I enjoy spotlighting good causes on IBC partially because it gets my nonprofit side that’s buried under laundry, peanut butter and other parenting glamour all hot and bothered. I also do it because I am committed to raising kids who understand early on the importance of giving back and who have that woven into their day-to-day life.
I normally would not post an individual’s fundraising efforts. But in this case, I’m making an exception because:
(1) She inspires people on a daily basis
(2) She has been through more than anyone should have to in the past eight years
(3) No matter what she faces, she carries on – and accomplishes amazing things.
I met Kristin McQueen back when I worked at the American Cancer Society. She was a marathoner and cancer survivor. Diagnosed with thyroid cancer back in 2003, she had a cancer that was supposed to be “easy” to kick.
She has been an American Cancer Society DetermiNation athlete, raising pledges and racing, as long as I’ve known her. She’s sort of an unwilling poster child for cancer smackdowns. She is known and recognized at races with “Suck It Cancer” on the back of her race shirts. She has been asked to speak at ACS events nationally and her story has appeared in local press, on endurance sites and in larger periodicals like Runners World.
There’s a reason for that. The first time I heard her speak to a group was at a kick-off breakfast for an event I managed. She said she races to raise money for one main reason: Because I can. Because cancer isn’t allowed to be in charge when she’s out on the course. It is her time.
Because I can. It’s simple, and it’s perfect.
So what is the story on our Lightning McQueen? She writes on her ACS page that since her diagnosis, she has had “4 neck surgeries, 2 rounds of radiation, 7 brain surgeries and countless complications.”
Complications like intense nerve pain in her face. Limited use of her arm. Vertigo. Problems with her cornea that have left her with permanent vision loss.
What did Kristin do? She stepped up the stakes and started competing in Ironman competitions. For those unfamiliar, that’s 140.6 miles of swimming, biking and running.
She has modified her swimming to accommodate the limitations with her arm. She has competed holding one eye shot during two Ironman competitions, one recently where she earned herself a PR. On virtually no training.
Because she can.
In the process, she has raised over $100,000 for the American Cancer Society. This year, she set the hefty goal of $70,000. She explains:
…I am still pretty pissed off that I, as well as so many other people, have had to endure so much pain and disruption of life due to some out of control cells. In particular, the young adult cancer population (ages 19-39) has still not seen much progress. There are 70,000 of us that will find out we have cancer this year and our survival rates remain the same as they were a decade ago. My goal is ultimately to raise another $70,000, which would be $1 for every fellow young adult who will be diagnosed with cancer this year. So, help me find a way to get 70,000 people to give up a buck. Spread the word, use your connections and utilize the matching gift program with your company to instantly double your donation.
So, I’m doing that here. I have never met someone as unstoppable as Kristin. She is open, warm, generous and in the eight years she has been fighting this stupid cancer, she has never expected anything from anyone. She gives support to other patients and survivors and is an incredibly caring friend.
I can’t do a damn thing to get rid of her cancer. But I can do whatever I can to get the word out and get her closer to her $70,000 goal.
Kristin, meanwhile will be running in the Twin Cities Marathon this weekend. She will come home and get a biopsy on a type of lesion I’ve googled and still don’t understand. Then she will compete again in the Chicago Marathon next weekend. She will, no doubt, earn your pledge.
Help me out, and help out the 70,000 young adults who will be diagnosed this year. Make a donation of any size. Share the link on your networks. If your company matches donations, submit the form.
Whether you plan to donate or just need a good dose of inspiration, go check out her page and story.
It is so easy to do good. And beyond it being a great cause, do it because we can.