What an amazing journey I've been on from May, when I decided to run for St. Jude, to now! And it's all because of YOU!
What has changed a bit since I first started fundraising, is that I found out I'm going to be a MOM! I am so overjoyed. This only adds to my passion for St. Jude because now that could be my child. I have always looked at it from someone else's point of view, but I can't imagine my life without my daughter and she isn't even here yet. That's why St. Jude is so important! They give Moms the chance to never have to say good-bye to their babies. And I love them for that.
Read more below about where my drive for running, and fighting cancer, comes from!
In case you stumbled upon this page, but don't know who I am - I'm Leah! Just to give you a short background on me, let's start with my drive to run and to raise money for the fight against cancer.
Easy - Dad. My Dad was an avid runner. He convinced me to do local 5ks all times of the year with him while I was growing up. I can remember the Jingle Bell 5k at Gordon Moore Park like it was just this past winter...I was sick, it was freezing, and I was not a good runner. Without question, Dad said we could cut it short and head back to warm up. Not one of my favorites. One of my favorites though was, and continues to be, the Make Tracks for the Zoo 5k at the STL Zoo. This run is what we liked to call a "Schmidt tradition" because Dad and I would try to get everyone to do it. I have many childhood friends who got talked into this over the summers. This is the first 5k I got my older sister, Alison, to sign up for. We will come back to this...
In the fall of my freshman year of college (2009), my dad started having seizures. He waited to tell me, because he didn't want me to worry. I was worried. News from a biopsy reported a brain tumor. The next few months and two years really were a blur. I feel like I was so young, even though I was 18. My dad was diagnosed with glioblastoma - a rare brain cancer, tumors that are generally found in the cerebral hemispheres of the brain. I didn't understand a lot of what was going on and to be honest, I still don't.
Dad lost his ability to run and eventually his battle, but he created new runners in my sister and I. Don't get mad at me Al - but I'm telling you, my sister did not run. Ever. Hell, I didn't run for that matter. And then, like work from Heaven, the 2012 Make Tracks for the Zoo 5k was on our Dad's one year anniversary. Alison and I signed up and did it together. She has her own story of when she really became a runner, but I think this was the beginning for both of us. That was the first time I fully ran a 5k. Since then, I have ran many 5ks, 10ks, and half marathons with my sister, husband, and friends! I will hit double digits for 13.1s this fall with the completion of Disney's Wine & Dine Half Marathon.
Cancer sucks. That's it. All cancers. So why St. Jude? I have watched my sister do extraordinary things on behalf of St. Jude. I like to think of myself as her #1 cheerleader. I accompanied her at two Disney runs in 2016, where she ran for St. Jude. St. Jude is forever working to find a way to end childhood cancer. If that doesn't give you hope (and chills), I don't know what will. I want to be a Hero.
I'm choosing to run for more than myself. I'm using my running to help save kids' lives by fundraising for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital as I train. I'm running for kids who might be too sick to run today, but who could one day be running alongside me because the money I raised helped find a cure for childhood cancer. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food -- because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. St. Jude won't stop until no child dies from cancer.
Please donate and help me reach my goal!Please help me become a Hero. Any amount is truly appreciated by so many. Thank you!