Wednesday, July 2, 2008

from Veena about my upcoming marathon and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Hi there,

In about 3 and a half months, I'm flying out to San Francisco with about 15 other runners and walkers to participate in the Nike Women's Marathon. We are doing it to raise public awareness about blood cancers and the victims who suffer with any one of these many diseases.  As you probably know, some examples of blood cancers are leukemias, lymphomas and myelomas. Then, of course, there are additional syndromes related to the classifiable diseases. I am learning about most of this via The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's website. But, in addition, I am getting some first hand information from the dad of my Honored Teammate. Joseph is 3 and is in remission from myelodysplastic syndrome. Joseph also has Down's Syndrome and his dad, a radiologist at Mainland Hospital, says that slightly predisposed him to this syndrome. You can read an article about Joseph and his family at Even though Joseph's dad is a doctor, had good insurance and therefore didn't need the financial assistance The LLS offers, he says that his family is thankful for The LLS because the website and office provides a wealth of information. In their case, on the website, he read about adjunctive chemotherapy that was not initially offered to them- he was able to bring that info to their docs at MD Anderson and Joseph was treated with that method. It spared him from having to have a bone marrow transplant. From what I've heard from another leukemia patient who suffers from graft-vs-host disease, it is a heavy cross to bear. So I interpret this as incredibly good fortune on little Joseph's behalf.

I'm writing to you to bring you information about The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and to ask you to help sponsor me in my efforts. I have never been athletic, but I'm training right now to go beyond what I might have ever imagined for myself. It has been an amazing experience so far.

Please consider a donation of $40. I would need 98 people to make that same donation. Actually, scratch that- I have an anonymous donor who's going to match donations. So, I'll take 49 donors at $40. YOU can skip the gym, skip the twice a week half hour runs and the long runs on Saturday. This week- it's 10 miles! I will do that part. Your donation is 100% tax deductible. According to, the average yearly claim of charitable donations is $1,620 or 3.2% of income. Until this year, my husband and I fell short of that. If you're a two-income family, your tax credit MAY be 25% of your donation amount. Given all this information, do you think you can spare $40 or $10 or $100?

Be assured, the money is not for me- I will run the marathon regardless. However, I must say, I am enjoying this experience of meeting remarkable people and pushing myself. I put a short story up on my fundraising page about just that

I also designed a website with an easier-to-remember URL- that's We have quite a few events coming up. There's a spaghetti dinner, bunco nights, bingo and family events. Let me know if I can get you some tickets! Please go to to make credit card donations. A check made out to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society can be mailed to me at 2016 Caravel Dr. League City  TX 77573.

I'm so thankful you've read my whole email. I hope it has been understandable. I have two kiddos in the house vying for attention, plus, we all have pink eye, and I've started and stopped this email more times than I care to count. I will go ahead and sign off with a wish that you're doing well and are hopefully in a position to be generous.

Let me know if you have any questions or would like to come run with our team. Our coach is open to that and I assure you you WILL find someone your speed since we're a diverse group. I'm somewhere in the last quarter trudging along but never giving up. :-)


Veena Smith

I'm raising money for the 785,000 Americans that are living with leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma and other blood cancers. Chances are, you know one of them! Please visit to help honor them. Your $10, $25 or $100 will help! For events and updates, check our fun site!