What better way to bring a family together than to train for a marathon?
hat's exactly what Bob and Peggy Jackson thought when they registered their family of five for last year's Nike Women's Half Marathon in San Francisco. On October 19, 2007, the proud parents watched as their daughters Melissa, Margie, and Mary crossed the finish line in the first race the entire family completed together.
"I started running marathons in my late 20s when the kids were young. My wife and the girls would follow me in the car when I was training and bring me drinks and snacks," Bob said.
Since then, Bob's wife Peggy has joined him in over 10 marathons, and they've even completed one with their daughter Melissa. The Jacksons choose to participate through Team In Training for these endurance events so they can support the mission of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
"I lost a dear friend to leukemia when I young," said Bob. "My kids had a similar experience in high school. And over the years, other family and friends have been touched by leukemia."
"This is a great way to keep them connected to a good cause. Peggy and I want to teach them to be givers and not takers, and to develop a philanthropic mindset," Bob stated.
Now their youngest daughter Mary, age 17, is ready to take on the challenge. "It is great to have the family's support as we train and fundraise together. I have personally seen the impact we are making in other people's lives and it motivates me to continue to do more," said Mary.
"Blood cancers have taken the lives of people I love and care about," added daughter Margie. "The money we raise is helping other families have more time with their loved ones. By running this in their memory, it is worth every step."
Running has always been a passion for Bob and Peggy and Team in Training was a way to combine that love with a great cause. That they can also teach their children important life lessons through the program is an additional benefit. As Bob tells his daughters, "Working hard to benefit others is the greatest gift you can give."
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society® (LLS.org) is the world's largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research and providing education and patient services. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training® program (teamintraining.org) has prepared more than 360,000 people to achieve their dream of completing a marathon, half marathon, triathlon or 100-mile (century) bicycle ride. In exchange for raising funds for blood cancer research and patient services, participants receive four to five months of personalized fitness training by certified coaches, a supportive group of teammates, and lodging and airfare to the event of their choice.