Team in Training has become so wildly successful that it is now the
number-one trainer of marathon runners in the U.S.
In addition to training, the society provides transportation,
lodging, and entry fees for the events. For their part,
participants raise funds - an average of $3,200 - to fight
leukemia, Hodgkin's disease, multiple myeloma, and lymphoma.
"The more I thought about [participating in Team in Training], the
more I realized that it was a way to do two things I've been
wanting to do for a while: get back on the bike, and thus back in
shape, and find a way to really help people," says George Crawford,
whose Knoxville, Tennessee, team competed in the Santa Fe Century
bike ride last summer. "I've long realized that I've been far more
fortunate than so many others, and I just wanted to find a way to
try to bring others up to that level and beyond, if I can."
Perhaps the most rewarding part of participating in Team in
Training is the association that each team has with its "honored
patient," someone suffering from leukemia, lymphoma, or other
related disorders. The society's Web site is filled with stories
like Joanna Polack's: "For me, a patient after a bone marrow
transplant, my experience was that I did what I had to do, there
was no way but forward, choosing life. Now there are so many things
that I consider being 'gifts of cancer.' One is being part of the
Team in Training and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Having
someone run or cycle for you and almost with you gives me a lot of
hope, and hope means that I believe I have a chance to overcome
leukemia. Seeing people who are not patients helping people with
cancer makes a huge difference.
Having people train on behalf of patients shows that cancer doesn't
have to be isolating and living with it doesn't have to be about
pain and fear. What Team in Training brings is a little bit of
normalcy instead of fear."