Day#36 Hey Ohio!

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07.20.2014
Day #36: 83 team miles
Lexington, Kentucky – Cincinnati, Ohio
Running Partner: Joe

I can’t believe it’s day 36! Time really has flown and now we just have 6 days left of the trip… And if you look on a map it really looks like we’ve gone a long way (cause we have :P).

Running for Robbie -> Today I ran for the kids that Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority (of which I am a member) serves through the Robbie Page Memorial Fund (RPM). Robbie Page was the son of a Tri Sigma National President who always wanted to help people and said “I want to have all my birthdays right now so I can grow up and help people.” 🙂 Sadly he passed away at age 5 of bulbar polio in 1951.To honorrobbie[1] Robbie, Tri Sigma members started RPM to fund polio research projects, and then in 1954 it became the official philanthropy of the sorority. When a cure was found for polio, RPM started to fund “therapeutic play” which evolved to become one of the most important types of children’s therapy and is used to cope with the treatments and outcomes of their illnesses. Hundreds of children are helped annually through the RPM Fund sigmawhich supports local and national grants, including training fellowships at Children’s Medical Center Dallas and NC Children’s Hospital-UNC Chapel Hill. It also supports play atriums that provide children a safe place to play in these hospitals. My chapter of Tri Sigma is planning to volunteer at NC Children’s Hospital when I get back to school this fall. 😉

I also ran for a sweet older lady my sister knows who goes by the name “Peaches” and is battling cancer. Please keep her and all hospitalized children in your thoughts and prayers! Thank you!

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6 Here’s a little bit of inspiration from the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge! It was sad to leave our lovely host but we had these sweet sentiments to remind us that cancer is very limited in its power against the human spirit. 🙂

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Last night our leg leaders looked and looked for safe roads to run on but just couldn’t find any options that would work. Soooo we got to do some trail running!!!! We went to East Fork State Park where a 5mile/10mile race was about to begin. The 10 mile racers were doing two loops and the 5 mile racers did one so some of us followed the route they had taken. Though the set mileage for the day was 8 individual miles, Joe and I did two of the 5 mile loops to make our personal mileage 10 and it felt great! The trail was beautiful and we saw a number of deer right along the route. They were so peaceful and serene and just watched us for a bit before slipping 3deeper into the woods. There were a few muddy patches that were slippery but for the most part we just had to avoid roots and could enjoy the path. I love running on trails like that one and felt like I could run all day. We also had a very interesting conversation and Joe shared some of his reasons for being a vegan (outside of the trip). He decided not to eat vegan for the trip because he said he didn’t want to be a burden for the group, since it’s a harder diet to sustain in a situation such as ours, (where you rely on food donations). He had to re-adjust a few weeks before the trip to eating things like meat and dairy and told me how it had made him sick to do so. 😦 He said he’ll be returning to veganism right after the 4K because he feels so much better eating that way. It was cool hearing his reasoning and how much being vegan has benefitted him.

After finishing for the day we drove the rest of the way to Cincinnati (I must have slept through crossing the state line into Ohio) and we were able to take showers at a local YMCA. It was really kind of them to let us use their facilities! YMCAs have been great hosts across the country 1whether for showers or as places to sleep. It was also exciting because they had 9 showers in the women’s locker room, cutting down on wait time! (We have 21 girls and 4 guys so there’s usually a bit of a wait on the female side).

Then clean and dry we drove to Vineyard Westside Church where we were met with snacks by the awesome pastor! He even had coolers with water bottles and the church just has a very comfy atmosphere. The best part is they’re making us dinner tonight AND breakfast tomorrow morning. 🙂 The food van was pretty successful getting a variety of snacks for tomorrow so we have lots of food! It’s quite wonderful when our hosts provide dinner because then we also get a chance to get to know them better so exciting times to come!

2 I also got to donate my shoes today!

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Day#35 “But it will get better”

07.19.2014
Day #35: 80 team miles
Lexington, Kentucky
Running Partner: Devin (as well as Danielle and Joe for the last two miles)

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Today I ran for the kids at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon. When I was in Key Club (an international community service club) in high school we would do service projects for the kids there and they are such a courageous group! I also ran in memory of Ms. Deb Ensor, who was the executive director of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, and passed away yesterday after a brave fight with ovarian cancer. I’m keeping Ms. Ensor and the Doernbecher kids in my thoughts and prayers and they definitely pushed me along today. They inspire me so much!    

