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September 15, 1997

Opinion

Leukemia Society "Team in Training"

  I am participating in the Leukemia Society's "Team in Training" program and am writing to ask for your help in one of the most personally meaningful challenges of my life. As a participant in this program, I will be running in honor of two people who are both fighting a form of lymphoma. The Leukemia Society of America helps with not only leukemia, but also lymphoma, Hodgkin's lymphoma, and multiple myeloma.
  
   Last summer I felt helpless as my mom told me that a very special lady in my life had been diagnosed with a cancer known as lymphoma. She is not only special to me, but to hundreds and hundreds of children, teenagers, and young adults who love to dance. I first met Miss Linda as a 7 year old dance student. She always made sure that my hair was tucked when practices started. It was also Miss Linda who scolded me when I performed in the Ballet recital with the grace of an elephant (on purpose!). As I got older, she would take me to see the action-adventure movies that my mom didn't want to see. She went with me downtown to Westlake Mall to help me convince my mom that I had found the perfect dress for the prom. She has continued to be an integral part of my life, even as I enter my senior year of college. Most of all, she has always been there to listen when I felt like no one else was, and to provide emotional support when I needed it most. Linda Bowman is an incredible woman. She has shown this as she faces her monthly treatments with courage and dignity. Through it all, she has displayed her absolute joy and love for life.
  
   I was again saddened when my close high school friend was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease in May of this year. I agonized with her waiting for the final diagnosis. When it was confirmed, I began to do some research on this disease and found out that it, too, is a form of lymphoma. Thirty years ago the average life span for a person diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease was only three years. Now in most cases this disease is 90% curable. Hodgkin's mostly affects individuals between the ages of 18-24, although it can occur in all age groups. As my young friend faces chemotherapy and radiation, I realize that I can no longer sit back and do nothing.
  
   As a result, I am a part of a "Team in Training" for the Leukemia Society of America. We are getting prepared for the 26.2 mile marathon that awaits us in Victoria B.C. on Oct. 12. I have never run a marathon before and although I am feeling nervous, I feel confident I will finish. On the day of the race, I will wear Linda and Regina's names around my wrist and run the marathon in their honor.
  
   My goal is to raise $2000 by the fundraising deadline which is Oct. 5th. I must have $800 raised by July 25th. As you can see, I have a lot of work to do! The money that is raised will go to four different areas in research, patient aid, public and professional education, and community service. The Team in Training program is sponsored by Runner's World Magazine and Brooks running shoes so the administrative costs are kept to a minimum. This allows your donation to strictly go to the Leukemia Society of America.
  
   If you can support this effort with $25, $50, $75 or whatever amount-THANK YOU! Please make your check out to "Leukemia Society of America" and get it back promptly, so I can accurately keep track of donors. If you can't financially support this effort, I still would appreciate any prayers and good wishes you could send along! Thank you so much!!
  
   Marissa Ziegler
   508 E. Ivy St. #201
   Bellingham, WA 98225