It’s something I say on occasion at the end of my classes…
Today especially, that sentiment holds true.
I will lead a fundraising ride for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as part of my Woman of the Year Nomination Campaign. The ride, and my campaign, are dedicated to Ryan Alarcon. In case you missed it the first time, here’s why LLS has become important to me…
Ryan could be my son. He could be yours. Cancer knows no boundaries and it certainly is not fair.
We raise money to help families like his, and hope never for families like our own.
Occasionally I get the opportunity to use my twistedness for good. When that good deed involves kids, it’s hard for me to say no. Shockingly, my heart does warm on occasion.
When I was asked to be one of the nominees for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Woman of the Year, I didn’t accept initially. I constantly run in a million different direction- juggling Mom duties, maintaining a household, teaching 10 times a week at Flywheel Sports, blogging daily on this site, and naturally, plotting my master plan to take over the world. I’m not all Mother Theresa; I do occasionally I try to manage a social life as well. So a 10 week fundraising campaign for LLS was not something I thought I could squeeze in.
and then I met Ryan…
Ryan is the LLS Boy of the Year, and he is also a cancer survivor. Yes, he is even more delicious in person.
The first time we met, I made arrangements with his Mom for a visit. I still wasn’t sure I could accept the nomination at such a hectic time in my life. Yet I knew I needed to learn more about Ryan and his family before I turned it down.
What met me at the door when I arrived was not what I expected. Turned out, I knew his mother. I used to see her all the time at the gym. And then I didn’t see her anymore. Never did I think she disappeared because her son was fighting for his life. You really don’t know what goes on in other people’s houses, do you?
Ryan and I sat on the floor with his new puppy while Mia did her homework and watched us. We talked about basketball, we played a video game, and I was reminded of what it was like playing with my own 5 year old son not that long ago. He showed me pictures of his treatment, and I listened to his Mom, Christy, tell me how it is that you discover your young child has a rare form of cancer. On what would otherwise be a typical sunny South Florida afternoon, imagine having your world rocked with news like that. I can’t. It’s my greatest fear. Ever.
I saw what a fighter his Mom is. It’s clear that she juggles numerous balls in the air- two kids, a job, a husband who commutes long distance, a child just recently in remission from cancer…
How could I even think I would decline? I called from the driveway as I left that visit and said, “I’m in.”
When people ask how I got involved with LLS, I say, “Ryan.”
I’m very fortunate in so many ways. Cancer has never effected my family. I see Christy and her husband, Carlos, as parents just like myself. Parents that would do anything for their children. And I see Ryan and Mia as normal kids. Normal kids that, out of the blue, were effected by Leukemia. I listened as Christy told me about the kind of care and amazing doctors that Ryan had at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. I know the funds I raise during this LLS campaign will provide for the treatment, research, and resources that will help other families like Ryan’s in the future.
I’m asking…as a mother and as a woman whose cold heart was thawed by a 5 year old with a Mowhawk and a smile that could light the sky, take the time to learn a little about The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Southern Palm Beach County.
Hug the ones you love a little more.
The sun is shining. You woke up this morning.
The world is good.