Day 24 of 175…151 Days Until Race Day
Not gonna lie, friends. This one hurts and hurts BAD.
“Our daughter, Paige, was first diagnosed with T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in January 2014 when a 16-cm mass on her chest totally turned our world upside down and started 9 months of intense chemotherapy.
The maintenance phase was finally achieved in late 2014. She was sailing along great. Her hair had come back and she started feeling closer to ‘normal’ than she had in a very long time.
On the morning of Labor Day 2015, she awoke with some swelling around the base of her neck. An ultrasound, chest x-ray, and subsequent CT scan revealed the cancer was back.
T-Cell ALL, when it relapses, comes back with a vengeance and must be treated aggressively. A bone marrow transplant was her best chance to be healthy again.
After Paige completed three rounds of hardcore chemo, much more intense than chemo the first time around, we received the amazing news that remission had been achieved. Paige received her stem cells for transplant on December 18th.
In addition to the lengthy recovery process of transplant, she was forced to deal with a variety of side effects stemming from 2+ years of chemotherapy. Osteonecrosis (basically, bone death) in both of her lower legs put her in support braces as she became unable to bear weight of any kind on her feet. The hard chemo from the first relapse caused nerve damage in her feet—they were so sensitive that it was hard for her to handle the slightest touch to them.
Her 2nd relapse left us with the fewest options. There weren’t many medications her body hadn’t already seen, and there was not a ‘best chance’ scenario. After two months of oral chemo, we brought Paige home on hospice.
We’d hit a point where things were harder to handle at home and ended up back as inpatient for the last few weeks of Paige’s life.
Twice we were told to ‘be prepared,’ and each time Paige seemed to bounce back just enough to have a few good days.
Unfortunately, the disease was progressing at a very brisk pace. Anxiety, confusion, and pain became a daily challenge to treat—the goal was to make our sweet girl as comfortable as possible in the most chaotic of times.
Around 12:25 on October 24, 2016, Paige was called home to be with Jesus—with a beautiful peace over her as she took her final breaths.
Paige was truly a warrior. She faced every challenge with strength, courage, and determination like I’ve never seen. Paige loved life and fought for every last second of it. Some might say she lost her battle with cancer, but the reality is she beat it for the better part of three years. She didn’t lose—she simply decided to focus on a greater reward. Paige is now forever healed, forever at peace.” – Amy Lejeune
When my running friend and Ultramilano-Sanremo pacer, Jean Hofschulte wanted to dedicate her World Record Sand Run attempt to a childhood cancer patient, we hooked her up with Paige as her inspiration. To this day, Jean still runs for Paige. So does Snowdrop Foundation supporter, Jim Abney. Paige has had a TREMENDOUS impact on the Snowdrop Foundation runners who knew her.
I told Paige’s mom that when I had a day that featured a particularly heinous workout, I would dedicate it to her daughter. Today is that day, but no boxing workout nor treadmill workout is comparable to the battle that Paige, Amy and Boyce had to endure. So, no boxing report, nor treadmill photo, just a HUGE thanks to Angel Paige for being my “why” through an intense 2 hours 20 minutes.
Who will you meet tomorrow?