Beating Cancer to the Finish Line
Allie Ciulla is only 19, but has been living the life of a leukemia survivor since she was a baby – and she’s not taking anything for granted. In fact, most days she feels able to handle anything life brings.
Like someone who counts her blessings after a scare, Allie has thrown herself into so many things that help her give back for her good fortune. As a two-year-old, she became a poster child for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, cheering on its teams of runners at marathons. A few years later, when her aunt Dianna Bacon from Frisco and Allie’s parents, Steve and Andrea Ciulla of Denton, ran their first marathon in her honor she was there to inspire them. By 2009 Allie would cross her first finish line, having run the Dallas marathon as part of her aunt and uncle’s relay team. Today, she’s a college student with hopes of someday working in a hospital that treats kids with cancer. And she ran her 6th half marathon March 24, 2013, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Dallas Half Marathon, as part of LLS’ Team In Training (TNT).
“As a baby, I was an honored teammate,” Allie said. “I served as an example for all the others, to inspire them to run. Now, they inspire me. I run so many of these that I could train on my own, but I’m more motivated when I’m with everyone else,” she said.
Allie wears her name on the front of her purple TNT jersey as she runs, and the names of other patients for whom she runs are on the back. Her Aunt Dianna will join her at this race, also in her purple jersey, after years of supporting LLS through its marathon, cycling and triathlon programs. Dianna speaks highly of TNT’s connection to the mission of finding a cure for leukemia and lymphoma, but also of its ability to teach novice runners and re-ignite a spark among veteran runners.
“It’s not all about the running,” she says, “there’s a great camaraderie among our teammates. In the freezing cold or when it’s 100 degrees out, you’re not out there training by yourself; you’re with a team. Rather than be a lone runner, I look forward to running with them.”
About Rock ‘n’ Roll Dallas
The Rock ‘n’ Roll Dallas Half Marathon featured live bands and cheerleaders interspersed with themed water stations along each mile of the scenic course. A free two-day Health & Fitness Expo kicked off race weekend, featuring more than one hundred fitness retailers, exhibits, free samples and interactive clinics. Race day concluded with a finish line celebration and headlining performance by Andy Grammer at Fair Park. For more information about the Rock ‘n’ Roll Dallas Half Marathon, please visit Competitor.com or follow @RunRocknRoll on Twitter.
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 Chicago, San Francisco and Fort Worth, Nation’s Triathlon in Washington, D.C., and a century ride in Las Vegas. To sign up: http://www.teamintraining.org/ntx