Friday, February 27, 2009

TNT visits Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles

This past Monday I had the pleasure of visiting Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles for the second time this year. One of our teammates is Dr. Terri Harned and she is a doctor at this hospital. With her help, our team is able to set up trips to visit the leukemia and blood cancer floor of the hospital.

Visiting the hospital is always a very humbling and powerful experience. We are basically there to visit the children that are ill and hopefully provide at least a small amount of distraction in their very tough days. I started the visit expecting to hopefully provide some cheer but instead I left with the kids cheering ME up. They turned it around on me. These kids are amazing and it's hard to believe they are enduring so much.

During this visit I made a new friend. Her name was Ricca and she was a blast. Ricca is only nine years old and is about to enter her third round of chemotherapy soon. I spoke to her grandmother for just a little while to learn about her and I was so amazed to hear her story because Ricca was so full of life and excitement. She was a tough little camper and really brightened my day up. I had a chance to spend time with her in the playroom and also play some games in her room. I really didn't think I had done much to add some fun to Ricca's day but when we were leaving she asked for my cell phone funny is that! My first reaction was, "So YOU have a cell phone?" She answered confidently "of course". How could I say no. Ricca was great. We have texted back and forth for the past week. Looks like I have a new buddy.

It's days like this that make me realize how lucky I am for all that I have. Days like this remind why I am doing an Ironman. Simply put...because I CAN . Some days of training have been tough and some days I don't want to get out of bed at 5:25am but honestly, this pales in comparison to the all that children like Ricca have to endure in the hospital with cancer. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to do an Ironman and will do it for those who can't--like Ricca. Hope you get better soon Ricca and when we visit the hospital again later this season, I hope you are long GONE and home healthy!


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