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The reward of paying forward

Monday, May 02, 2011

THIS BLOG IS NOT ABOUT ME!!!! It is about - as the headline reads - the reward of paying forward.

Fellow sparkers, many of you know that I have a habit of paying forward. Many of my medals and race numbers has been given to individuals who were in need of encouragement for a variety of reasons. Most of them has gone to cancer patients who needed a lift.

However, the medal from the Akron marathon last year went to a fellow sparker who is also a teacher. She has created a program to get her students in a better shape (healthier). (I will keep the identity of the person anonymous). There were many reasons for sending her the medal. Then today I got a message from her. These were her words :

"Just wanted to let you know that your MEDAL has had some unforeseen sparks... in the office. We have three secretaries, two admin, one counselor... and we have ALL now run at least a 5K in the past month. My counselor and I ran a 10K and a 15K in the past two months... The secretaries are now bringing their running clothes to work every day and run every day after work. And... get this... our school is about 600 kids. We usually get about 100 kids out for track each year. THIS YEAR... a whopping... 167 came out. We don't cut kids out of sports unless their grades are really low and they do not focus on getting their grades in shape. So, we are down to about 150. We are going to add another coach next year! Finally, my counselor and I are looking to figure out how to organize a 3-5K for K-8 students in our school district next year. I have no clue how to begin, but it will work out. I think I can turn it into a fund raiser to help support fitness in schools. Anyways... your medal glows with the challenge to us all to keep fit and healthy. (edited out

I am pretty speechless, but happy. I have never in my wildest dreams thought this would happen, but I am glad it did - frankly I thought - oh, a marathon medal that is cool (the medal is cool since it has the road runner on it - the presenting sponsor is Time Warner). I thought after a couple of months the medal would be somewhere in a shelf collecting dust because no one found it interesting any more, and then I get this story. WHEW - this is just awesome.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BIGOLEDIVA 5/9/2011 5:52PM

    THis is GREAT! So nice when you get the see the ripple effect your actions have had.

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BETHHRSN 5/9/2011 11:14AM

  awesome what an impact a medal could make!

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CLS413 5/8/2011 5:19PM

    That is a great story, I especially love the idea of all those kids who are taking a more active interest in fitness.

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CORNERKICK 5/8/2011 2:45PM

  Awesome story

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SEDONACAT 5/8/2011 8:35AM

    emoticon emoticon Thanks for making a difference in others' lives.

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L*I*T*A* 5/7/2011 9:34PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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HENABELLE 5/7/2011 9:25PM


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ABB698 5/7/2011 6:52PM

    What an amazing story! Your paying it forward really has great rewards and lasting effects on the community! Good on you!! emoticon

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JIBBIE49 5/7/2011 3:29PM

    emoticonWhat an honor to have your blog be featured this week.



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ELLIE381 5/7/2011 9:31AM

    emoticon emoticon

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DEBLYNN323 5/7/2011 8:47AM

    emoticon...great inspiration!

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GARDENCHRIS 5/7/2011 8:00AM

    really cool story!
Just think of all the lives you have affected

I hope you at least take a picture of it for your own enjoyment of them ... you could also frame all of the pictures into one frame.

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GRAMMAALI 5/7/2011 7:59AM


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DROIDRUNNER 5/6/2011 4:55PM

    That is so incredibly awesome.

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LILPAT3 5/3/2011 11:13PM

    Outstanding! I too am in education and sometimes it is the littlest things that make the biggest impressions. Thank you!

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    Wow, this is AWESOME. :)

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DAVEINSEOUL 5/3/2011 10:49PM

    That is soooo cool!

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ROOT4HOME 5/3/2011 10:19PM

    Wow! What a terrific story of spreading the "spark", if you will! emoticon

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BILLALEX70 5/3/2011 6:52PM


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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 5/3/2011 5:20PM

    Awesome, indeed!

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JOPAPGH 5/3/2011 3:40PM

    Great story. Have you shared it with the race organizers?

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LYNNANN43 5/3/2011 3:00PM

    emoticon Pay It Forward Story, Jan!

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BOBBYD31 5/3/2011 12:57PM

    jan that is an awesome story this is just one of the reasons you were MOD a few weeks ago! you are a fantastic giving person that i am honored to call my friend!

