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Today We Waged Hope

Today we waged hope for better outcomes for pancreatic cancer patients and their families.  After months of anticipation, the Purple Stride 5k was upon us.  It was a tough, heartfelt morning full of love for Debbie and her family that left me in tears a couple times.  Team Deb Force five won an award for raising the most funds as a team for the second year in a row.  Unquestionably, Debbie was the key our success.  Our collective love and the respect we hold for Debbie continues to inspire us to wage hope.  She was a tour de force, who inspired so many of us.  

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While we were highly successful fundraising, my training and preparation for the race was poor.  Sadly, the results showed this as I finished with a time of over 30 minutes.  Excitedly, Jake and The Mayor had awesome showings with the Mayor getting 3rd place in his age group with a time of 28:11.  Albeit Jake didn’t place in the top 3, but still finished with a time of 25:13.  Of course, he was disappointed with his time feeling that he could have done significantly better.  Nonetheless, it was still over a minute faster than his time at the event last year.

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At the start of the race, The Mayor and his teammates, Jake and my co-worker Imani were at the front.  The Mayor and his teammates were super excited and nervous to embark on their run.  They were the cutest.  It was a sea of purple as we lined up at the start.   This was my first run at FAU and this particular course was absolutely beautiful.  Undoubtedly, I wish I had been better prepared for the run, but now I know what I need to do before the next event.

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After the event, my stomach was churning -thanks to chili I ate yesterday, but we waited for our team to finish. As the team members finished as we enjoyed the free food and we waited for the Mayor to get his medal.  A big congratulations to the Mayor and fellow Deb Force Five member HB who placed 3rd and 2nd respectively in the under 13 age group.  I now owe the Mayor $50 as he finished under 30 minutes and he beat me handily! 

Lastly, while the event may be over our work is still unfinished.  There is a long way to go in the war against pancreatic cancer and doubling survival rates by 2020.  In fact,  it isn’t too late to donate to Team Deb Force Five.  If you’d like to donate, please click here. To our Deb Force Five family, thank you for your participation, your donation and your continued love and support of this beautiful family.  

Today’s song is “The Sky is a Neighborhood” by the Foo Fighters.  I was jamming to this song as I finished my third mile today.  It’s a great one!

 

Honk If You’re Thankful

Honk if you’re thankful!  Judging from the sounds of my morning and evening commutes, S. Florida drivers are super thankful.  Who knew that it was gratitude driving this behavior not anger issues or self importance as I had thought.  I wanted to share with you one of my favorite Debbie stories tonight.

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Let me take you back to last winter.   Our boys had home games early.  The hubby picked up John and TK and bring them to the rink  for warm-ups.  Debbie and I didn’t need to be there an hour early. Consequently,  she picked me up an hour later.  She was even kind enough to stop at Dunkin’, so I could get my coffee fix.  On our drive to the rink, we talked about things she wanted to do in the near future.  She was headed North to New York to visit family and ski, but she wanted to go to Iceland to see the Northern lights.

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It was then that she dropped it on me.  Debbie had decided that she wanted me to take her to a rave in Miami.  Keep in mind, this was probably a week or two after the devastating fire at a rave in San Francisco that had killed 36 people.  Not to mention, raves in Miami aren’t known to be held in the safest locations or be the safest events.

I looked her and asked if she was serious and/or crazy, she was in fact quite serious.  As I’m digesting this request, it dawns on me that Debbie determined that I might just be the hockey mom crazy enough to take her to a rave.  Sadly, and I hate to disappoint people here, even I am not that crazy.   We started talking it through and I told her that likely we’d both end up dead if we went to a rave in Miami.  Can you imagine two hockey moms at a rave with glow in the dark pacifiers?  I mean, can you?

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Rather than head to a rave, I suggested we try going to Ultra or WMC in Miami.  The atmosphere would be similar, but more controlled than a warehouse rave.  Debbie started looking to possible DJ shows we could hit too, but that pesky hockey schedule kept getting in the way.  As it turns out, WMC and Ultra were scheduled on spring break when Debbie and the family were going to be out of town.

