The 2016 Team & Dell’s Children Survivor Challenge: Race Day!
Today was the big day! A rainy and early morn, but there we were, in the thick of downtown Austin ready to Run for the Water. The kids were all given super hero capes, which the kids took very, very seriously. I have never witnessed such dignified devouring of post-race breakfast tacos than I did that morning with those tiny, caped avengers. A already had her own cape, specially made and embroidered with her name-no doubt a remnant of her past presidency of the Super Hero Club. After a period of team stretching led by Coach Amber and watching the 10k runners take off, the Dell Children’s kiddos and their running buddies made our way to the starting line. And just like that, we were off! A and N sprinted off in a wild flurry of super capes, and L and I chuckled as my teammates Annie and Francisco hurried after them. L likes the slow-and-steady technique, and I can’t say I object, but secretly I think he likes to jog because he’s such a good little conversationalist. We chatted about school and Star Wars and Halloween, and I learned that L’s trick or treating endeavors were rewarded with, in his words, “a cubic foot of candy.” And now the kid was running a 5k the next morning-that’s what I call super!
L and I did our usual walking-jogging combination, but it was obvious how much he’d improved since that first weekly run back in September. He’d never admit it, but L is proud of his stamina increase. He thinks next year he’ll be able to run the whole thing with no walking breaks! Of course this means less time to discuss how often Donald Trump mentions China in public conversation or how the world’s most perfect secret weapon would be Legos strewn across a multicolored rug. I can’t decide which was my favorite part, watching L start to believe that distance running is something he can feasibly do, or just hanging out with him. L is a cool little guy, and I’m going to miss seeing him every Thursday. He taught me a lot about what it’s like to embrace survivorship. He started off the season believing that he will never run as far or as fast as kids who never had cancer, only to watch S surge through the workouts Coach Amber planned and finish first in his age group in the race today. I think that was an important breakthrough in L’s self-perception, as a capable, strong individual, who more importantly has the ability to do or become whatever he fancies. I think the most important thing we taught L and A and N and all the kids in the program is that being a survivor doesn’t mean you’re stationary, that you have to tread carefully and hold your breath for fear that the cancer might come back. I think Coach Amber’s motto, run with joy, is applicable to more than just a 5k, and these kids are so smart that they picked up on that fact far before I did. L showed me that being a survivor is about going forth and writing a new chapter, be it Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. I don’t know about you, but I expect a Tolkien-esque epic from L, the little origami-enthusiast that could. I know I speak for all of my teammates when I say that I can’t wait for a Super Group reunion at the Dell Children’s Holiday Party!
Written by 2016 Rider: Dana Moore