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TIGGER622 5/3/2011 11:32AM

    how VERY cool!!! It is amazing to hear other sparked with the desire to become healthier! Keep it up - you are such an inspiration!

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GSDMIKE 5/3/2011 11:26AM

    Nice story. That's gotta feel good.

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    Another inspiring are infectious.

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DDOORN 5/2/2011 10:25PM

    Now THAT'S what this journey is all about! What an AWESOME deal Jan!

Thank you for being there and inspiring so many whether directly or indirectly! It's all golden!


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L3DESIGNS 5/2/2011 10:07PM

    Absolutely amazing! What a wonderful story... thanks for sharing

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B-N-ME 5/2/2011 9:41PM

    None of us ever fully know the impact we have on those around us. Good to hear that your giving has resulted in such a positive response.

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ETTEZEUS 5/2/2011 9:40PM

    I love reading heartwarming blogs!
Thanks so much for sharing this!

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LALAFLOWERS 5/2/2011 9:32PM

    WOW... wonder if the marathon organizing crew would ever have imagined that the medal they hand out would have had such an effect on others! Very impressive! Great choice for your sharing ways!

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DREBENEZER 5/2/2011 9:24PM

    Jan, simply fantastic!!

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CALIDREAMER76 5/2/2011 9:22PM

    Jan, thank-you for being you! You inspire more than you will ever know - your life IS forward pay!

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DEEJ4FITNESS 5/2/2011 9:21PM

    Simply incredible Jan!!! Thanks so much for sharing!! If she's looking for another school to contact; let me know. Some of my family & I ran an "inaugural" 2 miler to raise funds for my great-nephew's elementary school & it was so well organized I was hugely impressed. They had great sponsorship & many fams did the run together!!

Let me know if your friend would like an email of the husband/wife team organizers. I'll get it from my niece.

Keep paying it forward pal! You'll never regret it; can't outgive God! :)


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LAURIE5658 5/2/2011 9:13PM

    Jan, you are an incredible person and you have touched so many lives. You have touched mine so unselfishly. Thank you so much for being you.

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EDWINA172 5/2/2011 8:42PM

    That is awesome. I love the ripples of your actions. You are touching more lives than you'll ever realize. Your life is a gift to others.

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IRISHLASS117 5/2/2011 8:40PM

    Bravo Warrior! You paid it forward in a big way.

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LKEITHO 5/2/2011 8:40PM

    How great is that! Congratulations on having such a great effect on people.

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on being selected as MOD

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Dear friends,
At first I did not understand what was happening with my email being loaded with spark messages. However, soon I found out I had been selected to be MOD. By now I think I have received more than 50 messages, mail, and goodies. It is very a humbling experience because I don't know why I all of a sudden have become the MOD.

Thank you to all. I know it was a 'canned' message - but I did leave a message for all who responded to me, and once again thank you.

This morning I went swimming in a community pool, and as I was walking back to the car, I thought to myself what a great way to start the day. I was a little sore but I felt invigorated. Not everyone swims, not everyone bikes, not everyone runs, that just happen to be what I enjoy, and what relieve stress for me.

As I was driving around today (I had to help someone), I thought a lot about the avalanche of messages related to the MOD and sparkpeople, and there were some of the comments which were really special, and it it leading me to write this blog about some random thoughts. I am listing some of the thoughts here but I may not give you a response.

- Have you thought what brought you to search - and ultimately find SP?
- I see a lot of comments which can be summed up into - I have always struggled with my weight'.... have you ever thought what might have brought you in that situation - physical, emotional, financial, etc?
- what is your goal? weight loss, healthy living, drop down dress/pant size, running a marathon, participating in a triathlon etc, etc?
- is healthy living and weight loss synonymous?

The list goes on.

First you have to identify what brought you to where you are. Granted, that may be an incredible painful journey, because you may open wounds of the past.

Second, you have to look at what do you want to achieve (goal). Unfortunately there is no GPS which will lead you to the goal. YOU have to figure it out, even more importantly you cannot necessarily do it on your own. You need to look at all the resources to make it happen. Practical, physical, and emotional.

I have looked at a lot of spark pages and there are some common trends. One trend - very lofty goals. One trend - time management and one trend very common - a combination of the two.

