrent C. difficile infection with the encapsulated microbiota that could not be cured with standard antibiotics. And, it was done at no cost to the patient.
  • The team published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology on the oral capsule preparation of the human gut microbiota.
  • In 2018, the team will be providing the capsule treatment to the Veterans Administration to carry out a multi-center, placebo-controlled trial to treat C. difficile. Through partnership with ACT and donors like you, the hope is that they will be able to make the treatment widely available to similar patients across the country.
  • Also in 2018, the team hopes to start a microbiome study for ulcerative colitis and cancer patients receiving immunotherapy – additional areas where this technology has the potential to make a huge difference.

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As we wrap Running for Nana: Round Two, all we can say is thank you. Thank you for believing in the fight against C. difficile, in ACT and the University of Minnesota, and in my mom and me. We are so passionate about this endeavor and truly believe there will be a day when no one suffers from C. difficile the way Nana did. Thank you so much for helping us move closer – one day at a time.

And finally, stay tuned to this space in the coming weeks, as Running for Nana: Round Three is right around the corner! Spoiler alert – we might be asking you to pick up your running (or walking) shoes this year…more to come very soon!

As always, this one’s for you, Nan – we love you more!

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We. Did. It.

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Though it’s still a little surreal, one week ago today my mom and I wrapped the races of Running for Nana: Round Two with the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon

There honestly isn’t a sufficient way to capture the feeling of crossing the finish line together. Suffice it to say – it was a moment neither of us will ever forget. 

We are both so deeply grateful for your love and support throughout this adventure, and truly couldn’t have crossed the finish line without you. And, thanks to your incredible generosity, we are thrilled to share that we’re now over 80% of the way to our $10,000 goal for Running for Nana: Round Two in support of Achieving Cures Together. We are absolutely blown away and so honored and humbled to be fighting against C. difficile with all of you. You are making an immense difference in the lives of folks who are facing or will face this awful infection, and we are so grateful to be traveling that journey together.

If you would still like to join us in this adventure, we would simply love it! Either click the “How Can I Help?” tab above to learn more or click the link below to be directly routed to the fundraising tab of Achieving Cures Together: https://www.achievingcures.com/marathondonation.

We’ll post a final update soon of our overall fundraising efforts, and we can’t wait to see where we’re able to go together. In the meantime, just wanted to share a few highlights from the race itself.

PhotoPass_Visiting_WDWRUNDISNEY_406303840516We boarded the bus around 3:45 am, and the first corral stepped off at 5:30. Lucky for us, daylight savings had just happened, so not only did we get an extra hour of sleep, but there was also some daylight by the time we really got going (fewer opportunities to trip in the dark – score!).

Also lucky for us, it was cloudy for the whole race. This was huge, because although we trained at high altitude (thank you, Colorado), the humidity was over 90%, and added sunshine would have been pretty tough. 

The course was really neat – it runs through the Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot, and several characters line the route as well.

IMG_7241We knew Nan was right there with us the whole day and around Mile 9, we had one of our best signs yet. As we got closer, we could hear the music from Mary Poppins, and then saw the penguins from the Jolly Holiday scene – Nana loved that movie, and we knew she was cheering us right on. 

By the time we got to Mile 13, we could hardly wait to see that finish line. As soon as it came into view, some awesome level of additional adrenaline kicked in and boosted us all the way through to the end. And, lucky for us, we had Cheerleader Extraordinaire #1 (aka dad/Tom/husband) waiting for us at the finish line! We are truly the luckiest.

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We could write a lot more, but we’ll leave it there for now – the next adventure is on the horizon, so stay tuned!

Thank you so very much for all of the support, love, grace, and joy you’ve sent our way in Running for Nana: Round Two – we are so deeply grateful for you. We are also so blessed to know and be able to support the work of the incredible people fighting hard against C. difficile – Peter and Jon Westerhaus, Dr. Alex Khoruts, and everyone else on the University of Minnesota and Achieving Cures Together teams – thank you for making it possible for us to run to fight C. diff

Because of your research, we truly believe there will be a day when no one will fight against C. difficile the way Nana did. What an extraordinary day that will be. 

As always, this one’s for you, Nan. We love you more!

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10K complete, one race to go!

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6.2 miles later, I’m so excited to share that Race #2 of Running for Nana Round Two is in the books! Couldn’t have asked for a better day for a race (minus the humidity…dry Colorado air, where are you?). It was also the first race I’ve done almost entirely in the dark – we’re excited for Daylight Savings to shed a little more light tomorrow on Race #3!

Although the finish line is incredible, my favorite part of every race is the start line. There’s an unmatched sense of energy, excitement, joy, nerves, and commitment that’s hard to beat. And, shortly after the start line, I had a sign from Nan telling me that she was right there the whole time. Moon River – her favorite song – came on my shuffled playlist of over 100 songs in between Mile 1 and Mile 2! Thanks, Nan 🙂

img_7183.jpgI am also so deeply grateful to my beautiful parents, who came to the start line (we boarded the bus before 4:00 am…) and then came to the finish line and waited until I crossed. Does a girl get any luckier?

 

It’s hard to believe we’re closing in on the big day – the final race of Running for Nana Round Two. Almost a year ago, my mom and I were prepped to run the Disney Half Marathon in January when it was cancelled the night before due to forecasted thunderstorms. We were so deeply disappointed, especially after so many months of training and mentally preparing. But, they were kind enough to let us transfer our registration to another race, and here we are again on the eve of a Half Marathon! What a difference a year makes.

