Dear Happy Smackah supporters,
It does not seem possible that it has been eleven months since the 2014 Happy Smackah 5K fun run was held. I am still overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and support that I received prior to the event when I was in Houston receiving treatment, to the amazing day of the event and in the months following.
The past 16 months, since my leiomyosarcoma diagnosis, have been full of many changes for my family and myself. There have been ups and downs, highs and lows and everything in between. People have asked me how I have the strength to keep working so hard to overcome cancer, the answer I give them is simple. First, I get my strength from an incredible God who has never let me down. I then draw strength from my family. My husband, Sililo has been Rock Solid since this journey began. Our three amazing children Maria, Christina and Ben, well I don’t have enough time to tell you what they do for me. I am so thankful for their enduring and incredible LOVE. My parents, my extended family and my friends have also helped us in so many amazing ways. I am deeply grateful and humbled by their selflessness.
Since the Happy Smackah last year I have been through seven rounds of very strong chemotherapy and I am currently taking a tyrosine kinase inhibitor medication that works to prevent the growth of my cancer cells. Accompanied by my husband and our dear friend Jackie, I have made four trips to Houston for progress appointments. While there I receive scans (MRI & CT), blood work and have appointments with four to five doctors. Some of our trips have been challenging, but overall the good news is the tumors in my spine and lung are not growing. Making the trips to MD Anderson every eight to ten weeks can be tiring, but well worth it when good reports are given!
My life is very different than it used to be. I keep as physically active as I can, which can be a challenge due to a back brace that I wear 95% of the day. The brace is to protect my spine because the tumors have caused so much damage. I miss working with the students and staff from St. Vrain Valley school district and I am trying to find a “new normal” for my life.
The memory of the kindness, and concern from the Happy Smackah community has carried me through many rough patches in the last year. I encourage you all to show the same amazing support for this year’s Happy Smackah recipient, Kelly Haley. What a joy it will be to see hundreds of people on May 9th at Lake McIntosh to participate in such a terrific event. Many of my “WOOCHING STRONG” team will be there to pass along the terrific support I was blessed with as last year’s Happy Smackah! Register today and tell all your friends!
With deep gratitude, Jill WooChing