Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Leave Nothing On The Table

26.2 miles. Been there. Done that. Five months ago, at the marathon kick-off party, one of the coaches asked everyone what their goal was to finish the race. When he asked me what my goal was for finishing, I said, "Alive".

Actually I had three goals. The first was to be alive and breathing as I crossed the line. The second was to make sure I gave everything, to make sure I had nothing left when I crossed. To leave nothing on the table.

Leave nothing on the table. That is the invaluable lesson I have been taught by Tyler, and so many other young men and women. Never say die. Never lay down. Never give up. They look directly into the eyes of a disease from hell...and they spit in its face. Young children, who don't understand why their parents allow such painful things to be done to them. And older ones, who understand with full clarity why these things are being done to them. In every one of them I see the eyes of courage, of hope, of dreams, of strength. And they fight, and keep fighting. And when is the fight over? It ain't over 'til it's over. Leave nothing to chance. With a strength and endurance that comes for the depths of their soul, they leave nothing on the table.

So what should we do? Can we all fight that hard? Will it do any good? Is it possible for us to actually cure this thing and change the world? Here's the real question. Are we willing? Are we willing to throw everything into the battle? Are we willing to leave nothing on the table?

  • In 1982 Nancy Brinker promised her sister, Susan, that her death from breast cancer would not be in vain. Today the Susan Koman organization brings in $275 million a year for research.
  • In 1988 Bruce Cleland decided to train a team to run the New York Marathon to raise money for his daughter battling leukemia. Today Team in Training has raised $900 million for Leukemia research.
  • In 2000, 4 year old cancer patient Alexandra "Alex" Scott said she would help her doctors find a cure with money from a lemonade stand. Over the next 4 years until her death, she raised over $1 million. Since then, there have been over 8,000 "Alex's Lemonade Stand for Childhood Cancer", raising over $20 million for childhood cancer.
  • In 2000, on St. Patrick's Day, a group decided to shave their heads in solidarity for kids with cancer. They called it St. Baldricks. Today St. Baldricks has shaved 71,000 heads and raised $50 million for childhood cancer research.
  • In 2001, 17 year old cancer patient Alicia DiNatale felt out of place with all the younger children on the cancer floor. She created an idea for a "hang out" room in the hospital, exclusively for teen patients and their friends. Since then her foundation has installed 42 teen rooms is hospitals around the country.
I believe we can change the world. I believe we can find a cure. But I believe it will take everything we have to give. But isn't that true of every achievement of value? Hold nothing back. Leave nothing on the table. As Christopher Columbus said, "Only look forward, men. We have left the old world behind."

In a race there is only one winner. When I run a race, I do so to win. -- I Cor. 9:24
Can we take that attitude and us it on the war against cancer?
This is the true meaning of life, the being used for a purpose that is mightier than you. Being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. --George Bernard Shaw

Oh yes, I said I had a third goal for the race. It was the most important goal of all. To cross the finish line in front of a strong, healthy, cancer-free Tyler Alfriend. The road to victory will often lead straight through Hell. But victory indeed is here. Thank you for all the prayers and support.
Prayer requests:
Stef is back at the James with complications. Please keep him in your prayers.
Cameron Brown is home as his family looks for options. None have been found at this point.
Fight to win.

1 comment:

Mallett's said...

Hi Tyler,
I ran across your site and wanted you to know that our daughter,Olivia Mallett was diagnosed with CML last August. She is 17 yrs. and a senior in high school. Olivia recieved a bone marrow transplant with her 15 year old sister as the donor last March. All is going well for her at the present. She just finished up volleyball season and is now entering cheerleading. Her blog is If you get a chance, maybe you can check it out. Take care and we will add you to our prayer list of J5 friends.
The Mallett Family
Adam, Patti and girls