One of the things that struck me most in our conversation was the fact that Debbie and her family had been planning things in three month windows.  Debbie and John, throughout Deb’s illness, were both so inspiring in their attitudes and approach to life.  In that  moment, it struck me like a ton of bricks.  While we all plan our lives in days, months and years, they had been planning their life around an illness for almost two years.  Just when you think you’re inspired by people, they blow you away with their amazingness in a whole new way.

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On the heels of the boys’ state tournament, we received the devastating news.  Debbie’s doctors were admitting her to hospice.  Incomprehensibly, Debbie’s doctors determined that she had exhausted all treatment options.  It bothers me that Debbie and I never got to SoBe to enjoy a dance party, but I know she’s dancing in heaven.  The lesson here is don’t wait to pursue your passions or your bucket list trips – go for it now.  And of course, honk if you’re thankful.

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Lastly, tonight is the deadline for online registration for the Purple Stride event.  If you’re thinking about participating, it’s go time.  There is no deadline for online donations to the team.  However, donations received after Friday will not be applied to the team total.  You can join the team or donate here Support Team Deb Force Five!  You can also cheer us on Sunday at FAU.  The race starts at 8:30 am.

Tonight’s song is one of my favorites from Swedish House Mafia “Don’t You Worry Child.” At their peek, the group spent most of their time providing the soundtrack in SoBe.  I hope you enjoy the song!

 

Daily Prompt: honk

Run Free

Run free, run wild and embrace the runner’s high.  If you had asked me two and a half years ago if I was a runner, I would tell you that you’re the craziest person I had ever met.  Don’t get me wrong, I love cardio and thoroughly enjoy teaching Zumba.  Running, however, is an entirely different animal.  By all means, running to me was an instrument of torture. And then came Debbie, an avid runner and health nut, who inspired me to become a runner.

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When someone you love gets a horrible diagnosis, nothing you do to support them seems adequate.  It just never seems like its enough.  Nevertheless, Goalielocks, Jake and I started running 5ks for Debbie after our first Purple Stride.  At each of these 5ks, we did 12 in 2016, we wore purple to support Debbie.  Moreover, as a novice runner the purple was a reminder that many people are facing much harder obstacles than mile 3 of a 5K.  She was and still is my inspiration when I run.

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Consequently, Jake and I both ended up becoming accidental runners.   If I’m being honest,  I can’t say that I love running when mid-run.  I can, however, say that I love the runner’s high .  Moreover, I love that I have become something I never though was in my wheelhouse.  Debbie inspired me to run.  As a consequence, I found a new love while pushing myself to achieve something I didn’t think was possible.

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Undoubtedly, Debbie was a good egg – the best.  I miss her everyday although I’m positive she’s always on my run with me.  Without fail I see a beautiful yellow swallowtail on  every run as I get to Debbie’s neighborhood.  Each time, this beautiful butterfly greets me and Athena as we push on from mile one and onto mile two.  I know what you’re thinking and if it was at mile 4 or 5, then I’d probably agree that it was an apparition driven by exhaustion.

I ran tonight for the first time in weeks due to injuries and a cold.  Overall, I’d say it went well given I’ve been battling a cold that’s been trying to work its way into my chest.  Nonetheless, Athena and I hit the pavement tonight.  There’s only two weeks left to the Purple Stride event and I need to be ready.   As it stands right now, there’s no way I’ll be able to repeat last year’s somewhat respectable performance.   Importantly, you can join our team or support us by clicking here.  My goal is to have both the largest team and be the first place fundraising team.

Tonight’s song (hopefully will inspire you to donate or join our team) comes to us from Joe Cocker performing The Beatles’ “With a Little Help From My Friend.”

Love is Stronger

Love is stronger than cancer undoubtedly.   It doesn’t always feel like that.  Sometimes the pain that cancer has caused brings us to our knees, but that’s why awareness and advocacy are hugely important.  Like most people, I wish I knew nothing about this insidious disease.  Why?  The only way you really learn about its devastating impact is when a friend or family member is diagnosed.   Otherwise, the disease is a complete mystery.  The battle, the fight for a cure for many of us is personal.

