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When you see SparkleSister Janet Cross on the race route, you'll notice 15 names on her Team in Training (TNT) jersey. Those are 15 people whose lives have been impacted by blood cancers. Four of them are unfortunately no longer with us. Janet draws inspiration from those people.
"If I’m having a particularly hard training run, I remember those who are fighting and how much harder they have it. I am privileged to be able to run. I have the ability to put one foot in front of the other. Some of those fighting don’t have that opportunity, or never will," said Janet.
Though she claims she joined TNT for "selfish reasons" (to have a coach hold her accountable and create a plan), after she completed her first half marathon in June 2013, she knew she could do better. Since joining, she has learned of friends and family members who are or have been impacted by blood cancers.
For each TNT Season, there is an Honored Hero, someone who is either undergoing treatment or who is a survivor. In 2016, their Hero was Hadley Lehr. According to Hadley's mother, she was "a normal toddler--into kitchen cupboards, emptying drawers as I was filling them with folded clothes, playing on her new slide in the back yard. She had never been on an anti-biotic and her biggest illness had been teething. Then in late 2015, the family's whole world was flipped upside down. Read Hadley's story here as shared by her mother.
Janet said Hadley was undergoing treatment at the start of the season so she didn’t get to attend the kickoff meeting. Unfortunately, Hadley did not survive.
"She wasn’t even two years old. It just reinforced why it’s so important that we beat these cancers," said Janet. "Whenever I run trails, by a lake, through the woods, I am humbled by the beauty that God has given us, that kids like Hadley will never get to experience again. I know my struggles will never compare to theirs."
Having never been a runner, Janet said she wasn't comfortable enough in leggings so having a SparkleSkirt to cover her was a godsend. "I'm out there forever, so I need to carry more fuel. The pockets rock!" They have helped her cross 26 half marathon finish lines. "The feeling of crossing that finish line is something you’ll never forget."
Now, SparkleFamily, we have an opportunity to help kids like Hadley and help Janet reach her $3,120 fundraising goal by May 30, 2017. Visit one of Janet's upcoming race fundraising pages (links below) and if you make a $10 donation and enter "SparkleSpotlight" in the comments, you'll be entered to win the $20 SparkleSkirts gift card, which will be drawn on May 12. Or if you donate $25 during the month of May and enter "5K" in the comments, you can participate in the "Hop(e) for a Cure 5K" virtual race and receive a medal.
We are so very proud to have Janet in the SparkleFamily and wish her the best of luck in her fundraising and training efforts. She will not stop #UntilTheyAllSurvive, so let's help her!