Wednesday, July 22, 2009


As many of you know, with the downsizing of my station, my duties as meteorologist have been expanded into shooting video and reporting as well. While I usually shoot at least 4 stories a week, it's not very often that one resonates with me. They usually are about a speaker visiting a school or a ground breaking for a non-profit. However, today's story made me realize that cancer hasn't only affected the Roberts and friends of Nancy, it affects everyone.

As I left 100 Gold Circle Dr. (KMEG) this morning, I was headed to the Mary Treglia Community house, a non for profit organization that helps impoverished kids, teaches ESL, and even aids with immigrants becoming citizens of the United States. I was given the press release before I left and I was going to shoot video of a kid name Michael. Michael was attempting to become an Eagle Scout and had completely remodeled and re-built the preschool room for this community house. I was never a boy scout, nor did I ever want to be. However, I know of the significance and honor of becoming an eagle scout so I expected something pretty impressive.

When I arrived, I walked into an open house full of boy scouts and business owners who had help fund the project. The director took me back to the room and it was outstanding. The once barren, gray cinder-blocked, windowless room had been transformed into a fairytale castle. Murals of wildlife, seasons, and animals covered the walls and lots of new furniture had been built. I started chatting with Michael's mom as I was setting up the interview, chatting about what her son had accomplished. I asked her basic questions. Why he chose to do this. How much longer he had before becoming an eagle scout. The importance of her son becoming an eagle scout. As she began to answer my questions, I noticed her pause and a tear began to run down her face. Her husband had been diagnosed with cancer and only had 6 months to live. Neither of her two sons had reached eagle scout and Michael desperately wanted to do so before his father passed away. I stopped then, not trying to pry any further. This wasn't even the part of the story I was shooting. I was just there to cover the impressive efforts of a boy trying to improve his community. And yet this complete stranger had opened up to me telling me about her dying husband. Once it came time for the interview, Michael reiterated the same point, letting me know that his dad had cancer and was dying and was hoping he would become an eagle scout before then. Chills ran through my body because I knew exactly what this family was about to go through.

This isn't the only time I have covered a story that dealt with this. Around the holidays, there was a boy named Armstrong Zortman who couldn't have been older than 5 years old. He had been diagnosed with brain cancer early in his life and his family was raising money to pay for surgeries their insurance wouldn't cover and they couldn't afford. I become close with the grandfather while shooting and had explained to them I was right there with them, dealing with my mom's own struggle with cancer. The Zortmans were extremely grateful for us helping them and the next morning when I arrived at work I had a gift waiting for me at my desk. It was a shirt they had printed that said "Cancer Sucks" with a note from Mr. Zortman. It was a shirt they were selling to help raise money, but he wanted me to have knowing that we soldiers in the same fight. Once again, a complete stranger opening up as we shared the same battle for life.

It's situations like these that make you grateful for what you have. I was young when my mom died, only 23. But Michael will most likely be fatherless by the age of 14. About two weeks after my interview with the Armstrong family, I received an email from the grandfather saying he received a text from his daughter early that morning saying "Armstrong has his wings". Armstrong had died before they were able to get him to surgery. His parents will never get to experience things my mom was able to experience with not just me, but four children.

This fight against cancer seems to bring people together in the most amazing ways. It seems like everyone somehow is connected to someone who has won, lost, or is fighting cancer. It's this that connects all of us, and is why it's important to find a cure.

I'm not just running and raising money for my mom. It's for everyone who has to go through or watch someone battle through cancer. Hopefully the money Lauren and I are able to raise will one day make these situations much more positive. Hopefully in 10, 20, or 30 years down the road, children like Armstrong and men like Michael's father will be able to fight their terminal cancer and live to tell the tale. It's stories like these and the memories of my mom that keep me going every day. Saturday will be my longest run yet--12 miles. BRING IT ON!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Nothing Is Coming To Mind

I've been waiting for something very insightful or witty to come to mind before I decided to write again. Unfortunately, two weeks since my last post, nothing has come to mind.