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Today begins Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month here in the states.  For us it will culminate at the Purple Stride event on November 19th.  I’m a huge supporter of Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and their goal to double survival by 2020.  Importantly, PANCAN is not only working towards a cure, they are a priceless resource to patients and families contending with the diagnosis.  My friend Debbie was a huge proponent of the organization and spoke at last years Purple Stride about how their services helped her and her family.

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For the last two year Debbie a fearless, courageous and incredibly strong women completed the Purple Stride 5K.   She was in the middle of chemo for stage iv pancreatic cancer and she completed a 5K.  Up until my first Purple Stride event, I didn’t think I could even run a mile let alone 3.1.   Her strength was so inspiring to me that I took up running.  I went on to complete 12 5Ks in 2016.  She made me better in so may ways.

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It breaks my heart to even think that she won’t be with us at this year’s Purple Stride.   Her absence makes our mission that much more important.  While Debbie is no longer her to champion the cause, we are and we will.  Until there’s a cure, until another family doesn’t have to suffer through this horrible disease, we will keep on fighting.  In her honor, I’ll be posting daily this month to help raise awareness and raise funds.  Finally, one thing I learned from Debbie, and there were so many, was living in gratitude.   Additionally, I’ll be including something that I’m thankful for in each of these posts.

You can help support the cause by joining or donating to our team here.

Mighty Musings

Who’s mightier than mighty mouse?  This hockey mom with many mighty musings tonight.     Oh where or where should I begin?  I guess I’ll just tear off the band-aid and get right to my confession.  I have to admit it’s a bit embarrassing and well don’t judge me.

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My twitter bot is addicted to porn. Sorry Mom!  Oh the horror!  There’s definitely a flaw in the bot.  My coding skills are not in any way shape or form mighty.  How did this happen?  I setup my bot to look for tweets and re-tweet them based on several key words.  Apparently, twitter porn spammers are wise to the twitter bot game.   Moreover, hockey mom  is quite popular in the random words these spammers include in their tweets.  Fortunately or should I say unfortunately, I discovered this when a follower of mine re-tweeted some spam porn.  Consequently, I have to check my feed a couple times a day to make sure there’s no porn re-tweets sitting out there.  I have to admit that I never through I’d have to sort through my twitter feed to block any porn I accidentally retweeted.

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On to bigger and better things, no pun intended, the grocery situation in our household is reaching a Defcon 5 situation.  We’ve been to the Publix and Target several times since Irmageddon left.  Unfortunately, the shelves of perishables, the refrigerator cases, and the freezer cases have remained barren.  At this point, I’m getting a bit desperate.  Hopefully, BJ’s is fully stocked tomorrow.  I need to get some groceries for the house before Goalielocks and I head to Tampa.  Otherwise, the hubby, the mayor and Jake will be up a creek and hungry.

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Tonight before I left for my run, we added a new pet to the family.  Goalielocks caught a baby brown basilisk (a.k.a. the Jesus lizard.)  When I first started running in late 2015, I never saw a basilisk.  I would see our regular South Florida convocation of anoles, rock lizards and Geicos, I mean geckos.   As it stands, now when I run I see several basilisks each run of varying sizes.  Irresponsible pet owners who let their pets go in the wild are responsible for yet another invasive species let loose in the S. Florida.  How fortunate am I that I am the benefactor of this irresponsibility with yet another pet in the house?  I am so super fortunate.   Once the boys name said lizard, I’ll share the name with the blogosphere.

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In other news,  tolls have resumed on the Florida Turnpike.  I can’t believe I’m typing this, but thank God they’re back. Traffic on the turnpike has been unbearable since the suspension of tolls.   All the people who cannot drive, don’t take care of their cars, and are blissfully unaware of the minimum speed limit had found their way from I-95  and onto the turnpike.  My commute had been protracted by 15-20 minutes each way as a consequence of the increased traffic.  Alas, the state has turned the tolls back on.   In some small way,  it seems like my world has returned to normalcy.   Traffic still sucks, but at least it sucks less.

