I could bore you all with long and grueling details of my 26.2 mile run on Sunday, May 19th, as many long distance runners often do. I could try to educate you on the discipline and training involved in accomplishing such a feat. I’m choosing not to tell that story because that is not what was important about the day. That day was about someone else. It was about a nine year old little girl, and those 26.2 miles of running were about helping her and her family.
About two months ago I received a phone call from my friend Tammy. She has a non-profit organization, Tammy’s Friends (www.tammysfriends.org), which assists families who have a loved one with cancer. She wanted to organize a 5k race to help a local family who would be in need in the very near future. Unfortunately we didn’t feel we could organize a race within the time she had envisioned. Because of that call I began to think there may be something I could do to help. I was registered to run the Cleveland Marathon, and I was in the middle of my training. I had run two marathons for myself, and maybe it was time I turn my work into something that could benefit someone else. I had a wonderful support system including family and friends who I knew would be willing to help out.
The next morning I returned a call to Tammy and discussed my idea with her. She still had some other ideas she planned to carry out, but we agreed this could provide the family with immediate assistance. With that I was on my next journey, and that was to not complete a marathon but instead to complete “Roxy’s Run.”
Roxy is a nine year old little girl who used to attend my son’s daycare until she became a big kid. They now attend the same elementary school but in different grades. Roxy has been diagnosed with an Ewing Tumor which is at the base of her spine and around her pelvis. This has been causing her tremendous pain for nearly a year. She is facing potentially 12 months of chemo and radiation treatments. During this time her mother will be taking a leave of absence from work to care for her along with the assistance of Roxy’s two year old little sister.
Beginning in May, I started sending out emails and messages to all my contacts in my email account and social networking accounts. I also asked my mother, a cancer survivor, to spread the word back at home. Within minutes of my communications going out people were responding they had made a contribution online. They would also share their own stories of how cancer had affected them or a loved one. The stories were amazing, and I felt so blessed people were willing to share them with me. I also had many people offer to provide other forms of assistance to the family if it was needed. Having people offer support to a family they did not know reminded me there are so many kind, caring, and selfless people in this world.
To date friends and family have donated over $600 to help Roxy and her family. This will easily provide the family with groceries for two months and one or two family nights with carry out pizza. I feel my goal has been met, and the journey has been heartwarming to say the least.
I did complete the Cleveland Marathon in just over five hours. I just missed my goal time of crossing the finish line in under five hours (5:01:49), but again, the run was not about me. It was Roxy’s Run.
-Suzy Schroeder, Head of Library Electronic and Media