I want to sincerely thank those of you who have already donated to CTF on my Active Giving page, and really gotten the ball rolling! We have already raised $400! We have 4 more months to reach my goal of $5000 for this year. I've been going on my long runs and really focusing on training, and when I feel like I can't take another step, I remember that I am running for all of you who have supported me this entire time.
Next month, on July 26th, I will run the half marathon at the San Francisco Marathon and am excited to run across the Golden Gate bridge! San Francisco holds special meaning to me. My Gramps has lived in the Bay Area since long before I was born, and the best part of every vacation in my childhood was visiting his beautiful home and spending time with him and my Grams, and now Diana. My Gramps has been a constant source of stability in my life, and will be at the SF Marathon to cheer me on! I cannot wait to see him at the finish line. We have agreed to dedicate this run specifically to my Mom, Kari, who we tragically lost a few years ago just 3 months before her 40th birthday. She was 39 and lived in a nursing home, unable to care for her most basic needs and completely deaf. On July 22nd she would have been 44 years old. When I run on the 26th I am not just running for her, but also for my Gramps, who has suffered the loss of a wife and 2 children at the hand of NF2. Nobody should have to live through that much pain in one lifetime, and still he handles it with dignity and grace, always caring for everyone around him and wearing a smile on his face. He sets the example for me that no matter how unfortunate a circumstance, life carries on and holds happiness for us all.
CTF is making great strides in the fight against NF, and even specifically NF2. All fundraising dollars donated on my page are specifically earmarked for NF2. A specific example of how this money is used is CTF's current funding of a clinical trial testing the efficacy of a drug called Lapatanib on NF2 vestibular schwannoma. For those of you who have been on this journey with me over the years, you know it is amazing that drug therapies are now visible on the horizon for NF2 patients!
CTF has given me a focus for my energy, a way to feel as though I am really making a difference and not just waiting for this disease to take over my life. CTF is helping me to fight back, and I am asking all of you to fight back with me by donating on my Active Giving page, http://www.active.com/donate/nflongbeach2009/Olivia
Thank you for your support and *Never Give Up*