Why am I doing this? There's lots of reasons: last August, I had a bad bike crash and I needed to work up my courage and fitness again; my grandpop and great-grandmother both died of blood cancers; I work in a hospital where we treat blood cancers; the PA did it and she's cool so I thought it'd be fun; a tri would stretch me in ways that a regular century would not...
And then there's Ben. Each Team member gets to select an Honored Teammate. This person serves as our inspiration when the training gets tough. On the days we want to quit, our Honored Teammate is supposed to help inspire us to keep on trucking and working hard so we can benefit cancer research and patient support. After all, our Teammates don't get a choice: they CAN'T quit. SO...
Readers: meet Ben.
|Ben, last year|
Ben is a United Methodist minister who serves as the Associate Pastor at Beulah church, where he's continued working the entire time he's been undergoing chemo. The youth in the parish think he's so much fun they did Relay for Life for him.
Ben and I got to know each other when I was down in Richmond, VA. We were both doing our CPE residency at MCV-VCU. I'm a hot-tempered spitfire who spits out words without thinking (often). Ben is a thoughtful person who always has the right thing to say at the right time. He's happy and laughs a lot, and seems to be friends with everyone. He and I shared the surgery-trauma ICUs (we called them STICUs) and the trauma units our last semester. He was a good resident who pulled his weight in the program. He, David, Jonna, and I have all stayed at least loosely in touch. (Thanks to Facebook and email!) Ben was the old married dude in the group. Jonna and I were both engaged at the time, and David was stubbornly single. Everyone has since gotten married... which I'm not saying is Ben's fault, but if domestic happiness and healthy relationships is not your thing, then Ben is not your role model!
Every now and then, I still share about difficult pastoral situations and Ben usually says the right thing or at least a good thing. I usually manage to mangle things or to say the smart-aleck thing...
Ben is married to Sarah, who is my dream chick. She's funny and also a spitfire, full of life and spirit. When M and I were engaged, Ben and Sarah were our role models- also a couple without kids, who both had careers but were doing lots of grad school. Somehow, they were making life work. When M and I got the pre-wedding stress going on, Ben and Sarah were one of those couples we said we wanted to be like one day. They had a house and dogs and happiness- win-win, right? (We also want to be like Brad and Angelina but we're only emulating them for the money.)
|Ben and Sarah. On her left wrist, you can see her green SUPPORT BEN bracelet!|
Any reader of this blog might have picked up that I am very, very fond of M. I love him dearly and my greatest fear is that something will happen to my sweet M. It was a true gift from God to meet someone like M, and I couldn't imagine who else I'd want to put up with. I can't bear the thought of risking losing him.
It kills me that this is exactly the fear that Sarah has faced every day since Ben was diagnosed. You see, Ben cannot be cured. There is no drug or technology at this time. The best they will be able to do is to get him into remission... and wait, and wait, and wait. And when remission fails, they'll beat the cancer back again into remission... and again, and again.
Ultimately, I'm doing this because I want Ben and Sarah to grow old together. I want them to be the toothless old couple at the old folks' home holding hands in their rocking chairs. I'm doing this because Sarah is facing her worst nightmare... and I can't even bear to imagine going through the same. Every now and then, I see a chink in her upbeat armor and that's what gets me out on the road again. Running? Hot spots? Eating GU? Easy peasy compared to what she's going through.
|Sarah and Ben, recently|
Ben and Sarah- I love you guys!
Our team link: http://pages.teamintraining.org/ct/nattri10/etesiy