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I’m in my first full week of detoxing from my Irmageddon see food eat food diet.  It is patently unpleasant going from eating everything to eating nothing with carbs.  I’m exaggerating of course, but not eating processed food is tough.  The problem with hurricane food is that none of it is healthy.  Nevertheless, I could have rationed my food better.   Clearly, I should have anticipated the supply chain issues with the grocers and stockpiled some of the food I ate.   Instead I ate like a bear preparing for the longest hibernation of its life.  Thank God I live in Florida, there’s no hibernation and it’s always swimsuit season here.    Sweet baby Jesus!

Oh I did some serious damage during Irma.  On a positive note, I’m back to running on the regular.  My girls and I ran another 3.7 miles tonight.  Its still pretty hot here at night.   I wanted to puke like 3 times courtesy of the heat and the fact I’m out of shape.   Last week,  I wanted to puke during the entirety of every run, so I’d say this is an improvement.  Unlike the mad pooper of Colorado, neither my dogs nor I left any surprise packages in any yards, paths or swales.  Your welcome.

Thankfully with laser focus on a healthy diet and back to normal exercise habits, results are following.  Importantly, I need to make sure I stay on task with my diet and my exercise habits lest I  have another Irmageddon type diet emergency on my hands.

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We’re fortunate to have come through Irma unscathed, but others have not been as lucky.  Both Irma and Maria  battered the Caribbean islands severely.  There are several organizations that are providing hurricane relief.   I am including two links where you can provide assistance directly to Puerto Rico and another that will provide relief to all of the islands.  To assist in Puerto Rico’s recovery: United for Puerto Rico  The Miami Foundation is accepting donations to assist in the recovery in the islands including Antigua, Barbuda, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.  Miami Foundation  There are a number of other charities involved in providing hurricane relief.  Before you donate to any charity, please check them out on Charity Navigator.

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Sense of Wonder

As we get older, we lose our sense of wonder as we get caught up in the craziness of life.   We become slaves to the daily grind.  Instead of enjoying life, we just go exist.   We have allowed our lives to become a Bill Murray movie in many respects.  Many of us our living Ground Hogs day and for no good reason.  Although it seems silly, why is it that we let life get in the way of enjoying life?  How is that as we get older, we stop appreciating the beautiful sky, the flowers, each other, etc.?  How do we reclaim our sense of wonder?  It’s time for us to reclaim the wonder.

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Have you ever watched a child explore a new park or a new place?  The curiosity and look of amazement never leaves them.  Children bound with excitement as they explore new spaces.  A child can find a crumb size piece of something new and be fascinated for hours.  Its an amazing thing to watch and see.  I loved watching my children explore their world.  It is a magical thing to watch.  Sadly, we seem to lose it as we get older.

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One of my most cherished memories from our trip to Norway this summer was sharing it with my Grandma.  My Grandma is one, who has never lost her sense of wonderment.   At 87 years old, she is quite unique.  She walks several miles daily even in Minnesota’s crazy winters.  In fact, we had to send Jake after her a couple of times.   The first time,  when she started climbing on the rocks in Romskog. Also  when she was climbing near some rushing rivers.   Consequently, once Grandma finished climbing the rocks, she told me about a park in Northern Minnesota where I had to bring the boys.  She loves to go their a climb the rocks.  Simply put, she is a rock star.

Unequivocally, one of my favorite pictures from Norway is of my Grandma standing at the base of a path at the Borgund Stave Church.  This path leads to the Sverristegen and Vindhellavegen portion of the Kongsvegen.  As she stood at the base, there were sheep off to her left in the pasture, the stave church behind her, and tree filled hills to her right and ahead of her.  At 87 years, she looked at the scenery with a childlike wonderment.  She looked at it as if it was the first time she had seen anything like it.  It was a moment of pure magic.

For as long as  I live, that picture will be etched in my mind.  After she had a moment to soak it in, Grandma T hiked up the Sverristegen with the kids, myself, my brothers and their wives.  The hike wasn’t easy either.  The trail was uphill with rocks interspersed between the grass and sheep bombs.  My Grandma was a freaking rock star on that hike.

While our everyday landscape may not be as dramatic as the backdrop of the Borgund Stave church and the Sverristegen,  we can choose to find the wonder in our daily life. Beauty abounds on this planet and in our lives, it comes in the form of nature and the beautiful  people in our lives, recognize it, savor it and enjoy it.  Make life count!  

