There is something very special about using my hands and feet to benefit others.
My best friend, Christy, and I have been running together for about a year and a half. We have run 5K’s, did the training series for the Mini Marathon, and did our first ever half marathon with that event. We celebrated our “run-iversary” by running the Fishers Freedom Festival 5K which was our first ever 5K in 2010.
After we completed our first ever half marathon in May, we weren’t sure what would come next. Christy had a stress fracture in her foot so she was on the “disabled list” for a while. I needed a break from running.
But then there was a Groupon for Team In Training. Instead of paying the $100 registration fee, you would pay $25 for the Groupon and could register with Team In Training for one of their fall events. We can’t resist a good Groupon. So we bought it, went to the informational meeting, got inspired and fired up, and immediately signed up for fall events. I signed up for the Indianapolis Half Marathon which is run at Fort Benjamin Harrison. Christy signed up for the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco (she’s doing the half marathon, not the full).
The hard part of Team In Training isn’t the running. The hard part is the fundraising. Team In Training was created as a fundraising program to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. You sign up, raise money, train for a running or cycling or triathlon event, and you end up helping to fight cancer. What I like about raising money for LLS is that the money is used for more than cancer research- it’s used to fund drug research, education, support for patients as well as family, and is even used to fund treatment for blood cancer patients. In their July issue, Runner’s World Magazine had a special section devoted to running for the fight against cancer and highlighted the Team In Training experience.
Last night, Christy and I made a healthy dinner at my church as a fundraiser. My church has a weekly dinner and there is an opportunity for those who partake in the dinner to give money to cover the food expense and also give to the group that is preparing the food. Christy and I hoped this would be something fun we could do that would not only give us the chance to raise some money, but also give us the chance to offer a healthy, nutritious, delicious dinner.
We made a pasta and salad bar. We made angel hair pasta and garden rotini. We had sauce donated by Olive Garden- marinara and meat sauce. We had received donations and discounts from vendors at the Fishers Farmer’s Market so we also offered sautéed mushrooms and zucchini and yellow squash (sautéed in olive oil with onion and fresh garlic). Our salad bar consisted of a basic salad mix, baby spinach, broccoli, red onion, green peppers, carrots, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, blueberries, peas, and crimini mushrooms.
Not only were we fighting cancer by raising money, we were offering a buffet of cancer fighting foods and superfoods. I put some links in that last sentence that are definitely worth reading so feel free to click them open in new tabs or windows and go learn about these awesomely healthy foods.
We did raise some money towards our fundraising efforts. On a more personally rewarding level, we received great feedback and compliments from people who greatly appreciated the healthy offerings. The salad enhancements were so easy to do- peeling and chopping carrots, cutting up mushrooms, cutting cucumbers and so on. Christy and I enjoyed our time in the kitchen together (and are very grateful for the cutting and peeling and chopping help from our friend, Nancy, and my husband, Jeff) and especially enjoyed the colorful presentation we were able to offer to families. Moms thanked us for the foods their kids loved to eat- peas, blueberries, spinach, grape tomatoes. Adults thanked us for the baby spinach along with the salad mix- many find it easier to digest (and it’s incredibly healthier for you!).
Best of all, we were able to incorporate cancer fighting foods into our fight to end cancer. Spinach, peas, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes, garlic, tea- all are foods thought to have nutrients that are beneficial in fighting and even preventing cancer. It was a night that represented everything that matters to us in choosing to do Team In Training. We want to be active and strong so we train to run a half marathon. We want to help others who are fighting the battle against blood cancers. We want to eat foods that strengthen our bodies. Serving a healthy meal that benefited our fundraising efforts took all of that into account.
Running with Team In Training allows me to use my feet for others. Cooking this fundraising, healthy meal allowed me to use my hands for others. There is something very special about using my hands and feet to benefit others.