Today’s route was an out and back (due to lack of other safe roads) on a fantastic road with a HUGE shoulder that was pretty much larger than the two lanes. Devin was my running partner and shared with me some of the challenges of being a leg leader. They first have to find wifi (whichl2 sometimes our hosts provide but sometimes involves a trip to café) and then spend hours each evening planning the next day’s route. They look for wide shoulders, a low volume of traffic and a speed limit of no higher than about 55 miles per hour. Sometimes it’s hard l1because they find a route that appears safe on Google view but in reality is not and so we have to take an alternate route or run on trails. She said the team has been very good about being understanding though. I’m so grateful for all of our leg leaders and their willingness to do the job! We definitely couldn’t do the run without all their hard work and planning skills. They are also the ones who pre-trip secured all of the hosts we stay at each night. Thanks leg leaders! 🙂

We had a few up hills but most of our miles were long and wonderful down hills that took little effort to keep up a good pace. For the last leg of the day Danielle and Joe joined us and after an initial incline we all sailed downhill for the last mile and a half. It was a great end to our running day. 

After finishing our route we drove the remaining 45 minutes to Lexington where we are staying at the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge! It is an excellent facility where cancer patients and l3their caregivers can stay during treatment if they live far away from the hospital. We are staying on the floors of a couple of the common areas and it’s so kind of them to let us do so! This place is such a blessing for some many people and their families. 🙂 It’s awesome to get to see what they do and meet some new people as well. One woman we met was super sweet and told us “I never knew there was such a need for helpers until I got cancer. Now when I get out of here I’m definitely going to help out. It’s rough going here sometimes. But it will get better.” I will definitely be keeping her in my thoughts and prayers during the journey and beyond. It was amazing to see her hope and strength during this difficult chapter of her life. Another lady was so sweet and said “It’s just nice to know people care” which is something I hope for everyone with cancer to feel…supported…cared about…loved!  

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Another great thing about today was that I got to see my older sister Hannah! She lives in Lexington and even works at University of Kentucky. 🙂 She showed me her awesome house l8(which is super cute) and we took a walk to see the historic home of Henry Clay which also has a l7lovely garden! Then we went to eat at a place called Puccini’s Smiling Teeth which had great pasta. Then to a nearby ice cream place, Graeter’s, where I had a delicious serving of chocolate cherry ice cream. Their business has been making ice cream since 1870 which is pretty awesome and explains why it was so delicious – they’ve had a lot of time to perfect it!

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It was so nice to see her and be able to see where she lives! All in all it was another great day on the 4K!   

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Day#34 Louisville, kids and a life-saving opportunity!

07.18.2014
Day #34: REST DAY
Louisville, Kentucky

Today was a wonderful day! One of my absolutely fantastic sorority sisters, Jenna, recently moved to Louisville and picked me up for lunch and a tour of the town! Jenna is seriously the sweetest, kindest and most caring person ever!! She even gave me a Panhellenic shirt from University of Louisville. 🙂 We started our afternoon at Los Aztecas Mexican restaurant on Main Street where we had a delicious meal. Then just as it started to drizzle we walked down to the Louisville Slugger Museum where we got a picture with the iconic & GIGANTIC baseball bat outside. We peeked in at the Wall of Names (where major league players have signed their signatures) and gift shop before heading on our way. Jenna and I then crossed the bridge back into Indiana towards Jeffersonville to look for a “Welcome to Indiana” sign. Unfortunately we couldn’t find one but I didm2 get a quick picture of the Kentucky state sign! Our team has tried to get pictures with all of the state signs but unfortunately the past few have been on major interstates where it isn’t safe to stop. Jenna knew so much and I was able to learn a lot about Louisville and all of the cool things that the city has to offer! We went to Churchill Downs where the Kentucky Derby is held and got a picture with the horse statue in front. I also got to see the University of Louisville where Jenna is working as a graduate assistant and going to grad school starting in August. The campus is beautiful! And on the bridges you can see “watermarks” which show how high the flood waters from the Ohio river have reached. As we drove around we talked about the 4K and her awesome m3adventures and admired how different each of the houses are here. Each one is unique and lovely in its’ own way. She also pointed out to me a bunch of different awesome restaurants and ice cream places which I will have to try someday when I come back to visit. 😛 After our sightseeing excursion she came back with me to the YMCA to check out our living quarters (which were in a bit of disarray with our sleeping bags and care packages all about) and then sadly we had to say “until next time.” Hopefully she’ll come visit Newberry sometime soon, but in the meantime she has such a cool life, and I can’t wait to hear about all of her adventures!!!! 🙂     

