This week’s Charity Miles Champion is Tina Woods. Tina, is a marathoner who running The Bank of America Chicago Marathon, THIS weekend! She shared her heartwarming story with us, about her first running inspiration, Audrey. In the spring, she plans on running the Boston Marathon, with another cause in her heart. Please read about what this incredible woman is doing and the people who inspire her.
Last year, I was training for the Denver Rock and Roll marathon, when my dear friend Jen called. Her three-year-old daughter, Audrey, was in the hospital. Jen brought her to the hospital thinking she had croup or pneumonia. Unfortunately, she didn’t have a cold.
They gave Audrey a steroid to stop her labored breathing and relieve her from her cold. The steroids failed and a chest X-ray was ordered. Jen’s worst fear was revealed. Inside Audrey, and most likely growing since birth, was a huge tumor. Neuroblastoma in the upper cavity of her chest, originating at the spine, was the doctor's diagnosis.
Audrey was immediately taken by ambulance to Denver Children’s Hospital. Upon arrival, she was met by a team of surgeons and oncologists. The response seemed overwhelming to Jen, little did she know, Audrey’s case was very rare. After further examination, the doctors believed they couldn’t safely operate.
To combat the tumor chemo rounds were started, but the size of the tumor didn’t change. Jen and Eric (Jen’s husband, Audrey’s dad) were left wondering if what they thought was a common cold would end their child’s life. After two rounds of chemo, they got the news that surgery would take place.
Audrey was taken into surgery that removed 90% of her tumor and saved her life.
I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by my marathon training and everything happening to Audrey, Jen, and, Eric. Someone posted to Audrey’s Facebook page “Audrey Grace, You Can Do Hard Things”. I was moved, and I decided to dedicate my marathon to Audrey. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it sooner. I knew the thought go Audrey and my own children could get me through the 26.2.
Shortly after I finished my marathon, I found Charity Miles. I’ve continued to train and run marathons dedicating them to St. Jude’s and Audrey. It’s been inspiring to see my miles add up to some dollars. I feel a greater purpose for my little runs. I have even qualified for the Chicago and Boston marathons.
This year I’ve decided to dedicate my training, for the Boston Marathon, to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. In memory of my best friend’s sister, who lost her battle with lymphoma. On the day of the Boston Marathon, my best friend is going to come to cheer me on, and I will be running with her sister in my heart.
Running with Charity Miles has given my miles purpose. I’ve even purchased a fuel belt to hold my iPhone. That way I can always turn my app on. I don’t like to fundraise, or ask for money, so this feels great to be doing something for the organizations close to my heart. You can join me and my team in the Charity Miles App #audreysarmy and #tipsfromtina. Please consider donating some of your miles to St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, or The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.