I signed up for the “Flight to Fight” 10k a couple months ago. The race was Saturday morning. It was the first time I’d participated in it, as every year when it takes place I’m usually in some kind of marathon training. But not this year. This year I got to experience it firsthand.
The race is named Flight to Fight because it takes place at the Fort Wayne airport. Literally, 4 of the 6.2 miles is on the runway. That’s the Flight part. The Fight part is this: it’s for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society – and a chance for participants and spectators to fight back on behalf of all blood cancers.
After signing up, I thought man, perfect timing given the campaign…AND the weather should be super nice in mid-April. Yeah, not so much. When I awoke Saturday morning, I opened the front door and immediately closed it while rolling my eyes. I was tempted to go right back to bed. Instead I thought about how many others would be out there, braving the conditions for someone they love who is battling or has battled cancer. I got dressed.
After traipsing through the mud to pick up my race packet, I went back to the car and turned it on so some heat could blow through the vents and onto my wet feet and face. Honestly, I was in no mental mood to run. I resolved simply to finish the thing and bolt home. 20 minutes before the start, I locked the doors and ran a mile warm-up – as the sleet pelted me and other runners in the face. And that mile was one of the most satisfying feelings ever. More and more people continued to line the streets of the Industrial Park, all with smiles and determination on their faces. I smiled back and chattered some “Good Mornings” to everyone, all the while thinking about why each and every one of us was out there. This is what it’s about. Coming together for the greater good, to show support, being in this fight together…
When I turned into the last parking lot on my way back to the start, I said one last “Morning” and stopped in my tracks as I realized it was Grey’s Grandma and Grandpa! They were wearing dark gray T-shirts with “Team Grey” on the back and a big “G” in Superman-style on the front. Jo and I hugged and she pointed me in the direction of the rest of the troops. Everyone in Greyson’s family was there, all sporting SuperG T-shirts! I had no idea they were going, but I was incredibly glad to see them. I high-fived Grey and finished the warm-up.
Nothing like a 4-year-old Boy of the Year and his family to get you moving. Seeing those T-shirts line the runway was something, as was watching all the other people’s teams out there supporting their person – the one who couldn’t yet run but was being lifted up by family and friends. Teamwork is cancer’s kryptonite.
Runners, walkers, crawlers, strollers…we were all out there together battling not only the Indiana in April conditions, but the much bigger war.
One step at a time, one mile at a time, one cure at a time. It’s all possible.