Going for Gold

This week I’ll have the opportunity to share my story with a great group of employees from InterCall, a leading telephone, messaging and conference tools service provider. The Midwest Market’s Direct Sale Manager, Katura, reached out to me to be a part of her upcoming team sales kickoff where I’ll have the opportunity to help inspire and motivate the team.

With the Olympics Opening Ceremony days away, Katura is incorporating the theme “Going for Gold” into the presentation. Katura’s grandfather, Francis Johnson, was an Olympic gold medalist for the 1936 men’s basketball team, so the topic hits especially close to home. Here’s a link to a Sports Illustrated article she shared with me about him.

I really enjoy being able to share my Powered by Hope message, it keeps me going! A special thanks to InterCall for this exciting opportunity.

Thankful in 2014

As time passes, I at times take things for granted. I forget to tell my family how much I love and appreciate them. Without my husband Dave and children Kyle and Kati, I would be empty.

Many, many thanks to everyone else in my life – to all those who support me and my family – for ALL that you do.

My hope is that 2014 will be a blessed year for you all, and that you live each day to the fullest.

Now get your rear in gear!

Planning for the Year Ahead

2014 Goals

2014 will be busy, because trust me I am not wasting any time. This month will kick off presentations at Coldwell Banker Gundaker and Big Shark Bicycle Company. I am in the thick of training for the Tokyo Marathon (yes, that is Tokyo, Japan!) taking place Feb. 23, where I will then be able to check off my bucket list that I’ve completed the six World Marathon Majors (Boston, London, Chicago, Berlin, New York and Tokyo).

Also, I am planning for an eventful (pun intended) March, as it is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Be sure to look for updates on my Facebook page and on this site, especially on the events page and this blog.

As a heads up–or a rear up—Saturday, March 29, is the Undy 5000 a 5k or 1 mile family friendly event. I am asking everyone to join me and Team Powered by Hope at this event. You can sign up by visiting the Colon Cancer Alliance website, here.

I don’t want to jinx anything, but my biography “Powered by Hope” should be released in late March – fingers crossed! You can get a preview of the book, here.

What ways are you taking action in your life this New Year?

Reflecting on 2013, Looking Ahead to 2014

Year End Reflections

As we begin a new year, it feels like a good time to reflect back on 2013. It was an exciting year filled with many experiences, and from training and competing perspective I had the chance to check off a few of my bucket list races including the London Marathon and the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Las Vegas.  Other milestone competitions included the Ironman 70.3 in Racine, Wis., Million Dollar Marathon benefiting Coast to Coast for Cancer and the Hy-Vee 5150 US Championship in Des Moines.

After completing these races, it was time to have surgery on both lungs to remove two metastatic cancer spots (one on each lung), and the results were excellent. I was then back to the maintenance chemotherapy routine of one week on and one week off. I’m very grateful for such positive results and the ability to keep doing what I love and the time I get with my family and friends. 

2013 also brought speaking opportunities around the country, from Los Angeles to Phoenix and to Providence and Miami, and it was quite an adventure. I had the privilege of sharing my message that everyone has their cancer and everyone has their dream, and that if you are powered by hope anything is possible.

I was also honored with a number of awards including the WunderGlo Foundation Cancer Warrior Award and the Hellenic Spirit Foundation Athena Award.

Another once in a life time experience was meeting Ellen DeGeneres while attending her show with my sisters and mom, you can read more about that experience here.

While all these experiences were wonderful and exciting, none match the time that I spent with other cancer fighters and survivors, supporting and caring for one another. Unfortunately, the reality is that cancer is life and death, and possibly the most difficult times I experienced this year is hearing of the loss of these friends, my fellow soldiers. They drive me, feeding my passion to never ever give up! These moments give me the energy and the reason to look to 2014 and ask myself, “what more can I do?”

Are you reflecting on 2013? How are you staying motivated and inspired this New Year?

A Dream Fulfilled

ellenFor the longest time, I’ve had the dream of attending a taping of Ellen and now I am thrilled to say that dream is coming true.  On November 19, I will be in the studio audience along with my mom and my two sisters, Joann and Mimi.

I don’t know if we’ll get to meet Ellen or talk to her, but there are some things I would love to be able to tell her in person.

First, I want her to know how many races she trained for along with me – I on the treadmill and she on TV.   Ironman Louisville, Ironman Kona, Ironman 70.3 World Championship, and six major marathons.  Her humor kept me entertained through a lot of training!

Second, I want her to know what it means for me to be attending her show with my mom and sisters.   As some of you know, following my stage 4 diagnosis my sisters got tested right away.  Joann was found to have stage 3 colon cancer and Mimi had precancerous cells.  This was rough news for my mom to get all in within a two-week period, so it is especially wonderful for us to have the opportunity to see Ellen all together.

Third, Ellen has a huge and devoted following.  It would be great if she could help spread the message of how easy it is to prevent colon cancer.  A relatively simple screening can prevent much unnecessary suffering.

Be sure to tune in to Ellen on November 20.  You never know – you just might see me dancing.  (That would be scary.  Think: Elaine on Seinfeld!)