I made an interesting comparison this weekend that really made me re-think the town I live in. Last weekend, as I was running along the Chicago lake front, I was among thousands of runners and bicyclists. Everyone was extremely friendly and out early getting their morning exercise to start out the weekend. Young, old, and four legged alike, all types of people we're enjoying the summer sun and lake front breeze. This weekend, back in Sioux City, my run was relatively simple. It was a step back week so I had to only run 7 miles (only 7 miles?, haven't been able to say that in a while). I decided instead of getting on a trail, I would run down town and back along the major thorough-fairs of Sioux City, hoping to pass some fellow joggers along the way. Guess how many people I passed?? 6! On a beautiful, sunny, and generally cool Saturday for this time in July, it's a little disheartening to only pass 4 people along the roads. What does that say about where I live or the people that live here? I understand that Chicago is much bigger than my small home in Northwest Iowa, but I hoped that there would be more people out on the same mission I was--exercise!

Anyways, no reason to complain. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect morning to go for a run. Too another issue, I am currently debating the issue of I-pod or no I-pod for the marathon that is still more than 2 months away. Any suggestions? Right now, I'm leaning towards no Ipod. That's all I have this week. Nothing to insightful or deep. Hopefully I'll be inspired later this week to post something with a little more meaning. 2 months and 23 days left to go!!

Oh and other than running, we passed another mile stone this weekend. It's now been 2 months since my mother passed away. Wow, where does the time go! Miss you and love you Mom.

Keep Supporting Team Nancy!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Real Estate

8:15 AM Saturday Morning. I wake up, proud of myself for only having a few drinks at dinner the night before and still trying to figure out why anyone would name their son Jody (our iffeminate waiter). It's the fourth of July and outside my window, the sky is a bit ominous with dark clouds and looming rain. Good thing I only spent $5 on fireworks. I was dreading Saturday morning for a few reasons. Reason number 1: my legs were still tired from my previous runs during the week and I figured by now they would be completely used to the measly 3 and 4 mile training. Reason number 2: the long run on Saturday was finally more mileage than anything I was use to. Saturday training was a 9 mile run--something I hadn't done since high school cross country practice. I could just picture myself getting half through, panting for water, and having to stop and walk the rest.

I was excited to be in Kansas City though and excited to be able to run in a completely unfamiliar place. Nothing is worse than doing a long run and always knowing how far you've left to go. When that's the case, I catch myself worrying much more about when I will be done rather then enjoying my surrouding

I wake up, get my shoes, and go downstairs expecting directions to the route Mrs. Woodward had told me would be a good place to jog. The directions are no where to be found. Unfortunately for Kel, that means me going and waking her up at the crack of down for suggestions. In the hustle and bustle of me being a bit cranky and trying to figure out what to do, Kel's mom wakes up and decides they are going to be my own personal water girls/cheerleaders. We all hop in the car, water bottles in hand, and drive to Ward Parkway (you can't call it Ward, it makes Kansas Citians upset). It's time to start my run.

For those of you unfamiliar with Ward Parkway, it is one of the most beautiful streets in Kansas City. The street is lined with 100 year old mansions, making me feel as if I'm running through Greek Town at Mizzou. As I run my 9 miles, I notice myself deciding just which house I plan on living in some day. By the time I'm done, not only am I proud of myself for feeling great after finishing, but I've narrowed it down to 12 mansions. I ultimately decide that I'm going to live in the 2 car garage, brick Victorian at 55Th and Ward Parkway. The house is a much more modest size than its surrounding counter parts and overlooks a park and the plaza. No "For Sale" sign yet, but I'll keep my eyes open. Who knew running and real estate had so much in common?

** On another note, thank you too everyone who continues to donate money to the cause. We've now raised close to $1500 dollars, inching us that most closer to our $2000 goal. Keep up the great work!