The Reasons | Team Shrinking Jeans


Melissa Anderson:  I have had many people in my life affected by cancer (not blood cancers). I joined the TNT Rocky Mtn. chapter in ‘07, and it was one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. I am so excited to join again, this time with a bunch of friends from all over the country. I have chosen two children, Peyton Mayhew and Ezra Mancuso, as my personal honorees. I have followed their battles with leukemia through their parent’s blogs and have been completely touched by their stories. More info here.

Heather Damron: To be perfectly honest, I’m pretty fed up with cancer. I’m over it. I want to do whatever I can to help patients and further research. Though LLS is not specifically linked to the types of cancers that affected my life and the lives of loved ones, I believe any cancer research goes a long way towards curing ALL cancers.

In August of last year, my mother in law was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.  Two months later, I lost a friend, who was 31, to breast cancer. The day she died, I went for a run – it was the longest, most intense run I’d ever taken. I felt so alive – I cried for her and promised her I would make the life I was given count.

So here I am.

I am so proud to be a part of Team Shrinking Jeans AND TNT. I’m excited to see what I can push my body to do and how much money I can raise.

Jessica Deshler: Running a full marathon has always been a goal of mine,but I’ve never really worked on it. This half marathon seemed like the first step in getting there. and I’m running in memory of my undergraduate advisor who I had close contact with during my undergraduate years. He passed away in 2004 after battling Lymphoma. (A little more information about him is on my fundraising page…)

Kelly Garr: I have no personal relationship particularily to Leukemia/Lymphoma, but I just lost my Mom, a young, beautiful, smart and awesome lady to brain cancer after her 10 month battle.  Brain cancer, along with all cancers are a horrible, unforgiving disease that don’t only hurt the patient affected by it, but everyone else in the family.  I had the privelege and honor to ‘move’ home to help my Mom and spend nearly every day with her during the past year.  I saw her good days, and I helped pick her up from the bad days, but I couldn’t ever take it all away.  During our many days of just talking, I promised her that I would never stop fighting for her.  My Mom was one of the most giving, generous perons I have ever known, and I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of a team who wants to change the future of cancer for those affected by it and for the famililes who face it, keeping her generous, giving spirit ALIVE!  I lost my best friend last month and although there is a part of me that I feel died from cancer with her loss, I now see myself, younger sister (who is also part of this team: GO KRISTEN!), my younger ‘big’ brother, husband and 2 year old daughter as survivors of this disease.  We are the ones that get to live on and keep our Mom’s legacy alive and help those battling their own forms of this terrible disease.  I will raise money, I will educate, I will spread the word, and I will RUN, RUN, RUN!!!

Audrey Lewis: I’m sick of seeing cancer take lives regardless of its form.  I have been fortunate that I haven’t had it touch my immediate family but it breaks my heart to see it take so many lives each year.  I’m tired of the suffering and I want to do something about it.  I truly believe every little bit helps and I am thrilled to do my small part.  When I saw the Shrinking Jeans was doing this I knew I had to be a part of it.

I am doing this in honor of a family friend that is a survivor – Shelia Haj Ali; and a little girl that never made it past age 3 – Elizabeth (Lizzie) Grace Evans.  Her sister and I share a friendship through our husbands who are former college roomates.

Nora Luoma: I do not have any real connection with Leukemia or Blood Cancers.. however, cancer of all sorts is very prevalent in my family. Most of my family members who have passed away have died from a type of cancer. When my beloved Grandma Lee died in 1997 after a very rough battle with breast cancer, I vowed to start doing anything  within my means to help prevent this type of suffering.. I began volunteering with the American cancer Society and eventually became a Team Captain for Relay For Life shortly after (4 years straight). In 2007, a dear friend (Melissa A.!) introduced me to Team In Training and I participated in my first event with them, completing my first half marathon ever! This was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever been lucky enough to be a part of. Not only was I able to contribute by raising money for such a wonderful cause, but I followed through with a personal goal I had set for myself (becoming healthier all around).

Christy Mensi:  TNT is not my first experience with LLS. In 2004, I followed the story of Allison Leigh Scott, a baby who was diagnosed with ALL as an infant. As the mother of an infant myself, reading her mother’s emotional words on their family site, touched something deep within me. There were so many amazing people touched by Allie, and that year, after she lost her battle, we formed a national LTN team called Allie’s Angels (later Friends of Allie), with hundreds of members all across the US and Canada, and over the course of 2 years we raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. We even had an LLS research grant named after our team! It was a movement, and it was amazing.

Last year, my Paw Paw, James Ries, was diagnosed with CML at the age of 74. Not only did he have leukemia, but in the process of getting ready for his chemo, he had to have a octuple bypass, and was diagnosed with prostate cancer. All of this came as a complete shock to our entire family, because my Paw Paw had always taken amazing care of himself. He was still working at a physically demanding job at the age of 74! I’m happy to say that today, he is in full remission. His heart is healthy, and he is back to work. I am so thankful for the treatment he was able to receive, and look forward to seeing my children enjoy him for many years to come.

Melissa Miller: I decided to become a part of Team Shrinking Jeans to honor my dad who is a 20+ year survivor of NHL.  After signing up and sharing what I’m doing with one of the women in my building at work, I learned that she was diagnosed with CLL four years ago.  I’m now doing this event in her honor as well.

Lisa Moawad: I was born one month after my Aunt Elma died from leukemia, at the young age of nine years old.

I have heard about her for as long as I can remember.  I did not truly understand what my grandparents went through, losing their youngest child to cancer until I became a parent myself. I can only imagine the horror, the despair, the devastation of losing a child to this beast called cancer.  My grandparents were Spanish-speaking, had 14 children to feed and love, yet they had to live through every parent’s worst nightmare.  My grandfather, unable to bear taking his daughter to treatments, let that burden fall to my father’s shoulders- he was barely a father himself.

As I run and train and fundraise, I just imagine what my family went through, as a FAMILY.  It fuels my every step, it fuels my every donation email, it fuels my soul to run.  More here.

Christie O’Sullivan: I walk for my dear friend and old roommate and former co-worker, Rose Astorina, who began her battle with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2007. She was diagnosed after having a miscarriage and learning she had a large tumor. Rose has a 4 year old little boy and after chemotherapy, radiation,she’s won her battle and is now a cancer survivor!

Read about her story here.

Erin Pirkl: I have two good friends whose dads are both battling blood can
cers. My friend Stacey’s dad has CLL and my friend Sarah’s dad has both CLL and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I will run in honor of these two men!!

Tiffany Zook:  Because of my experience having my mom be a survivor of stage 3 breast cancer almost 20 year ago, I made the decision to specialize in pediatric oncology when I graduated nursing school.  I have worked as a Pediatric Oncology Nurse for eleven years and have been priviledged to treat hundreds of children with leukemia, lymphoma and Hodgkins.  I have seen the good, bad and ugly of treatment, late effects of treatment, long term survival and unfortunately death.  I am absolutely on this earth to do this work and feel incredibly blessed to do it.  I am involved on a national level with CureSearch National Childhood Cancer Foundation and active in lobbying for increased government funding for Childhood Cancer.  In a nutshell I am passionate about my work!  TNT was the perfect fit for me because I have wanted to have the accountability and training to accomplish this personal goal, and the organization is a no brainer for me.

I chose to run for one of my patients that is a long term survivor and for one of my patients that recently died… Both exemplify why the work of LLS is so vital.

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