TNT Claxton Century Honored Hero Speech
Hello Georgia TNT – Claxton Riders!
Last year, I was asked to write an Honored Hero speech that was read to the Claxton team. But, this year, I’m delighted to share my story with you in person, instead of just on paper.
We are all about to embark on another phase of our TNT journey, the actual event for which we’ve trained. WOW! Can you believe the event is here already? Last year, I wished I could be there to watch the team cross the finish line and this year, I’ll be out there with you. In fact, I’m counting on you guys to cheer me on as I cross the finish line because I’m the pokey one on the team.
Ellie asked me to share a bit about myself, so here it goes….
My name is Jill Powers and I’m a Non-Hodgkin’s patient currently in remission from Follicular Lymphoma or, as I like to say, I’m in the “Lymphoma-Free Zone.”
I was diagnosed in Oct 2004 at the age of 35 with this scary disease called Follicular Lymphoma. It is not a curable cancer, but a treatable one – meaning that it’s like a chronic illness that rears its ugly head every once in a while and, hopefully, you make it though the treatments.
From October 2004 until July 2008, my cancer progressed slowly and doctors determined I had no need for treatment. But in Aug 2008, things took a turn for the worse, and the doctors told me I had to start chemo. I had a rigorous treatment – 6 sessions – that ended on Nov 21, 2008. I was thankful that I made it though Chemo with minimal side effects and my sense of humor fully intact!
Since completing chemo, I’ve had to deal with a lot of after-effects - tremendous weight gain and reflux from the heavy course of steroids, headaches, general fatigue and problems with my achilles - just to name a few. I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since Chemo….Happy Chemo-anniversary to me!
I’ve been involved with TNT since Dec 2004 when I starting training for my first of many events with Team. Now, more than four years later, I’ve been privileged to meet and train with so many great people and accomplish things I never even imagined.
Two years ago, prior to starting Chemo, I joined the cycling team to train for the Tahoe Century… and what an experience that was. So, after Chemo, I decided that another Century would be my “Come Back” event. That’s why I’m here with all of you for the Claxton – Crusin In the Country Century! It has been a hard road to get here, but we all made it. Unfortunately, I will not be able to do the full century this year because of the problems I’ve had with my achilles and fatigue issues, but I’m proud and privileged to do the Metric Century – 65 miles isn’t too shabby after all.
I hope to see all of you again for more TNT events in the future. I’m sure you’ll be hooked as I was after my first event. Since then, I have participated in four-and-a-half marathons, a triathlon and a century ride with Team. Yes, I’m a “Triple Crowner!” I guess you could call me a TNT junkie now. I’ve also participated in many other local events not though TNT, but the TNT ones are the best with the best people and the best spirit! Speaking of Triple Crown – I know we have a few teammates that are getting their triple crown at this event – Congratulations Renee, Regina, Elaine and Pam!
As a past & present Honored Hero for TNT, I just wanted to say a BIG thank you! You will not only accomplish an amazing journey when you cross that finish line tomorrow, but you will have help saved many lives along the way – including mine, of course! Every mile you ride tomorrow is one mile closer to a cure!
So as you peddle you way through Claxton tomorrow, enjoy every minute of the day. Even when you think you can’t go any further and want to give up – don’t – you can do this. You’ve trained for this and you WILL get to the finish!!
Now go out there and kick some TNT Butt!!! GO TEAM!!!!