Friday, June 30, 2017


                                                                                                                               Runner's World Magazine
We all have our favorite sports and for me, it is Track & Field. Running high school track in California gave me the opportunity to attend university. During those serendipitous days, I met Marla on a blind date and the rest is beautiful history. 

I want to share two "Track" stories showcasing RESILIENCE, GRIT, AND HOPE.
Gabriele Grunewald ran the 1500 meter semifinal in the U.S. Track and Field Championships last week. That is amazing itself but the epic story is that she did it in between chemotherapy treatments! Gabriele is a three-time cancer survivor and a scan in March showed cancer had returned. The photo above shows her 13" scar from the removal of half her liver and a large tumor. Gabriele's "Running From Cancer" is a truly inspirational story.

Gabriele was on that starting line last week. She knew she was weakened from the chemo treatments but being there meant everything to her! She finished last among the 28 qualifiers in 4 minutes and 31.18 seconds and it didn't matter.  After the race, her fellow competitors gathered around her for a prayer and a group embrace, a "sisterhood" of runners.

I cried with her when I saw the race. 

"With where I'm at in my life and health, nothing is guaranteed. The next year is not guaranteed. I don't know what's going to happen. I hope everything works out and I'm cancer-free soon. But if this is my last opportunity that I have to really race and to do this, I want to do it, even if it's not at the highest level that I've been at."

"There are a lot of people going through hard things - it might be cancer, it might be something else. But just to keep carrying on and do your best to persevere, that's what my story is all about right now anyway."

                                                                                                                                                                                   NBC Sports
 She is partnering with USA Track and Field along with the American Cancer Society 
to raise awareness through the campaign called "Together: Nothing Is Impossible".
She definitely has "Resilience, Grit, and Hope."

*** I love this video of the program:

                                                                                                                                            Sports Illustrated kids                                                                             
I was moved by another great story about running track. The Sheppard sisters, Tai (11), Rainn (10) and Brooke (9) all know something about "Resilience, Grit, and Hope." Three years ago, the girls lost their 17-year-old half-brother to gun violence. Their mom was doing her best to raise them at a Brooklyn homeless shelter and working a minimum wage job. Their life changed when they signed up with the "Jeuness" Track Club in Brooklyn.  The club's founder and coach, Jean Bell, saw amazing talent in these young ladies and knew they were capable of great things. 

                                                                                                                              Sports Illustrated Kids
                                                                                                                                                                  NBC News
The girls qualified for the AAU Junior Olympics in Houston and earned medals. Rainn won the 3000-meter run, Tai was runner-up in the 80-meter hurdles and Brooke took second in the high jump, an amazing feat since the club doesn't even have a high jump pit!

                                                                                                                                                             ABC TheView
Their story is something only Hollywood could dream up. The family, along with the girl's coach, Jean Bell, appeared on ABC's "The View" last November. Co-host Whoopi Goldberg presented the family with $10,000 to help with expenses and $40,000 to their "Jeuness" Track Club.  

USA Track and Field sent the rising stars to watch the National Championships in Sacramento last week. They met many of their track idols during the meet. Sprinter Justin Gatlin who won the 100-meter dash was so moved by their story he gave them his first place medal! He said "I wanted them to take the medal as a symbol of believing in yourself. People are going to say that you can't or you're too young or you don't have the will to do so, but I wanted them to know they can do it. If they believe in themselves, they can do it. That's what that medal meant to me."

I'm happy to report the family is out of the homeless shelter and has a new apartment. Mom has a new job working in a hospital with benefits and better pay. The family is overjoyed and grateful for the national attention they have received. In December the girls appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated Kids. The whole family displays "Resilience, Grit, and Hope." Coach Jean Bell is amazing and inspirational as well!

***I absolutely love this video of their appearance on ABC's "The view".

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