Right after saying goodbye to Jenna, a man who works at the YMCA showed us where we would be volunteering for a bit, in the gym! We got to serve lunch to a large group of energetic kids and then (BEST PART) we got to play with them!! The group I was hanging out with were all little kids, most were 6 years old or younger, and a few were babies! Literally just starting to toddle around babies!!! They were absolutely adorable and all swarmed around us! 🙂 I love kids and had a great m4time playing catch, basketball, hula hoop, spinning around, playing tag and all kinds of other games they came up with. It was sad having to leave them – I wish we could have stayed all day!!! It was so much fun! But it was dinnertime and the kids either went home or up to the daycare rooms. We however headed to Zoe’s Kitchen which serves delicious Greek food and donated all of our meals for free!!! It was super kind of them and really showed how wonderfully generous people have been in helping out our group. Full and happy we headed back to the Y where I got to talk to my older brother, relax and reflect on another great 4K day!    

*Another thing I thought about this evening was having talked to Zach about his mom (who had a bone marrow transplant that helped save her life.) He said he had signed up to be on images[1]the bone marrow registry and I decided I would too. So today I found the website: http://bethematch.org/ and found out just how easy the process is! All you have to do is register online, a few weeks later they send you a kit and you swab your cheeks with Q tips and send it back. Then they do some tests and put you in the registry. And if you are matched with a donor (only 1 in 500 people ever are) you can save a life! Please consider joining me by signing up for the registry today! Especially if you are between the ages of 18-44! Thank you!!!

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Day#33 I just love the 4K :)

07.17.2014
Day #33: 104 team miles
Evansville, Indiana – Louisville, Kentucky
Running Partner: Christina and Kenzie

Here is a link to the news report we were in last night!  http://www.tristatehomepage.com/story/d/story/4k-for-cancer-jogs-into-the-tristate/41363/0jwfbZPf906etESwcB2Y1Q

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Today I ran in memory of Christy Jones who lost her battle to colon cancer last August. I also dedicated my run to the kids at Camp Kemo who have or are affected by cancer. My freshman cyear of college we raised money for Camp Kemo through the Dance Marathon program and I’m hoping we can bring it back to campus this year! Here is a link to the Camp Kemo website: http://campsite.palmettohealth.org/index.cfm/camp-kemo-programs/camp-kemo1/

The first two miles of the day everyone who wanted to run ran a mile out and mile back as a group with Ms. Pam! She was behind our being able to stay at the church and has an eamazing story! Pam told us how she has run one marathon and seven half marathons and lost 100 pounds so far through running! Pam also organized a church team for a colon run in which they won the largest team and the most money raised, in Christy’s honor. She is a very inspiring lady and I loved getting to run with her and hearing her story. 🙂 Sadly though we had to say our goodbyes to this awesome host and head on the run towards Kentucky!

Running wise it was a shorter day and we just had two more legs of 3 miles each to complete our 8 individual miles for the day. There was a little bit of confusion however so things took a little bit longer than usual as we tried to figure out who is injured and who could run. Christina, Kenzie and I made an awesome team and Kenzie was able to run without shooting pains, the entire distance, for the first time in a long time! We had some great times! It was such a blast! And it was almost entirely downhill, just a long continuous downhill! We also saw an adorable dog and had a huge shoulder to run on. All of which made for a great day!