Sunday Funday

Sunday funday my ass….  Unless your idea of fun is household chores and laundry.  If it is, my Sunday was the epitome of Sunday funday.  Nevertheless, I got a lot accomplished and we’re well set up for the week.   The floors have been mopped and all of our laundry is done and put away.  Thanks to Irma and a delayed start to hockey season this is quite the accomplishment for mid-September in our house.

While yesterday was a rest day, today Athena and I were back on the trail running again.  Thankfully, the brush and fallen trees  have been removed from our running trials.  For the first time in months, we were able to run our favorite route.  We ran just over 3.5 miles.  I wish my time was as hot as the heat, but my time sucked and clearly I’m off my game.  The Piggie and I had a great time running the trail despite the heat and my poor time.  There’s nothing better than running outside while listening to great music with my Athena.  It soothes the soul and clears the head.

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Today’s writing prompt is the word sting, so here’s what  I came up with on my run:

  1. Jellyfish – they’re no bueno.  Who wants someone peeing on them to make the stinging sensation to go away?  Not this girl!
  2. Stinging nettle – Goalielocks learned this lesson while feeding the sheep in Flam.  Just say no to stinging nettle.
  3. Sweat in your eyes – Yes, it equates to hard work, but sweat getting in your eyes as your run definitely stings.
  4. Bees and wasps:  I am fortunate that none of us are allergic, but this can be a major problem for those with allergies to bee stings.  In South Florida, Africanized honey bees can present a real danger.
  5. Fire Ants:  These insidious little beasts sting and it feels like their sting is the size of an elephant.  The sting of the red ant is horribly painful.  Unfortunately, I’m speaking from personal experience on this one.
  6. Hurricane Jose, Tropical Storm Lee and now Hurricane Maria: from all of us in the Atlantic Basin – F#$K You!
  7. Betrayal: Stings worse than fire ants, bees, and jellyfish together.
  8. Misogyny, racism or any other kind of discrimination:  A sting worse than a bullet ant and a tarantula hawk wasp sting combined.  Yeah, it’s that bad.

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There is good news about things that sting.  You can squash them, exterminate them or wipe them away or leave them  on the beach to dry out.  They’re not big bad monsters that you cannot defeat.  Lastly,  you can treat your sting, should you experience one, with benadryl cream,  hydro-cortisone cream, ibuprofen, benadryl, an epi-pen for severe allergies and vodka and/or tequila for number 6 and 7 respectively.

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Fabulous Friday

TGIF!  Today is fabulous Friday!  This week has felt incredibly long despite being a short week due to the hurricane.  Irmageddon put a lot of strain on all of us with the planning and preparing we had to do for our families and for work.  Perhaps this is why we all felt so utterly exhausted today.

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I’ve been quite productive this week even though it  has been a short an painful week.  Each and every day we have a choice how we respond to our circumstances..  I choose to say F*#C you to those who seek to marginalize others.  As beaten up as I felt physically, the choice has become clear.  Leaders have an obligation, through good and especially through bad, to find the light at the end of the tunnel.  Leaders have the obligation to be both the beacon of hope and the agent of change.  Bound together by a common passion and drive to be the best we can, the group of leaders I have surrounded myself with is amazing.  We will change the world for the better, so you best be ready.

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The downside in all of this productivity is that I completely missed lunch.  A complete and total travesty since I had actually remembered to pack my yummy, vegan protein shake.  No, its not an oxymoron. Its actually quite flavorful, low calorie and does not contain soy or other allergens.  I love my Zumba Shake Shake Shake (Lorbach10 is my affiliate code if you’re interested.)  By the time I realized I had missed lunch, it was 5:00 pm.  I headed home and grabbed some provolone cheese to fuel my run.

 

FullSizeR (11)Piggie and I ran 3 miles, which felt fantastic.  Nothing clears your head better than a nice run with your bestie.  The sky was amazing tonight with nary a cloud in the sky and a big, full setting sun.  Florida’s skies are thing of beauty.   Its been a rough week getting back into running outdoors.  The heat makes it tough to run, but it feels remarkable to be back on the trail outside.  There’s nothing better than running with my puppys’, to remove the stress of the work day.  Since I had such an amazing lunch, I’m treating myself to some Sushi Yama tonight.  Talk about flavorful!

