Son Inspires Dad to Run Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Marathon
Contact:Liz Olsen (224) 422-0056
Son’s Survival Leads to Fundraising Effort Through Team-in-Training
Fairfax, VA, March 4, 2013 — It’s lacrosse season again at the Goold household, and Glen Goold is thrilled to be in the Falls Church High School bleachers watching his 17-year-old, Spencer, play. Spencer, who plays in the attack position, missed all of last season, and spent more time in the hospital than outside as his body fought an aggressive and fast-growing leukemia.
A long-time competitive player, Spencer played his first game in more than 18 months on March 1st, and contributed four assists in his team’s victory. “He absolutely loves lacrosse, and now that he’s able to play, I wouldn’t miss a game for anything,” Goold said. “It’s so great to see that smile on his face again.”
Spencer’s recovery from leukemia – which was a 50/50 gamble at first – has also inspired his father to return to marathon training, an endurance sport he knows well but had been away from for a while. He’s got more than a half-dozen marathons and triathlons under his belt, but this time, he says, “I run for a reason.”
Goold is part of a 125-person team raising money to support The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, which funds multi-million-dollar research studies on new leukemia treatments.
“After months in the hospital with my son, and seeing the devastating effect of leukemia on other families, I wanted to really do something that would give these families hope for a cure. I joined Team In Training to put my energy into action. We are very fortunate that Spencer is alive today,” he said, “but we know families who were not so lucky. When I think of ‘hope for a cure,’ I think of names.”
Spencer, who was 16 when he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, spent the first five months of 2012 in the hospital undergoing an aggressive chemotherapy treatment that would first destroy and then allow his body to rebuild his immune system. His AML didn’t require a bone marrow transplant – a last-resort therapy – but two of his siblings were a perfect blood match, and were ready to help. Even when he was given a 50% chance of survival, the doctors said that was much better than patients faced just 10 years ago. His body responded and Spencer went into remission in May 2012; no evidence of cancer remains. Today, after studying in the hospital to stay on track for graduation, he’s been accepted to college and is enjoying his senior year.
Soon after Spencer’s health returned, his father began training for the Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Marathon which takes place in Washington, D.C. on March 16th. Goold had shaved his head to be bald the same five months his son was bald, and his son’s fighting spirit inspires him on the long runs.
“On our team’s recent 16-mile run, I thought of all the people who supported us,” Goold said. “It was both a heart-wrenching and heartwarming time in our lives,” Goold says of his wife and five children. “The community rallied around us.” (Neighbors provided home-cooked meals every other night for months and a house-cleaning service; Spencer received 400 cards on his birthday.)
“It was our longest run yet, and it was a windy and rainy day. We were about half-way done when we ran by my car. It was tempting to stop. I knew the road ahead was uphill into a stiff wind and cold, cold rain, and I thought about my son and all the people who helped us through. I thought of all the people we have met along our journey who have been affected by this disease. And I thought, ‘If what I’m doing will lend some help to the next generation of leukemia patients, then surely I can run another eight miles in the wind and rain,’” he said.
Goold’s team, from D.C., Maryland and Virginia, has raised raise more than $200,000 toward a cure and to help families facing a lymphoma or leukemia diagnosis.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training is an endurance sport training program that prepares thousands of participants annually for marathons and half marathons runs, triathlons and century rides. Since 1988, 570,000 participants have raised more than $1.3 billion to help LLS fund research and support patients through treatment. As the largest private funder of blood cancer research, LLS focuses its research grants on today’s most promising advances that have seen breakthrough results, including targeted therapies and immunotherapies. Team In Training recruitment gets underway this month for the fall endurance events including marathons in San Francisco, Baltimore and D.C., the Sea Gull century ride, and Nation’s Triathlon in Washington, D.C. http://www.teamintraining.org/nca.