Sadly, cancer doesn't leave anyone unscathed. I recently wrote about the ways cancer has impacted my life and the importance of using fitness to fight back against the disease. As I mentioned, one of the best ways to fight back is by participating in a walk, run or ride to help raise money for the cause.
The problem? Raising money sometimes skeeves people out. Even if you truly believe in the organization you're raising money for, it can feel overwhelming to hit up family and friends for help.
That's not an excuse, though! To help walk you through the process, I asked a few amazing Girls Gone Sporty Ambassadors what their experiences were working with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to raise money through LLS' Light the Night Walks or Team in Training. While all of them admitted that raising money was a little nerve wracking at first, the consensus is that the experience was more than worth the effort, and that everyone should do it at least once. So if these everyday gals can hit the road for health, what in the world is stopping you?
Anna of Miller Mania
Anna raised money for LLS through their Team in Training program.
On getting involved with LLS: "The initial reason I got involved was a selfish one. I wanted to run the Nike Women's Half in DC and I didn't want to deal with the lottery. But then I was connected with a little girl six months older than my own daughter. Abby is five and has leukemia. She is a student of a friend and constantly fights her battle in and out of the hospital. After I heard Abby's story I knew that I was no longer running for me, but I was running for a little girl who is fighting a much bigger fight than I am."
On fundraising: "Raising money was easier than I thought it would be. It became second nature to work it into email, conversations, Facebook and blog posts. Being a fundraiser made the race seem even bigger than it was. I wanted to work hard and run hard for that little girl in Pennsylvania."
On why fundraising was easier than expected: "I think people are willing to give to fundraisers when it's something like a race because they are either touched by the cause or inspired by the runner. I had some people tell me they were donating because they could never do what I was doing. Other people told me that they had special ties to LLS so they wanted to make sure they gave."
On why others should get involved: "I loved the experience I had with LLS. I would encourage people to do it once. You don't have to do it year after year but try it once. You may want to do it again or you may not. LLS made the experience amazing. They gave a great training schedule (I did my coaching online), they were willing to help with fundraising, they set up great accommodations for race day and had fantastic speakers lined up for the pre-race dinner. While my race didn't go as well as I hoped I can't say enough good things about the experience."
Tammy of KYRunnerGirl
Tammy has participated in Light the Night and Team in Training events.
On getting involved with LLS: I got involved with LLS because I wanted to train for my second marathon while raising money for a good cause. I had two really good friends who spoke highly of the organization so that's why I chose LLS.
On fundraising: "Now, I was worried about fundraising before committing to my events. It takes some work on your end and you have to think outside the box to raise money. I do remember thinking that fundraising was harder than the physical training. I met with my mentor often and touched base with where I stood. Besides wearing out social media and mailing out letters, I also did several events (Zumbathon/no-tap bowling/Bunko night) and worked a couple of roadblocks to raise money."
How participating impacted her events: "I think it's a great way to give to a cause and in return to run/walk on the team's behalf. It felt amazing to be on the race course with Team in Training coaches from all around cheering you on. I felt honored to wear my jersey and to be a member. of the team."
On her experience with Light the Night: "I have been part of two Light the Night events, in roles from fundraising to volunteering. I am helping again this year directly with LLS and I can't wait. Light the Night is such a moving experience. It's amazing to see so many people come together for the same purpose and cause despite their background, age or beliefs."
Cynthia of You Signed Up for What?
Cynthia has participated in a Light the Night walk.
On why people should get involved: "Races and fitness events give participants a chance to "do something" - to walk or run for people who can't; to accomplish something and be a part of something on behalf of a cause that they feel is worthy and in need of financial support, and also to get the word out about the cause."\
On whether it's worth the effort: "Yes! It is such a great feeling to know that your race entry or fundraising efforts are helping, and that your activity is supporting something so worthy."
On the best part of Light the Night: "I remember it being a really friendly experience with people of all ages. The walk was relaxed and fun, but also very meaningful - with lit lanterns around the course."
If you're still feeling wary about signing up for a race, Light the Night really is one of the best ways to get involved without getting overwhelmed. While LLS encourages all participants to try to raise at least $100, there's no penalty for bringing in less. No matter how much or how little you raise, you're encouraged to show your support on the day of the event, either as an individual participant or a member of a team. And if you do raise $100? LLS provides you with a t-shirt, a glowing balloon and access to food during and after the event. When I walk with LLS, my goal is to carry a gold balloon, in memory of my uncle who lost his fight.
Learn more about how Burlington and the Light the Night events help change lives, and head over to the Light the Night website to get involved >>
Also, check in on SheKnows to see how other bloggers stay hopeful in the face of cancer.>
Girls Gone Sporty is proud to work with SheKnows and Light the Night to spread the word about the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and cancer research.