A few years ago, Kyle and I started a pretty cool holiday tradition. While attending college full-time and working part-time, we were both on a tight budget. Like many couples, we set a spending limit on our Christmas gifts to each other so our wallets wouldn’t be stretched too thin. Setting a limit allowed us to get gifts for everyone on our lists, pay all of our bills on time, and afford to travel to see family for the holidays.
The most meaningful part of this tradition for me was that a portion of our spending limit has always been allocated to charitable donations. Every year, we each make a donation in the other’s name to a charity that is important to us. Over the years we have supported Oxfam America, Vitamin Angels, Doctors Without Borders, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Kiva, and more. It is really important to me that even while we had very little to give, we maintained the practice of donating to organizations that worked to help those who were less fortunate than us.
Three years ago, we began another tradition of supporting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training on at least an annual basis. My Dad started cycling with Team in Training in 2010 to raise funds for life saving cancer research. Since joining TNT, he has completed three Seagull Century rides on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride century in Lake Tahoe, NV, and the Fletcher Flyer in Asheville, NC. I have enjoyed attending his fundraising events and cheering on Dad during his rides with my Mom, Jan, and my sister, Meghan, beside me.
This past fall, Mom asked me if I would be interested in increasing my support of Team in Training by getting off the sidelines and participating in an event myself. She offered to give me a few days to consider it, but it was a no-brainer for me. I needed no time at all to decide that I was in. I am thrilled to announce that Mom, Meghan and I will join other Team in Training participants this April to complete the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in Washington, DC. We might walk, run, or crawl across the finish line, who knows. But we are committed to meeting our fundraising goals and completing the race together.
I am running in memory of some dear family and friends who are no longer with us, but who have left an indelible mark on my life and have helped shape me into the woman I am today. I will carry with me a list of those I am running for on the day of the race. At the top of the list will be two strong, beautiful women who have had a profound impact on my life: Kyle’s mother, Barbara Downey, who lost her battle with cancer and was taken from us on January 17th, 2011, and my grandmother, Elizabeth Klemming, who passed away on November 14th, 2012.
It is hard to find a person whose life has not been touched by cancer. If you would like to join me in funding blood cancer research, please visit the Team McDowney fundraising page and make a donation. If you make a donation and have a loved one that you would like me to add to the “in memory of” list that I carry with me on race day, please send me his or her name at vegologyblog[at]gmail[dot]com.
For more information, please visit TeaminTraining.org. I don’t often post fundraising opportunities on this blog, but because this cause is so close to my heart, I wanted to share it with you. Thank you for taking the time to read the first chapter of my TNT story. We’ll get back to the food news later this week!