If you look at your eating and adjust that, then adjusting your exercise habits (take the stairs, walk 30 min regularly, do a little strength training) ... and so on, gradually you will see you reaching your goal, no matter who it is.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TIGGER622 4/25/2011 10:26AM

    You are amazing!!! So lucky to have met you :)

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BAKER1009 4/25/2011 8:04AM

    Great blog! Thanks, and again, congrats!

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ROOT4HOME 4/24/2011 10:13PM

    Congratulations Jan on being MOD!!! emoticon

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JEM0622 4/24/2011 9:07PM

    You were so supportive of me in a non-weight loss sense during my FIL's illness and death. And you ensure that your fitness choices give back to those who we must not forget and that is very commendable. Congrats on being MOD! emoticon

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B-N-ME 4/24/2011 6:08PM

    Hey friends, it's that special somethin' you give that inspires others, and motivates them to never give up.

In my darkest hour, you were the person who didn't give up on me, my anchor when the storms were pulling me perhaps my perspective is a little different than some, but I have seen the notes you leave, and it matters not what the issue is for anyone, Jan is putting his mind to trying to help find a solution.

I truly mean it when I say, the world is a far better place because you are in it!

Congratulations on the much deserved award!



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MIAMIA7 4/24/2011 5:23PM

    Jan-Congratulations! And yes, it is deserved!

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2WHEELER 4/24/2011 3:36PM

    Congratulations; it's a well-deserved honor.

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L3DESIGNS 4/24/2011 3:35PM


Your post is so true. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

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JOPAPGH 4/24/2011 2:25PM

    Congratulations on the recognition. Well deserved!

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MOMONTHERUN1 4/24/2011 10:40AM

    Congrats to being MOD!

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    Please forgive me Jan for not noticing about you being MOD. You have always been a motivator for me - especially since my injury. I think about you a lot and what you have done for me.

So Spark was a little late on choosing you to be MOD. To me you are MF (Motivator Forever) emoticon

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DDOORN 4/24/2011 12:13AM

    Thank you Jan for all those ever-important "North Star" reminders!


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    Keep on doing great emoticon emoticon

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MEYLOSE 4/23/2011 11:50PM

    Congrats!!! on being MOD!!!!

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CALIDREAMER76 4/23/2011 11:29PM

    Again you display wisdom. Congratulations my friend!

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IZATRAVELER 4/23/2011 10:33PM


I read your blog for the first time today after seeing the link when I was looking at someone else's SP page. Your comments and questions for us to ask ourselves about how we got to SP were very thought-prevoking. The past few days I have be slipping a bit--food more than exercise--and I need to re-group and get back on track. Thanks for your inspiration. emoticon

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CAROLYN1ALASKA 4/23/2011 10:17PM

    Enjoy the recognition and enjoy it!
It was nice for me to see someone who I actually recognized. You are such an inspiration!


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BOBBYD31 4/23/2011 10:00PM

    congrats jan! you ARE a true motivator. your blog makes me think.
happy easter, my friend

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ETTEZEUS 4/23/2011 8:59PM

    Love this blog! Very thought provoking!

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JUST_TRI_IT 4/23/2011 8:58PM

    Enjoy the recognition.. YOu deserve it!


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BILLALEX70 4/23/2011 8:45PM

    Congrats on being MOD!

I understand the INFLUX of mail, messages and goodies tied to that responsibility; I was MOD a couple weeks ago.

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MEGA_MILES 4/23/2011 8:12PM

    You are so right. But most are too afraid!!!!

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ELYMWX 4/23/2011 7:13PM

    Well said, Jan. Congratulations.

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Just a short run 3/26/2011

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

WOW, this weekend is going to be difficult to summarize.

A year ago 10 of us participated in the run and we had such a great time we decided to discuss it in a forum, and BAM - before we knew of it there was 79 people in the group, and this weekend 40+ (including coaches Nancy and Nicole) came together in Pittsburgh to run 'just a short run'.

There were four distances - 5k, 8.1 miles, half marathon, and 30k, and despite the hill everyone hated - everyone did phenomenal. Some did their first event, some did their first HM, some did a PB, but I think at the end of the day, many of the participants moved themselves out of their comfort zone, and felt as the went home - they went home with a sense of accomplishment. A sense of accomplishment - physical and emotional.

Many got to meet SP friends they have communicated with for a long time. Many of us learned a lot from each other, many of us were able to encourage each other, and at the end there was a sense that we will be back next year.

