Gilda’s Gang – an Adventurous Army takes on Nashville’s Country Music Marathon & Raises BIG $$ for those Affected by Cancer
When diagnosed with cancer, your battle against it is not a sprint, but a marathon. To get through a marathon, your body and mind will have to go beyond what was ever thought imaginable. Having family and friends lifting and supporting you along the way makes all the difference.
Nashville’s Gilda’s Club supports the supporters, family and friends, and all men, women and children battling cancer. The Club builds social and emotional support through group sessions, lectures, workshops, classes and social activities. It is a valued supplement to regular medical care and Gilda’s Club is free of charge.
How do they keep it free of charge? - Largely, from a very strong and determined gang. Gang? Yup! Meet Gilda’s Gang, an adventurous army, nearly 200 strong, fundraising family, friends and cancer survivors who train together for 15 weeks to run and/or walk the Country Music ½ Marathon, this year taking place on April 28, 2012. While they prepare their bodies for the 13.1 miles, they are also raising money for Nashville’s Gilda’s Club.
Gilda’s Gang was created in 2006, inspired by Dr. Gail Addlestone, a Nashville pediatrician, wife, mother and daughter, who died of cancer in 2008. Since the Gang’s inception, they have raised over $750,000.
People join the Gang for a variety of reasons.
Kellie Givens mother passed away a few years ago and she is running the ½ marathon in her honor.
Paige Boston, a legal assistant with Waller, Lansden, Dortch & Davis in Nashville, was 37 years old when diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2008. She heard about Gilda’s Gang and after successfully undergoing treatment, signed up to walk her first 1/2 marathon the following year.
“I’m a non-athlete, but I knew if I could battle cancer, I could walk 13.1 miles.”
Paige is also good at recruiting new members. She has a team from her law firm signed up as well as another team from a friendly rival firm. They are battling it out to see which law firm can raise the most money. Paige says, “They liked my elevator pitch - Get a good laugh and support a great cause. This is my mid-life crisis, instead of buying a convertible; I’m walking a ½ marathon and doing something productive!” Who could resist that?
“We have more people than ever signed up for this year’s ½ marathon and more are joining each week” says Deb Sandvik, the Marketing and Development Director at Gilda’s Club.
Gilda’s Gang has a popular 15-week ½ marathon training program led by top personal trainers and running coaches. Melissa Outten is a tri-athlete and one of the volunteer coaches. “We meet each Saturday at 8am for a progressive weekly run. For some, they have never run a mile let alone 13.1. Coaching them on how to breathe properly, running stride, foot placement and pacing is important. They are working hard to accomplish this challenge and raise money...they inspire me.”
Tracy Johnson, DNP, who specializes in Cancer Survivorship says, “We are lucky to have Gilda’s Club in our community. I recommend it to all my patients and their families. Millions of people have had cancer or are battling it now. Some still feel isolated, like they don’t fit in. Friends and family may treat them differently. At Gilda’s Club, you get to meet people with similar experiences who can help you take back your life.”
For more information on Nashville’s Gilda’s Club: http://www.gildasclubnashville.org/
If you want to join the very cool Gilda’s Gang for this year’s Country Music Marathon, you still have time! Go to: http://www.gildasclubnashville.org/join-gildas-gang-get-fit-and-give-bac...
See you at the finish line!
Dana Birdsong didn’t have time for a headache that day. The (then) 35-year-old lobbyist and advocate for the American College of Cardiology in Washington, D.C. had a meeting on Capitol Hill she couldn’t miss.
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