After running we split into two groups, half of which headed to the host and half headed to Lake Patoka. This lake had a beach and somewhat murky seaweed-filled waters but it felt amazing to swim around!b

Everywhere we go we meet people who stop and ask us about our trip. They see our vans or our jerseys and wonder about our journey. A lady who was floating in the lake called out to us as we were wading back. She and her daughter were amazed and super excited when they heard about the 4K. Another couple of men and women saw our team and donated $20 “for something good.” It’s so heartwarming to see people’s support and interest in this program! We always say though it’s a cool thing we’re doing, the amazing thing is those we are doing it for! 🙂

We dried off a bit and hung out before leaving Indiana and heading to the Louisville YMCA. After a nap in the van we had arrived! The food van had secured Jimmy John’s sandwich meals for the team so we had plenty to eat. We also had showers downstairs which was a huge luxury! And we got to meet Doug, an alumni from the 4K Seattle (bike) team 2012, who he told us about their adventures/is staying with us tonight and is going to volunteer with us tomorrow.

And best of all I got an awesome care package from my sorority’s advisor, Tara!!!! It had some delicious treats inside and was super sweet of her to send! Whenever we have a mail drop it’s like Christmas! A YMCA guy came in with a cart of packages and started to call out name and the amood is just so festive. 🙂 I also got a fantastic postcard from my older brother Jordan, he is so sweet to send them and I’ve received a number of them from him throughout the trip! I also received a super cool Stop Pre shirt in the mail! The only thing is I’m not sure who sent it! It didn’t have a return address, note or name? It’s a mystery but if it was from you thanks so much!!! What a fantastic day!!!!!!!!!!

 

Day#32 I don’t want to leave… :P

07.16.2014
Day #32: team miles
Effingham, Illinois – Evansville, Indiana
Running Partner: Sarah (and Kenzie for the first three miles)

3a Today I ran for Jan Stafl, a family friend who is battling cancer. Please keep him in your prayers! Thank you.

The road seemed a little bit questionable today as we were about to start our first running leg. Trucks and cars were flying by! So we skipped over a little portion before beginning. Luckily the 2ashoulder was wider there and we were able to feel more comfortable. We each had 11 1aindividual miles to complete and Sarah, Kenzie and I began the day. Sadly Kenzie was feeling shooting pains and decided to join another group after the first three miles but hopefully she’ll recover very soon! The route was pretty flat with some rolling hills that we barely noticed and we had a successful running day going at a nice steady pace. We ran by lots of corn fields and I really enjoyed the blue sky spotted with beautiful white, fluffy clouds.

When we reached our host we were met by a newsreporter who was very excited to hear our story! She interviewed Natalie and had us run around a bit so she could get some shots. Then we were able to really meet our hosts.

Every time we reach a host I say I don’t want to leave. Each one has been so kind and so wonderful to us. Some of them share their stories, some cook us food, some go above and beyond and show the uttermost level of generosity. Tonight’s host, the Immanuel Lutheran Church, is an amazing example of the kindness that we have seen in groups across the country. They have gone to far lengths to make sure we are comfortable and well taken care of: from arranging for us to shower at the country club to purchasing the contents of a care package (when Kelsi’s package got lost in the mail they had her call home to find out what was in it then headed to the store) to providing us with a plethora of delicious food (including mango whip and nachos)! They even had a fire and s’mores for us to enjoy! AND then put out a gigantic bag of popcorn and put on the movie Forrest Gump. They shared with us how much they had enjoyed hosting the very first running team last year and how a member of their congregation had been fighting colon cancer when the team came through town. At the time Christy Jones had been in the hospital but she was able to video chat with the team! Unfortunately she passed away not too long after this but her spirit definitely lives on in her friends and church family. They formed together, led by the amazing Pam, to have a team in a Colon screening awareness 5K that same year. And they won for largest team and most money raised!

This evening full and happy we wrote in each other’s journals, notes for others to read after our journey together is complete or right before we run into Baltimore. It’s a bittersweet activity as we think of our time on this trip coming to an end. We have been through so many miles together and different challenges and hilarious circumstances…so to think of Baltimore is both happy and sad. Thankfully we all know we will always have 25 running buddies in different parts of the country that we can call on should we find a cool race in their area. And the friends we met on 4K will most certainly be lifelong ones.