I have read some of the blogs after the event and I want to thank everyone who came from the bottom of my heart. The fact that you were there, you helped define the weekend and make it a resounding success You may have been shy and not interacted as much as you wanted, but that is OK, you were still there, and the fact that you overcame obstacles and actually were there - speaks volumes.

I would also like to mention the people who traveled long distance to be part of this event - the furthest came from OR. We even had an international contingent - Ontario, Canada .

Before I start rambling I want to - from the bottom of my heart say - thank you for being part of this. I want to mention Anne/Bobbie, Lynn and all you did to make this event a reality.

If you want to be there next year - start planning!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TIGGER622 4/8/2011 12:10PM

    So great to meet you in person!!! Hopefully I'll see you again in 2012! And of course I'll be hounding you for more knowledge as my tri training ramps up :) Have a great weekend!

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    I will have to plan for this in 2012 - desperately want to meet you

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ROOT4HOME 3/31/2011 12:05AM

    Jan - it was SO great to meet you! Here you are thanking us for coming to JASR from out of town and its you, Bobbie, Anne and Lynn we are thanking because you made us all feel right at home and included! emoticonfor a remarkable & memorable weekend w/friends!

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MIAMIA7 3/30/2011 8:07PM

    What an amazing time it was, wasn't it? I left Sunday with such a overflowing heart. To see what people are capable of and what people can achieve is so wonderful! Thank you so much for your input on my health issues and I appreciate you taking the time to talk with me about it! Can't wait to see you and Kathy again!

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JOYCERN12 3/29/2011 10:01PM


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BOBBYD31 3/29/2011 8:35PM

    jan first thank you for all your help with the group, your advice, insight, organization and friendship is cherished. that was a great blog. i am so glad you went back to help bill in, that was my intent however things did not work out so well for me to do that. it is wonderful to spend time with like minded people and i can't wait till next year.
give cathy a hug from us, hope she feels better soon

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ON2VICTORY 3/29/2011 4:38PM

    wow, that sounds incredible and over the top cool!! I am really wanting to do something like that and be at a big Sparkmeet..

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IRISHLASS117 3/29/2011 1:40PM

    Great way to celebrate your birthday Warrior!

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IFDEEVARUNS2 3/29/2011 12:23PM

    Sounds awesome! emoticon

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DEEJ4FITNESS 3/29/2011 12:16PM

    Thanks so much Jan :) you are in your blogs as you are in person, a beautiful soul with a heart of pure gold!

I'm tearing up right now as I envision you carrying water to Bill as he ran on to victory!! That act in & of itself describes the "spirit" of Sparkpeople!!

I'm grateful for the opportunity JASR 2011 gave me to meet you, as well as so many others who share a common sport & a special bond!!

Till next time... keep the Spark burnin' !!

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LAURIE5658 3/29/2011 11:07AM

    Jan, I feel different somehow after spending such a glorious weekend with some of my closest Spark friends. You are indeed in that group. You have been a source of comfort to me when I was feeling very low. You have been a great teacher when I needed help with training. You have been and always will be a very special friend. Thank you for everything you did to make JASR 2011 Spark Style possible. Thank you for being YOU.

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BILLALEX70 3/29/2011 10:42AM

    Jan, you and Bob are like my Spark "dads" and I'm ever grateful for the guidance you both give.

This weekend was amazing, but if you'd not come back to meet me with that water I might still be out there! LOL

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DDOORN 3/29/2011 10:08AM

    Thank YOU TOO, Jan! I know you were a BIG part of the success of this super event!


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RENLA6991 3/29/2011 8:44AM

    Thank you, Jan, for this fantastic blog. Lynn, I'm so glad I wasn't the only one tearing up over here! This was such an incredibly special gathering. I will forever cherish the memories of this weekend, and I'm looking forward to the next time I can see you all!

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LYNNANN43 3/29/2011 7:19AM

    I too, was amazed at how our JASR SparkEvent had grown in just one year!

So many memories were made this past weekend. I miss everyone so much already!

And thank you again, Jan, for being there for me at the end of the race. I'm tearing up right now, just thinking about it again. You were there for so many of us when we needed it most!

I did my JASR as a picture blog, but had to give you a personal shout-out in it:-)


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Listen to your body

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Some of you have seen my complaints related to my URI the last couple of weeks. Well, last night I got all of 4 hrs of sleep - I was coughing, and coughing AND ... coughing.

