June 12, 2010 Tri-Latta Honored Hero Speach - Inspiration Dinner
Welcome all the TNT Tri-athletes and athletic supporters (I’ve always wanted to say that!)
My name is Jill Powers and I’ve been invited to be your Honored Hero Speaker for this evening’s festivities. I’m a Non- Hodgkin’s Follicular Lymphoma Survivor and -- with your help -- I will continue to fight and one day I hope to live “Lymphoma Free” without the threat of the cancer coming back or developing another cancer as a side effect. Let’s just eradicate the crap out of cancer all together!!!
Let me share with you a little bit about what TNT means to me. I started participating in TNT events in late 2004 all because my sister, Annette, signed up for the Vancouver ½ Marathon in my honor shortly after I was diagnosed. This was one way she felt she could help me in my battle. I was so charged by her ambition, that I signed up as well for the Alaska ½ Marathon, which I completed in June 2005. Since then, I’ve become what I call “a TNT Junkie!” I can’t seem to get enough. It’s not about the events themselves or the challenges (ok maybe, a little,) but it’s about the mission, people, and family that I have made through my TNT journey – TNT just seems to be my kind of “Group Therapy.”
“Group Therapy” – you think I’m joking – but it’s no joke. TNT is the most positive place I could have put myself on this lifelong frustrating journey in the blood cancer battle. You see, my cancer is not curable. At least not today anyway. How many times will I have to make it to the treatment finish line? I have been through chemo and remission once…. I’ve already been there, done that and now I’m starting the journey all over again in July as a patient in a clinical trial.
I will be relocating to Houston, TX in July for 2-3 months for a clinical trial at MD Anderson Cancer Center and you can bet on it that TNT will be my “group therapy” while I am there. Keep your fingers crossed that it works. I’m doing my best to keep physically & mentally healthy so I won’t have to venture in to the land of a Bone Marrow Transplant any time soon.
You should be proud to know that the money you raise through TNT helps fund research and trials, like the one I will be doing.
So on the eve of this event , whether it’s your 1st or your 11th TNT event like me; be proud and hold your head up high (ok, not for the swim part unless spotting) and know that you are making a difference in the lives of many!! You may not have had a personal connection to blood cancers when you started your training 4 months ago, but I’m sure that’s changed now.
It always amazes me to hear the stories people share when you reach out to do something good for others. You learn so much not only about yourself, but about how small the world is and how connected we all are. Cancer is not picky; no one escapes this life without knowing someone who has it or is personally affected by it.
People tell me they are amazed by my attitude towards life & my cancer - let me tell you I’ve got “TUDE” and I’m sure that’s what gets me through sometimes or maybe it’s my stubbornness, but I’m going to kick cancer’s butt as many times as it takes! No pity party here! Move on with life, live it, take chances, and make the most of it. Just LIVE and enjoy the little moments as well as the big ones. And all of you help make it possible for me to have this attitude.
I am proud to call all of you teammates & more importantly teammates in the battle against Blood Cancers. I wish I would be able to see all of your shiny/salty faces as you cross the finish line tomorrow, but I think it will be the other way around; you will probably be waiting for me. As my Georgia Team can attest, I am pretty pokey. But I will finish with a smile on my face and a hug for each and every one of you! You are all rockstars and heroes in my book!!
Tomorrow morning as you get up early, correction-very early, enjoy every minute of the day! Even when you think you can’t go any further and want to give up – don’t – you’ve trained for this – you’ll get to the finish line!!
Again, many thanks for the millions of us whose lives are touched by the struggle with cancer. Every stroke you swim, mile you ride & run or walk tomorrow is one mile closer to a cure!!!!
One final note – I would like to personally dedicate my event tomorrow to Dani, the Georgia Chapter’s Honored Hero. She joins us this weekend with her family to celebrate life. Dani is currently in treatment and I wish her a long and happy life filled with love, laughter, health and only good memories of her cancer journey. Yes, there can and will be good, if not great memories.
Now go out there and kick some TNT Butt!!! GO TEAM!!!!