The First Step

July 29, 2002

Dear Family, Friends, Acquaintances (and Strangers),

Earlier this summer I found myself in the midst of a meadow on a hillside overlooking the glorious Pacific Ocean enjoying the breath taking serenity of the Nestucca Wild Refuge Sanctuary. I heard the muted roar of the ocean, felt the warm sun on my back and shared the freedom of the eagles soaring overhead. I am grateful for that place and time and the circumstances that led me there. I acknowledged my blessings, my healing, and my health. Amidst God’s unblemished beauty, I reaffirmed my commitment to life.

It is a manifestation of this recommitment I would like to share with you. I have partnered with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Team In Training Program to run in the Honolulu Marathon on December 8, 2002 to raise funds and awareness for research leading to a cure for leukemia and related cancers. I would like you to be a part of my team! Run 26.2 miles you say? Only if you feel the calling, as I, to lace up your running shoes and pound the pavement. Rather, I ask that you support me by making a generous donation to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Leukemia is a malignancy of the blood-forming tissues; bone marrow, lymph nodes and spleen. It is estimated the leukemia and its related cancers will strike over 107,000 Americans this year. Every week, 1,100 will die. Leukemia is the number one killing disease of children, yet affects 10 times as many adults. The cause of leukemia remains unknown, however, the effectiveness of recently developed treatment methods and steady advances in research bring us closer every day to finding the cause of leukemia and related cancers and probable cures. Research is working. 25 years ago, only 5% of children diagnosed with leukemia survived. Today, 73% of children with leukemia and 76% of those with Hodgkin’s disease will live.

As a member of Team In Training, I have a coach, a training program and teammates to support me. I have committed to train every day with team trainings on the weekends, and I have promised to raise $4,000. in donations to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I am motivated! I am committed!! I will do it!!! I know what you are thinking and you are correct!!! I have never been a runner. Until now!!! Now I am running as an advocate for life and on behalf of two Honored Patients; 5-year-old Katie Gunsolus diagnosed with Leukemia thirteen months ago and 46-year-old Maritza Baraga-Brown diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease in September 1998 and again in October 2001. Maritza is currently in remission and will be walking in the Honolulu Marathon!!!

I am also running for all who are courageously fighting a battle against cancer of any kind especially for my dear friend Suzanne Lundquist. I honor their courage, spirit and life with every step I take as I journey to the marathon finish line. It is time for me to give back to the universe in gratitude for my own courage, my own strength. To say thank you for the precious gift of life one-step at a time.

Training will be a challenge but my challenge is nothing in comparison to the challenge Katie, Maritza, Suzanne and others have to overcome on a daily basis battling cancer. So please join me in spirit by contributing. Whatever you can give will help – it all adds up. Seventy-five percent of all funds go directly to research, and your contribution is tax deductible. Just complete the enclosed pledge form and send your contribution payable to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to me by August 22nd. This will allow me to track my fund raising progress. Of course, if you need some extra time, I will still accept your donation after that date. I really appreciate your support, and will keep you posted on my progress.

With my sincere thanks,

Ellen Egge

Related Links of Interest:

Team in Training