I made an appointment with a doctor today, and with her stetoscope and a maneuver I have not seen before - she said what I feared ... 'you are wheezing'. To make a long story short - it is the 'leftover' from a mycoplamic pneumonia I had last year.

I walked out with two perscriptions - one for an inhaler ... and one fore 5 days of prednisone (looking forward to that - not!).

The morale of the story - listen to your body, and take appropriate action i.e. see a professional. Not doing so may impact your able to achieve your goals, or (for musculo-skeletal issues) get you hurt.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DJS-DEBBIE 3/18/2011 7:09PM

    Hope the prednisone is working ~ at least it's only 5 days.

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B-N-ME 3/17/2011 6:56PM

    Feel better soon!

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DDOORN 3/17/2011 4:03PM

    I think it's a "guy" thing...I often err in the direction of waiting too long to get help.

Be well soon!


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69NURSE 3/17/2011 3:52PM

    Good luck Jan - hope you are feeling much better SOON. emoticon

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ON2VICTORY 3/17/2011 2:18PM

    like i should talk but take care of yourself buddy! sounds like we are taking a real hit. hang in there.

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PAPAMIKIE 3/17/2011 12:32PM

    Yes in many things we do, we can do better if we really stop and just listen to what we are telling ourselves.

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    Jan I am so sorry to hear you are so sick. Take care of yourself, take your meds, and get well.

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GRACE612 3/17/2011 10:33AM

    Ugh!! Feel better soon and glad you went to the dr!!

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RUNTRILAUGH 3/17/2011 9:17AM

    Glad you went in and got diagnosed!

Hope its ALL GONE soon!


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IRISHLASS117 3/17/2011 4:59AM

    We keep thinking we'll feel better tomorrow, we'll give it one more day then pretty soon it's six weeks and a visit to the doc is the only answer.

Feel better Warrior. Do you need anything? Cookies? Irish Soda Bread?


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L3DESIGNS 3/17/2011 1:33AM

    Yes... I understand putting off trips to the doctor... Good reminder to listen to our bodies... I will start running again Friday - went out for a walk today and felt great! (after our trip/sore throat)

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ETTEZEUS 3/16/2011 11:31PM

    I'm another who is guilty of putting off seeing a doctor. Except for when I had my foot injury. I was all over that one.

Hope the meds work quick!

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BOBBYD31 3/16/2011 11:19PM

    i always put it off too. feel well

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Spokes of hope (2010) - warning may be emotional

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Some of you know I am involved with a project called Spokes of Hope . Tonight a 15 min video from the 2010 SOH was released and should you want - to watch it (Warning it might be very emotional for some).

Spokes of hope is a grassroots movement traveling on bicycles to cancer centers giving hope to people with cancer hope. The majority of the cyclists are cancer survivors, but care givers (family) and care providers (doctors, nurses etc) are part of the ride as well.

We need more spokes in out wheel ...

As Cindi says - We love cycling and we hate cancer.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IRISHLASS117 3/10/2011 9:54AM


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NURSE_FAWN 3/9/2011 7:37PM

    Wow! What a powerful video. Thank you so much for sharing this.

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MNOT2THICK 3/9/2011 10:51AM

    Wonderful, thanks for the link and for being a blessing.

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FUNFROG79 3/9/2011 9:52AM

    Wow, thanks for posting!

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ACURVYLADY 3/9/2011 8:58AM

    What a awesome cause. Keep up your great work!

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DDOORN 3/9/2011 6:32AM

    Duly Dugg & Tweeted...! What a wonderful undertaking!


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RJ-CYCLES 3/9/2011 1:38AM

    Awesome stuff Jan - thanks for posting the video - glad to see you and these folks helping. I have a number of family members who passed from cancer, two are survivors.

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TXGRANDMA 3/8/2011 11:37PM

    You are right, very emotional but at the same time, a ray of hope for the people involved with the disease of cancer.........
Patients and caregivers alike. How neat that the cancer survivors can give hope to those now going through treatment. Thanks so much for sharing and informing us of this wonderful organization! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LILPAT3 3/8/2011 11:24PM

    Beautiful. Thank you and bless you!

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ON2VICTORY 3/8/2011 11:14PM

    wow, that was a VERY moving video. I can see why you do what you do. you are a giant.

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