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It's Pocket Change, Really


10-29-2006

Meet Mark Dorman. He's one of Dave's clients out in California. He and his wife Jill are part of Team in Training, a group that does great things for the Leukemia Society (2006 marathon, 2009 marathon). They heard about Jaymun from one of our employees and asked if it would be alright to run a marathon in honor of Jaymun. Alright? It's one of the most beautiful gestures I've yet to come across thus far in Jaymun's treatment. There are no words to thank them for putting themselves out there for the sake of kids with cancer. But I'm sure going to give it a try....

I've run a marathon. It's not easy. It's not glamorous. The training is tough, tough work. When the mileage starts getting up in the double digits, there's many times the thought of quitting sounds mighty appealing. It's a sport of physical endurance and mental strength. So much sweating and pain invested for a goal that seems pretty unreachable in the beginning.

But then you cross that finish line, and it all becomes worth it somehow. All those months of running through brutal weather conditions--the scorching sun, the cold rain, the driving wind--those months somehow just toughen your resolve to make it to the finish. Because that burst  of euphoria at the end, that thrill of triumph rippling through your entire being--that feeling doesn't come along too often in a lifetime.

And in a way, I hope this marathon that Mark and Jill are running is symbolic of Jaymun's fight with cancer. I hope we get to that finish line and hear the doctor pronounce the words, "He's in remission". I hope all these stressful months of worry and medical procedures and chemotherapy result in Jaymun coming home for good. The ultimate finish for our precious boy.

We had the great pleasure of meeting Mark a couple of weeks ago when he came out here for one of Dave's training seminars. Jaymun isn't able to go into public buildings because of his immune system, so we hustled Mark outside to get a quick photo of him holding Jaymun. I sort of suspected Jill would want one. (Just a hunch, Jill!) The poor man isn't used to Wisconsin's balmy 40 degree weather, but he was so delighted to meet our son. Our hasty introduction lasted a mere five or ten minutes, but it was enough time for me to meet a person who understands how important leukemia research is to our family. The medical world is working on a cure and they're making some great leaps and bounds with the ongoing research. But it's not going to happen without ordinary, everyday people making contributions.

There's still time left to donate to Team in Training. The money you give doesn't go to us directly--I think I'd feel guilty if it did. Because this way, your donation helps all kids struggling with leukemia. It gives hope to children who will come after Jaymun--kids who maybe won't have to deal with chemo treatments if the research being done now comes up with a cure. If you already have a cause you gave your heart to, that's great. Cancer isn't the only disease taking the lives of children right now. But if you're at all affected by our story and if Jaymun's sweet smile has inspired you to ask, "What can I do to help?", then please donate. Research is expensive and costly and requires hours and hours of human labor. Your donation by itself may seem so trivial, but I'm pretty sure that nothing will ever get done if we do--well, nothing.

I've heard so many people complain about having no money. It's what we Americans love to do, mainly because we haven't really experienced true poverty. "No money" to us means we can't go on that luxury cruise every year or buy that classy convertible we're drooling over. Think about it. Really think about it. Think about it as you sip that triple caramel latte with extra foam. Think about it as you lace up those $80 Nike athletic shoes. Think about it as you flip through your fifty plus cable TV programs on your big screen high definition TV. Just think what all those individual donations from people like you, added together, could do for kids like our little guy. Mark told me he offers to dig out people's change from their car ashtrays if they don't have their checkbooks. Now, that's a true go-getter. I don't have the means or the time to go rifling through your couch cushions, but I do have one heck of a motivator for you. His name is Jaymun Matthew and we love him to pieces.

I know why Mark runs marathons for Team in Training. I know why he deals with sore, aching muscles and why he campaigns so passionately to collect money for cancer research. It's not because he needs the exercise. It's not because he needs a hobby. It's not because he has a child who has leukemia. It's not because he feels the urge to take on a cause.

He does it because he knows the world is bigger than just him. He does it because your life isn't the same once you realize that cancer kills more than just a body--it kills hope and joy and beauty and innocence. He does it because if he doesn't, the research will halt. He does it for the same reason thousands of wonderful, selfless people all over the world give up their time and money to raise awareness for life threatening diseases: He does it because it feels good.

If you go without that extra pair of shoes or give up that pricey cup of  joe--if you sacrifice just a little bit of your hard earned cash to be a part of something truly life changing, your heart is going to swell with a surge of pride when those research scientists announce that they've found a cure for leukemia. And I promise you,

It's going to feel good.

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