My Personal Experience with Team in Training

Fifteen years ago my grandfather passed away of leukemia. One year ago one of my dearest friends and favorite people on earth called me and told me she had been diagnosed with lymphoma. I have spoken many times about how breast and ovarian cancer has affected me, but I haven’t really shared about how close to home leukemia and lymphoma have hit.

So when The Motherhood asked me if I would partner with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) to spread the word about how to get involved with their amazing work, I couldn’t say yes fast enough. Because it is very personal to me that we bring an end to blood cancers.

You see this isn’t my first time hearing of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). Five years ago my mom, at age 60 (!!!) decided to run her first marathon in honor of her dad and trained with Team in Training.


blurry pic of my mom crossing the finish line with Lily who ran out to “help her”

I watched her training process from the sidelines (I am allergic to running) and was amazed by this organization. They were part of her training every step of the way, providing tips, training schedules and even a local group to run with. Then on the day of the race they were everywhere. Seriously, throughout the race you could see people in their trademark purple all throughout the course. And when my mom struggled towards the end of the race there was a guy who joined her and ran/ walked with her talking her through almost every step. It was amazing.

I can’t imagine how hard it is to run a marathon. I am pretty much tapped out after a 5K. But I know why my mom did it. She did it to honor her dad who had fought so hard against leukemia. We were all so hopeful when he went into remission but it came back and ultimately won. There were others she ran for and there were many who donated in honor of someone they loved. I know that was part of what pushed her to the finish line when she wanted to give up.

Team In Training is the flagship fundraising campaign of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) and the world’s largest and most successful charity sports endurance training program. This year is the 25th Anniversary and amazingly, they have trained more than 570,000 people and helped invest more than $875 million in research which is saving lives today.

If you have any ambition to run a marathon I would really encourage you to check out Team in Training. They have over 200 accredited national and local events in the United States and abroad. Seriously. Like Disney and Ireland and Hawaii. I mean if you are going to run a marathon, you might as well run it somewhere awesome.

The deal with Team in Training is that you raise funds. In exchange, they provide four to five months of personalized training by TNT-certified professional coaches. And like I said above, their coaches are amazing.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) has been around since 1954 and in that time has doubled, tripled or even quadrupled survival rates for various blood cancers. But despite this, about half of blood cancer patients do not survive, so more funding is needed to advance research and ensure access to treatments. Check out Team in Training to find out all the ways you can help be part of abolishing blood cancers.

LLS Swag Bag

The Leukemia and Lymphoma society is offering one of my readers a great Team in Training gift bag. It includes a shirt, pens, mug, sunscreen and other goodies. To enter, leave a comment letting me know if you have been affected by someone with blood cancer. If you haven’t, any comment will do.

Contest will be open to US residents only and ends July 16th. Good luck!


  1. Lisa S says:

    Has it really been 15 years? Wow!!

  2. Truly a great organization and a fantastic way to support research and train to go beyond your imagination in accomplishing physical goals. Someone is fighting for their life right now. Join in the race to win!

  3. Jessica Noland says:

    Great story, Jill! I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your grandfather to leukemia. While blood cancers haven’t affected my family (as far as I am aware), I had a very close life-long friend lose her father to leukemia when we were just 24 years old. His diagnosis was after unexplained illness and it was so hard on her watching her strong, hard working father grow weaker and weaker. We cried on her wedding day as she danced with another relative during the father/daughter dance, but knew he was there in spirit. So glad to see your blog honoring your grandfather and friend in your own way, given your allergy to running, and your mom’s persistence and hard work!!

  4. Nancy D says:

    Leukemia attacked my dad and lymphoma attacked my husband. All cancers need to be eradicated quickly!!!

  5. My Mom has battled lymphoma. She’s also beat breast cancer three times! This organization sounds amazing.

  6. When I was in 6th grade, my best friend’s mother died from leukemia. They were my next-door neighbors and it was heartbreaking. (I wrote about it here – the comments still make me cry: http://www.vanderbiltwife.com/2010/03/overdue-grief/ )

  7. Christie says:

    My brother. Diagnosed with primary cutaneous lymphoma 3 1/2 years ago when my SIL was 8 months pregnant with their third. Thankful and blessed that he achieves remission after radiation.

  8. Jess Copley says:

    My dad was diagnosed with CLL in 1995. It has been a journey, but he is doing well! Thanks for this post, Jill!!!!

  9. Your mom is so awesome!! Thanks for doing this post and helping get the word out!!
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  10. Several years ago my dad was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) Type B (I’m sure I messed up something there). After several courses of chemo over a few years he was free and clear. He had quite a few lymph nodes removed in his abdomen at the beginning of his treatment. He goes every 6 months for a full blood check.

    Love what Team in Training does!! Sadly, I’m allergic to running, too I’d love to help get the word out about their mission.
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