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RYE BROOK, N.Y. (November 1, 2017) – The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is going back where it all began – 30 years ago the world’s leading non-profit dedicated to fighting blood cancers pioneered the sports endurance training for charity movement when the first Team In Training team ran the 1988 New York City Marathon. To mark this milestone, Team In Training National Ambassadors, Olympic track and field stars Ashton Eaton and Brianne Theisen-Eaton, will inspire and coach some 350 Team In Training teammates, including more than 25 blood cancer patients and survivors, running the 2017 Marathon to raise awareness and critical funds for LLS in its quest to cure blood cancers, the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.
“In the 30 years since The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society launched Team In Training, we have achieved many advances for blood cancer patients,” said LLS president and CEO Louis J. DeGennaro, Ph.D. “This impactful fundraising program has helped LLS invest more than $1 billion in breakthrough research to advance lifesaving treatments, including breakthrough therapies such as CAR T-cell immunotherapy and recent drug approvals for myeloma and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Team In Training reflects the entrepreneurial spirit of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society - we are fighting cancer as a team.”
It was for the 1988 New York City Marathon that Bruce Cleland gathered his team of 38 runners to raise funds for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in honor of his then two-year-old daughter Georgia, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). This was the first charity team to participate in this type of event, raising $320,000 for research to fight blood cancers.
A community, a team and a purpose were born. Team In Training has raised more than $1.5 billion, trained more than 650,000 participants since it began, and is continuing its legacy with the 350 dedicated teammates training for this year’s event.
Olympians Ashton and Brianne Eaton Inspire TNT Teammates
The husband and wife Olympic power couple, Ashton and Brianne Eaton – who most recently competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics for the U.S. and Canada, respectively, joined Team In
Training as National Ambassadors upon their retirement from Olympic training last January. They will join Team In Training teammates at events during NYC Marathon weekend - the Opening Ceremonies, TNT Alumni Run and TNT Inspiration Lunch. On Marathon Sunday, the Eatons will join TNT teammates at the start line and run the first 10K with the team, then greet them at the finish line with their medals.
“The Eatons personify Team In Training,” explained DeGennaro. “Ashton and Brianne exemplify the spirit of Team In Training with their teamwork and perseverance to achieve their personal best, for themselves and their country. They share our dedication to LLS’s relentless quest to find cancer cures and ensure patients have access to lifesaving treatments, as we take Team In Training to a new generation.”
Ashton Eaton added, “The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society invented the concept of endurance sports training and fundraising for charity, and Brianne and I are proud to support the 30th Team In Training team to run the New York City Marathon. In our work with Team In Training, we have met true heroes directly affected by blood cancers and are inspired by their commitment to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society cause – beating blood cancers.”
Ashton Eaton is a two-time gold medalist in the Decathlon, becoming the first athlete to win back-to-back gold medals in more than 60 years. He also holds numerous world records, and is a five-time world champion in both the Decathlon and Heptathlon. Brianne is a two-time Olympian, having competed for her home nation of Canada in both the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics. She captured the bronze medal in the Heptathlon in Rio de Janeiro.
Team In Training Honored Heroes at The NYC Marathon
Twenty-five years ago, Bishoy Tadros was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). As a young child, he underwent several years of chemo and radiation therapy.
“When you’re a child with cancer you are taught to keep fighting,” said Tadros. “I still abide by my mantra; I wouldn't allow myself to be stopped no matter how daunting the goal. Today, I am fortunate to say I made it.”
This year, Tadros is running the New York City Marathon with Team In Training — his first Team In Training event and his first marathon ever. He hopes to inspire others to never give up. “They are fighting a battle I am all too familiar with, they are enduring physically and mentally and they are the real heroes,” Tadros said. “I am training with others who have been directly affected by the disease and I am overly humbled by the commitment to the cause.” Tadros is currently the #1 top TNT fundraiser in the country.
