Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Eli had a visit from Jordin Sparks while he was in treatment.
I will be participating in my first, and probably only, half-marathon on December 7. I am not a runner. I signed up as a means by which I may raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. As I say on my “Hero’s” fundraising page, in 100 lifetimes I could never raise enough money to even come close to equaling what the hospital has done for our family and for me as a mother.  But, I do have this one lifetime, so I am honored to have the opportunities to do what I can do. My now 8-year-old son Eli is a patient of St. Jude having completed aggressive treatment for brain cancer in the fall of 2012. So, despite running being my absolute weakest sport and most dreaded exercise, the popularity of the event made it a good choice to channel my fundraising (for which a link is on the homepage of this blog for anyone wishing to donate to St. Jude). So, after an uncharacteristic hesitation, I tackled it. But, unlike many of my whims, this is not something I can just “get through,” and strike it up as a success. To participate on that morning and not exit the campus on a gurney requires preparation, which in the athletic world is called “training.” During this training, a popular activity, or distraction in my case, is to listen to music. Music is the go-to pace and mood setter. It is the background, the foreground and the anything in between as the runner usually sets his or her pace by the rhythm and beat. Music was also a big part of Eli’s “training” when he was receiving radiation and chemotherapy, a poisonous, yet healing regimen that made him sick, lethargic, and vulnerable to infections and viruses as it killed cancer cells. The technicians used his own music saved on his gaming device to distract him while he had to lay perfectly still for 30 to 45 minutes five days a week for six weeks to receive the poisonous radiation to his brain and spine. Then during the chemo phase, sometimes, when his immune system was bottomed out and he could not be around people for fear of viruses, we would just drive around. He listened to music during these drives as watched the cars and trucks on the road. When taking strength-building walks around the campus of Target House, where he and I lived during his treatment, he often wore his earbuds to listen to music. Sometimes while he was in treatment or in class at St. Jude, I would jog around the campus or run the stairs between hospital floors, and I, who am not a “music person”, listened to my own music by way of escaping the surroundings for a little while even if it was figuratively. We both had several opportunities to listen to music that we didn’t ordinarily have while he was in treatment. So, during this “training” that I’m doing now for the half, I often think about Eli and what he had to endure and the fight he will have the rest of his life with the residuals of the disease and the harsh treatment. I’m sure that part of the motivation for most runners that are participating in this race is from an appreciation for the endurance of these children. Any ache or pain I might have during my feeble “training” is always trumped by the images burned in my mind’s eye of Eli holding his IV pole as he forced his pencil-thin legs to painfully move down the hallway of the second floor at St. Jude. So, thoughts of these kids are a big part, if not the only part of what motivates training and participation for such an event. I am so grateful to those who can and are willing to take their time and make such a huge effort to train and be a part of this event. I wanted to do something special for my teammates that signed up for the races on December 7th at St. Jude in Memphis. I have compiled a list of music submitted by children of St. Jude who have battled cancer. Each song is special to them in some way. It made them laugh when they were sad, it made a moment a memory, or it made them feel strong when they felt weak. I had wanted to purchase the list and give it to my team for them to use during their training, but in our digital age it is not as simple as making a “mix tape.” But, still I thought the list worthwhile to share with anyone needing some extra motivation and good thoughts to go along with it, so that you could purchase it for your own use. Whether you are training for a marathon, or exercising to lose weight, or just whatever activity you find yourself in, I hope knowing that this music was special to a child fighting for a goal will help you get to your goal as well. I’ve listed the song title and artist to the best of my knowledge, and the child’s name is in parentheses, unless a name was not provided

Stronger – Kelly Clarkson (Zach)
Who Let the Dogs Out  - Baha Men (Alex)
Mama Tooted    Keller Williams (Eli)
I need a Hero - Bonnie Tyler (Eli)
Eye of the Tiger – Survivor (Eli)
It’s the Best Day Ever – SpongeBob (Eli)
Ease on Down the Road Diana Ross – (Ellen)
Skyscraper – Olivia Noelle or Demi Lavato (Ryan)
Final Countdown – Europe (Ryan)
Fight for the Right To Party- Beastie Boys (Ryan)
Get your Sparkle - Barbie Fashion Fairytale album (Emmy)
Courageous – Casting Crowns (Emmy)
Fireflies – Owl City (Emmy)
Keep On Dancing - Barbie and the Pink Shoes (Emmy)
You’ve Got a Friend in Me – from Toy Story by Randy Newman (Luke)
Gangnam Style – Psy (Dylan)
Home - Phillip Phillips (Dylan)
Glad You Came – The Wanted (Dylan)
My Wish - Rascal Flats (Mackenzey)
Never Alone - Jim Brickman featuring Lady Antebellum (Mackenzey)
Brave - Sara Barielles (Mackenzey)
Every Storm Runs out of Rain - Gary Allen (Mackenzey)
Music by Choo Choo Soul (Addie)
Stronger by Mandisa (Addie)
Overcomer – Mandisa (Ciera)
The Climb – Miley Cyrus (Ciera)
Won’t Let Go Rascal Flatts (Ciera)
Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Ellen)
Peanut Butter and Jelly Time – DJ Chipman
Hey Jude – (Lily) collaboration for St. Jude
Run This Town Tonight – Rihana (Ciera)
Firework – Katy Perry (Aiden)
If You’re Going Through Hell – Rodney Atkins (Matt)
It’s a Great Day to Be Alive – Travis Tritt (Matt)
Kid version of “I know that My Redeemer Lives.” (Will)
Rock Me Mama – Darius Rucker

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