Today is a good day for Robert Downey, Jr. fans. Iron Man 3 opens. That's cool, right? You get to see People's Most Beautiful Woman play opposite my second ex-husband in what is sure to be an epic-ly cool special effects blockbuster. But I know something cooler and someone cooler. And she needs our help.
Kristin McQueen is a neighbor in Cancerville. She is a super cool neighbor. One of those folks that when you meet her, you feel all awkward and odd, kind of like you are meeting a rock star or royalty. Kristin is sort of a legend in Cancerville. And no doubt, she doesn't feel cool, or like a rock star. Thing is, cancer came calling for Kristin. She didn't set out to inspire those of us who are inspired by her. Kristin is just living her life in the face of cancer. Plain and simple.
Ten years ago Kristin was diagnosed with metastatic thyroid cancer. In the last decade she has had 15 major surgeries and her most recent was just this week, her 10th brain surgery. Add to that two rounds of radiation, which can no longer be used as her cancer is now resistant to it; nerve damage; vision loss; vertigo; chronic pain. Yeah, cancer has not been kind to Kristin. Cancer can suck it.
Despite everything that has come her way, Kristin is an athlete and a competitor. She is fierce. I'm serious. I whine about thirty minutes on the treadmill and here Kristin is doing her thing. Racing and running are her get out of Cancerville free card. When she is running, she is in control, not cancer. She gets to call the shots, not cancer. I can't tell you enough how important finding that coping mechanism is. For me, it is writing and words and connecting with you. For Kristin, it is competing. To date, she has run in 17 marathons and 9 Ironman competitions. Good Freaking Lord, the woman is a beast. She says it best herself:
“Ironman is so much more than an endurance race. It is not about simply propelling myself 140.6 miles for kicks, it’s about challenging my limits and seeing what’s possible. It’s about reclaiming my body after 5 neck surgeries, 2 rounds of radiation, 10 brain surgeries and a slew of acquired physical challenges. It’s about not giving into all the limitations that cancer and its buddies have imposed on me, but viewing them as challenges that ultimately make the race even sweeter by overcoming them. It’s about going from not being able to open my eyes without getting sick, having difficulty sitting upright and being too weak to stand by myself to completing one of the ultimate tests of human endurance. It’s about raising money so that nobody else has to go through what I have. It’s about remembering those who have passed and honoring those who fight every day to live a “normal” life despite a disease that tries to tear them down.”
And this is where YOU come in. Are you ready?
Kristin wants to compete in the 2013 Ironman Championship in Kona, Hawaii. You have to qualify to participate in this competition. These are hard core athletes competing in Kona. Kristin wants to be one of them. Kona has opened up seven slots for folks voted into the competition. The theme of the contest is "Anything is Possible." And honestly? Anyone would be hard pressed to demonstrate the power of possibility better than Kristin McQueen.
She wants to win one of these slots. We can help her, easily. Here's what you need to do in three easy steps:
- Watch this video;
- Vote for Kristin every day between now and May 7, 2013;
- Tell your friends and neighbors on all your social media feeds.
See? Easy-peasy-lemon squeezy! So much easier than cancer. So much easier than running marathons or competing in Ironmans. We can sit on our sofas and do something good today. With the click of a button, we can help an outstanding human being faced with ridiculous struggles (but managing them with grace and grit -- a lot like Donna), to achieve her dream.
Easy-peasy-lemon freaking squeezy.
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