Day#31 Another beautiful day :)

07.15.2014
Day #31: 111 team miles
St. Louis, Missouri – Effingham, Illinois
Running Partner: Leanne

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We had our dedication circle this morning outside of Lien House, the wonderful dorm we stayed at while being hosted by Washington University, which had therapeutic mattresses! It was so kind of them to let us stay for two nights. 🙂 I dedicated my day to Joey (a 5 year old who we met at Mercy Hospital yesterday) and Mrs. Sandy.

On the way to our starting point for the day our van lost track of the group so we added oh maybe a good hour to our drive? We kept in good spirits though by switching off with driving duties and stopping at a gas station for hot chocolate. The other groups decided they didn’t feel safe on the road so we met them at the trails of the Ballard Nature Center (5253 U.S. 40, Altamont, IL 62411). 2I would highly recommend them to anyone looking to log some miles in the area! They’re beautiful and include trails through the woods, across wetlands, across fields and through flowers. 🙂 The weather was sunny and absolutely perfect along with the shaded trails. Leanne and I had a great time with our 11 miles and I only had to pull one tick off my leg! (Mo found two…) Also while deep in the woods we found a troll bridge so we made sure to stay cautious and tread carefully. All in all we had some great discussions about our future and I felt great!

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Tonight we’re being hosted by the Christ’s Church of Effingham – this church is amazing! Someone here has fantastic painting skills and it’s absolutely a wonderland for kids and teens. The youth room has a rock wall, there are air hockey tables and a slide that goes from the 2nd floor down to the first through the walls/ceiling! This seems like the perfect place for kids to play and get to know God! After reaching our host a group of us went to a nearby pool which allowed us to use their showers. Unfortunately only two of them were (semi) working but in true 4K style we improvised using the sinks and were just grateful to wash off a bit. We got back to the church at the same time as the food van which today was commanded by Natalie and Joe. They brought in a great haul, mostly from St. Louis, that included a box of apples, a box of potatoes, a box of cucumbers, Chick-Fil-A sandwiches, Subway subs, Five Guys burgers, and all kinds of other food items! Thanks to all of the amazing restaurants and businesses that have supported us during this journey!    

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Day#30 4K Fun

07.14.2014
Day #30: REST DAY
St. Louis, Missouri

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Today we had a service trip to Mercy Hospital’s David C. Platt Cancer Center. We delivered chemo care bags and got to meet some of the patients. We also got to walk through the children’s unit which is Cardinals (baseball team) themed. While there we met Joey, who is five years old, and undergoing chemotherapy. He grabbed our hands and played ball with us as 1he stayed hooked up to a machine that was administering life-saving medicine to his little body. We also met an 8 year old girl who was riding a little scooter-type toy around the center at top speed. Her head had been shaved but she played, at least for the moment, as if she didn’t have a care in the world. If only this were true! Thankfully she is 6in excellent hands at Mercy and has a loving family to care for her. Times like today, when we go into different communities and get to meet some of the people we are helping and running for gives so much more meaning to our run!

On that note: a quick blurb about my donations page! I am getting really close to my goal but need your help! If you are willing and able please consider donating (it’s tax deductible), and will go directly to helping cancer patients!  Plus it’s super easy 🙂 all you need to do is go to this link and hit “give now”: http://4kforcancer.org/profiles/rebecca-eddy/

*Also if you’re between 18-25 years old and are interested in the idea of running or riding a bike across the country for cancer, check out the website and consider applying for next year’s team! -> 4kforcancer.org

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After our service event a local massage school donated massages to the team! It was quite a treat! A thunderstorm then blew in as people tried Ted Drewes’ delicious frozen custard, and then the sky cleared up to reveal a beautiful evening. We then decided to go downtown where we saw the outside of the Cardinals stadium and the famous Gateway Arch (which is said to be the “gateway to the West”). As the sun set we caught fire flies in the park and took a look in the museum that sits underneath the arch. It was quite a magical day!

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The Gateway Arch!

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