Fundraising page: http://pages.teamintraining.org/nyc/nyc17/BTadros
Unbelievably, Ellen Kurkowski has had a double dose of blood cancer in her family as both her parents were diagnosed. In December 2016, Kurkowski’s father was diagnosed with a rare type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma called mantle cell lymphoma. Her mother had been diagnosed with leukemia several years earlier. Happily, in March 2016, Ellen and her family celebrated her mother's eighth year cancer free. Feeling optimistic about her father, Kurkowski says, “I am confident that he will continue to conquer cancer and get back to being healthy and strong.”
In November, Kurkowski, an ER physician in a NY area hospital, will run the New York City Marathon in honor of both her mom and dad. She is currently the #3 top TNT fundraiser in the country.
Fundraising page: http://pages.teamintraining.org/nyc/nyc17/EKurkowski
In August 2016, Karen Lindauer was an all-around healthy 36-year-old mother and wife, until she found out she had lymphoma. She was relieved when she learned that her type of lymphoma had a high remission rate due to a chemotherapy that had recently been developed, but this didn’t mean she wouldn’t have to endure months of intense treatment in order to save her life.
Today, Lindauer is happy to be able to tell people that she is finished with her treatments. She is doing well and feels hopeful about the recovery road ahead of her. She joined Team In Training this year and decided to run the New York City Marathon to help raise money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society who funds the same type of clinical trials and cutting edge research that saved her life.
Lindauer and her team, “Cancer Better Run” were selected to run with Team In Training National Ambassadors and Olympic medalists, Ashton and Brianne Eaton in the first 10k of the NYC Marathon.
“The 2016 Summer Olympics were happening when I was I in treatment, and I used to watch the Eatons from my hospital bed,” said Lindauer. “I can’t believe now I’ll actually be running with them.”
Fundraising page: http://pages.teamintraining.org/va/nyc17/CancerBetterRun
Team In Training’s New Era of Innovation and Impact
As it begins its 30th year, Team In Training continues to lead the sports training category it invented 30 years ago with new and innovative features. No longer just marathons, today’s Team In Training offers a lineup of innovative, high-caliber domestic and international experiences in triathlon, cycling, running, hiking and climbing. New this year, Team In Training’s Climb 2 Cure program sent eight teams to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro – with six additional trips in 2018 and two new trips to Mount Everest Base Camp. In addition, Train 2 Cure connects teammates with local training teams and provides virtual training and coaching – enabling athletes to prepare for an endurance event of their choice.
Team In Training offers unparalleled support for its “teammates” to have a life changing journey with the support of experienced coaches and a community that surrounds them with camaraderie and support from start to finish line. With new technology in place to deliver a universal training and community platform, the innovative Sixcycle app connects Team In Training coaches and teammates to deliver unmatched functionality, ease of use as teammates train and fundraise.
“Team In Training is ready to start a year-long series of celebrations at premier events, focusing on TNTs innovation and honored heroes over the years, set to energize Team In Training teammates across the country and the world,” said Dr. DeGennaro. “This milestone will help us create significant awareness for LLS as we raise much needed funds for research and patient support for blood cancer patients.”
About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society® (LLS) is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to fighting blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, and Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world, provides free information and support services, and is the voice for all blood cancer patients seeking access to quality, affordable, coordinated care.
Founded in 1949 and headquartered in Rye Brook, N.Y., LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit www.LLS.org. Patients should contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET.
About Team In Training
Team In Training is the world’s largest and most successful endurance sports fundraising and training program. Since its inception in 1988, when a team of 38 runners trained together for the New York City Marathon and raised $320,000, Team In Training has raised more than $1.5 billion, trained more than 650,000 people and helped LLS invest more than $1 billion in research to advance breakthrough cancer treatments that are saving lives today. Team In Training offers a lineup of innovative high caliber domestic and international events, and prepares teammates for marathons, half marathons, and triathlons, as well as cycling, climbing and hiking experiences, with experienced coaches, training resources, a supportive community and world class fundraising tools. For more information about dates, locations and times, contact your local LLS chapter, call (800) 482-TEAM or visit www.teamintraining.org.