I cannot wait to line up at the start with my beautiful momma tomorrow morning. What a gift it has been to take on this adventure with her! I’ll sign off here for tonight, but can’t wait to share more about tomorrow’s race. If you’d like to join in this adventure, please just click the link herehttps://www.achievingcures.com/marathondonation

Tomorrow, we’re running for Nana!

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Race #2 and #3 have arrived!

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It all feels a little surreal, but I’m writing on the eve of race #2 (and the eve eve of race #3) of Running for Nana Round Two. Where does the time go?!

We’re here at the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend and tomorrow morning (Saturday), I’ll be stepping off at the starting line of the 10K Race! My mom is resting her knees tomorrow and then we’ll BOTH set out at the starting line for the Half Marathon race on Sunday. We are READY for that celebratory post-race glass of wine!

 

Two years ago this month, I officially decided I wanted to run a marathon to celebrate my beautiful Nana and to fight back against C. difficile, the infection against which she rallied time and again. The past two years have been an incredible, unforgettable ride, and I have each one of you to thank.

And, because of you, we’ve already raised $3,585 of our $10,000 goal for Achieving Cures Together and the fight against C. difficile! I am so deeply grateful to everyone who has already joined in this journey. You are truly making a difference in the lives of people fighting C. diff like my Nana. If you would like to support this adventure, please click the link herehttps://www.achievingcures.com/marathondonation.

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I’ll keep this post brief because it’s getting a bit late here at the 10K race steps off at 5:30 tomorrow morning! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your amazing support throughout this journey – and we’re not done yet! I can’t wait to share more after tomorrow’s race as we prep for the final run of Running for Nana Round Two.

Though I always get a little nervous on race eve/day, I’m reflecting tonight on the immense honor it is to run for my Nana. No course is ever lonely and no race is ever too long, because I always have my angel cheering from afar. Cheers to you, Nan. I love you more!

Two weeks to go!

Twin Cities 10 Mile Race…CHECK.

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We couldn’t have asked for a better first race on the books for Running for Nana, Round Two! What an honor it was to cross the finish line with this incredible lady.

AND, thanks to you, I’m thrilled to share that we’ve already raised over $3,000 for Achieving Cures Together and the fight against C. difficile! I can’t tell you how grateful I am to every person who has joined in this adventure already, and I can’t wait to see where we go from here as we get closer and closer to the goal of $10,000. If you’d like to learn more about how to get involved, head on over to the How Can I Help? tab.

In the meantime, our final race weekend is just two weeks away. As we get close, I want to share some reflections on the 10-Mile race day – one that started with this incredible sunrise.

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And, because it rained as a bit as we got lined up (and through our first couple miles), we had a chance to see this gorgeous rainbow. Nan’s sign that she was with us from the start line.

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We took our own pace together, and it was hard to believe how quickly each new mile marker appeared. Encouraged by all of the incredible race-watchers, clever signs, and selfless volunteers, we just had a blast. Even the uphill climb from mile 4 onward felt doable with so much joyful support.

All of a sudden, we were already next to the Basilica, where we’ve all (Nan included) seen my beautiful sister and brother-in-law perform before – it felt surreal. And then, just beyond the Basilica, we finally had the Capitol – and the finish line – in full view.

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There aren’t really words to describe the feeling of crossing a finish line for the first time next to my mom. Suffice it to say, it was a moment I’ll never forget. We were so lucky to have our incredible support dude (aka Dad/Tom) waiting at the finish line, along with the incredible Laura Mascotti!

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And then, we had the opportunity to attend a post-race event for the Achieving Cures Together team. At the event, we had a chance to meet so many of the incredible folks that made Running for Nana (Round One) possible and who continue to do the same in Round Two.

We met Dr. Alexander Khoruts, one of the leaders of the University of Minnesota’s Microbiota Therapeutics Program. Dr. Khoruts has so graciously given of his time and expertise to share information about this life-saving treatment for patients facing C. difficile like my Nana, and has helped to cure over 100 people from recurrent, refractory C. difficile – all at no charge to the patient.

We met Peter Westerhaus, founder of Achieving Cures Together, and his dad, Jon Westerhaus, who organized the ACT Race Team for the Twin Cities 10 Mile and Marathon. Peter was a recipient of the fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) procedure from the University of Minnesota, and started ACT to support research that will help find cures.

In addition, we met Russell Betts, who was formerly with the University of Minnesota Foundation. We worked together often during Round One to get the funding page set up and ensure all of the dollars were going directly to support Dr. Khoruts’ team and their work. Russell and Jon also ran the marathon as part of the ACT Team – incredible!

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It was such an honor and to meet each of these inspiring people, as well as so many other incredible, dedicated supporters of this effort. So grateful for their passionate, tireless work to end C. difficile and other terrible infections.

We’re gearing up for the final two races of Running for Nana Round Two – a 10K and a Half Marathon – at Walt Disney World in two weeks. If you haven’t already joined us on this adventure, I’d like to invite you to join our fight against C. difficile. Each donation moves us closer to the goal and closer to better outcomes for those who are facing or who will face C. diff.

Thank you again for being a part of this journey – it means more to me than I could ever say. Love to each of you!

Aaaaaannnndd…we’re back!

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Good morning, and happy Tuesday!

I’m so incredibly excited to be writing to announce the launch of Running for Nana…Round Two! The plan is pretty simple – tackling three races in the next month to continue the fight against C. difficile. Just like in Round One, I look forward to celebrating the journey with you through this blog and celebrating our efforts to help stamp out C. diff.

In the meantime, head on over to the “About” tab at the top to get the full details! I’d be so honored if you’d consider coming with me on this adventure – I can’t wait to see where we will go together!