May 18 2014
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With Cancer in Rear View, Rock ‘n’ Roll Portland Half Marathon is Her Next Finish Line

Portland, May 3, 2013 –  As a leukemia survivor, Lynnette Wilcox is an inspiration to the team of athletes preparing for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Portland Half Marathon, May 19th.  As they gather each week in Portland’s parks to train, they hear stories like Lynnette’s and are reminded of the reason they joined the team – to raise funds to support The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s cancer research. But Lynnette is not there just to motivate them toward their common goal. She is now one of them.

               Diagnosed as a teenager with acute lymphocytic leukemia – a common childhood leukemia – Lynnette had long thought about joining Team In Training, the large marathon-training program that funds LLS’ mission. LLS focuses its research grants on today’s most promising advances that have seen breakthrough results, including targeted therapies and immunotherapies, as well as the prevention of later problems that stem from chemotherapy treatment. When her doctors said long-distance walking may help her prevent some of the long-term effects of chemotherapy, she joined. The camaraderie of the team has meant new friends and a new purpose in her life.

               “I’m also a mentor to new participants,” she said. “I’m especially grateful to be able to give back to this team, which has raised money for patients like me for so long. I give them my support and encouragement. When we walk together, I listen to their stories about the people they love who have cancer. I have a new appreciation for what my family went through when I was sick.”

               While cancer has been in her rear view mirror for 18 years now, Lynnette finds herself compelled to be a continuing part of the solution to this disease: funding scientists who will someday discover a cure. For Lynnette, that someday is today. As a teammate and mentor, her presence encourages new patients and their families that there is hope for long-term survival. She uses the team as a metaphor.

               “When I first joined, I thought ‘It took a team of doctors, nurses and scientists to save my life; it’s fitting that it will take a team to get me to the finish line,’” she said.

               “I dedicate this race to the memory of a man I met in the hospital who also had ALL. He was my mentor – he taught me what to expect from leukemia, and we became good friends. Most of all, he believed in the power of positive thinking. By supporting LLS, my hope is that I will be able to help other cancer patients go on to achieve the goals they had set before cancer,” she said, “just as I have.”

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 marathon 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 the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco, and the legendary Berlin Marathon. To sign up: http://www.teamintraining.org.