Side Effects of a Hurricane

The side effects of a hurricane are real and they’re sad.  With a storm the size of Irma, you end up spending almost 48 hours caged inside.  If you were unfortunate enough to have lost power, your stuck eating processed food that just isn’t healthy.  Even if you kept power, like we did, the caramel roll and mimosa brunch does nothing for your fitlife goals.

I’ve had a penchant for running for the past two years since my first Purple Stride event in 2015, but fell of the wagon after our Norway trip.  My sister in law took a picture of us post brunch Saturday before the storm hit.  It was sad to see, but I looked like I swallowed a small child.  I swear I didn’t actually eat a small child, but if you saw the picture you would have thought differently.

When my work announced we were reopening the office with a relaxed dress code on Tuesday, a collective sigh of relief went out across South Florida.   Sadly, post hurricane the dolphins on our yoga pants have morphed into whales.  What’s more the dolphins no look like whales.  Oh it was a humbling Tuesday.  If there’s ever a way to reignite your running habit, this hurricane weekend was the it.

Since it has been so hot, I’ve been running on the treadmill.  Unfortunately, the power had been cutting in and out Monday, so I had to run outside.  It would be my luck that I would injure myself post-storm in an unfortunate treadmill accident.  Consequently, the Piggie and I hit the running path and ran 2.65 miles.  I thought I was going to die.  It was as humid as it was hot.  I definitely should have brought my inhaler.  Nevertheless, it felt amazing to be out on the trail my loving running partner.   Tonight marked three notes in a row of running.  We’re back on track!

 

 

Purple Stride Broward-Palm Beach

Last week I received an email announcing the Purple Stride Broward-Palm Beach Event.  I can’t believe it is that time of the year again.  We are less than a month away from the racing (running) season in South Florida.  Since the heat index has been in the triple digits since we got back, I’ve been training on the treadmill.   It is never too early to start training as the race will be here in a jiffy.

Today I setup our team for the purple stride event happening on November 19th at FAU (Florida Atlantic University) in Boca Raton.  We will be racing under the team Deb Force Five for the third year in a row.  My goal is to be the number one team in fundraising for the second year in a row.  We are shooting for $10,500.

As I updated the information and the team’s website, I got choked up.  It hit me like semi-truck that this year would be painfully different.   August 26th will make five months since we lost Debbie, but it still feels so fresh.  Grief is awful.  Like a thief in the night, it comes out of nowhere and steals your happiness.  It pops up unexpectedly, forcefully and with so much pain.

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After I collected myself a bit, I got on the treadmill to put in my thirty minutes.  The first five minutes were tearful, but as my run continued my hope and sense of purpose returned.  I made a promise to Debbie to continue advocating for pancreatic cancer awareness and fighting for a cure.  It is a promise I cannot and will not ever break.

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In the coming months, we hope to announce the launch of a pancreatic cancer immunotherapy clinical trial that Debbie, Melissa Nicholas and I had started working on last December.   It destroyed me that we were not able to launch the clinical trial, so Debbie could benefit.  In hindsight, I think Debbie knew this since she was a pharmacist.  As a neophyte to the industry, I had hopes that we could get it started right away.

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She was a second mom to my kids and they loved her to pieces.   Her memory is never far for anyone us.  My boys insisted on lighting a candle in Debbie’s memory at Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim.  Afterwards in the gift shop, they picked out a praying angel, for her, that watches over us from our kitchen.

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You may have seen the new shirts that were posted to the site this weekend.  My boys and I have been hard at work designing shirts and a business plan for our new store.  For all of us, the creative process and the opportunity to honor Debbie’s memory has been cathartic.   The profits from our merchandise will go towards funding the clinical trial and towards a scholarship program that helps families with the expenses for travel hockey.

For more information on Purple Stride Broward-Palm Beach or to join our team click here

For more information of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network click here

Fore more information Pennies In Action click here

Fore more information on our store click here