Running for Ruth-Med. Expenses

$10,463 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 106 people in 41 months
Want to give the middle finger to cancer? Specifically a tumor named Freddy? If so, please read on…

I met Ruth in early February of 2013, in my first spinning class at Next Generation Personal Fitness (NGPT), in Bloomington, IN. I noticed her because quite honestly she was kicking my butt! I joined the gym because I was going through a difficult transition in my own life (in Indiana no less, far away from my family back East), and suddenly I was alone for the first time in years and looking for a fresh start. However, my world began to change when Ruth (left in pic), and her now wife Amy, befriended me. Simple stated: An unassuming invitation for coffee and chatting after spin class at a local Starbucks formed a friendship between the three of us that I cherish. In fact, most of my closest friends in Bloomington are within a degree or two of Ruth and Amy. They are, in short, members of my Bloomington family; dare I say, the first to adopt me. Subsequently, almost every Sunday morning I can be found at the coffee shop, laughing (and crying) with these ladies after spinning; that is until recently though. Unfortunately, while my life was getting back on course, Ruth and Amy’s world was about to be shaken up.

Ruth’s story: In July 2013, Ruth went in for a planned hysterectomy. According to Ruth, “surgery and recovery was a breeze (thanks NGPT!),” but the pathology revealed a very rare and extremely aggressive malignancy. As a preventative measure, Ruth went through 3 1/2 rounds of chemo, which had very significant side effects (hello, bandana!...and just incase you are wondering Ruth looks beautiful with or without hair in a bandana!). Chemo was then halted until Feb. of 2014 when it became evident that an abdominal tumor was present. At that point Ruth began another 3 painstaking rounds of a different chemo drug; but the tumor, “Freddy,” is stubborn and kept growing. Next on the agenda was radiation, but again, the tumor got larger and so recently radiation was stopped as well. “Freddy” is such a rare kind of cancer that unfortunately certain types of treatments, like proton therapy, have been denied along the way. Needless-to-say, Ruth’s medical expenses on a monthly basis have been excessive, from daily pain medications ($5/day) to monthly prescriptions (approximately $60-75/month).  I am not sure if you are aware but a cancer diagnosis is one of the leading causes of bankruptcy in this country, especially if you are a woman under the age of 65 (FYI:  Ruth is 61 and since I am a "math" person, see this link for staggering statistics http://www.nbcnews.com/id/51893912/ns/health-cancer/t/cancer-increases-bankruptcy-risk-even-insured/#.VD7r0Vc6PTo). After a long wait for approval and some adjustments to how the latest treatment would be given, Ruth just finished her first 5 consecutive days of a new chemotherapy last week (the second week in October) and because of your help she has had the ability to focus on fighting Freddy rather than having to deal with the minutia of how to pay the medical bills rolling in while on leave from work; and Amy can focus all of her attention on supporting Ruth. 

If you see Ruth she will tell you, “I AM IN PERFECT HEALTH except for the cancer. That could change at any time, but right now that is it how it stands.” Ruth, like her cancer, is rare. I have seen her spin through discomfort, exhaustion, and pain over the last year. Sunday, after a week of chemo, she even spun over 19 miles.  She. Inspires. Me. I have always wanted to run a marathon (call it a bucket list item if you will) but I never thought physically (or mentally) I could do it. I am quite aware that one literally puts their body through torture to train. As I mulled over the decision to run 26.2 miles in my head, I kept seeing Ruth’s face as I have seen it so many times in the back of the spin cave. Ruth's body is now literally fighting the battle for her life; in a sense, cancer is her marathon.  Ruth knows the pain that one’s body can endure. I was never 100% convinced I could run a marathon physically or mentally, but Ruth's experience and strength is what I drew on to help me train and finish the Indianapolis Marathon on Oct. 18th; So, I am “Running for Ruth" or should I say I ran for Ruth since I just completed the race.  I channelled the strength, courage, and determination both her and Amy possess to push through it when it hurt the most, just as Ruth has done for me in countless spinning classes. As promised, Ruth and Amy, were waiting for me at the finish line (ready to catch me), along with my other Magnificant Mile Half-Marathon training partners and those that also ran the race. That image helped me put one foot in front of the other every day in my traiing and it did the trick during the marathon as well. To follow my training updates, please check facebook or my blog at
http://www.wemeltyou.com/runningforruth/

The reason I started this site was with the intention  of repaying this great honor of “Running for Ruth,” and drawing on her strength, by fundraising money for her excessive medical bills and expenses to help make the next part of their journey just a little easier. This gofundme site is just one way WE united to support a BLOOMINGTON WARRIOR. I couldn't do this alone and certainly there were so many people that helped to support our ambitious goal.

In addition to this website there were other components to the fundraising as well, which will end on Oct. 18th when I cross the finish line at the Indianapolis marathon.  

T-shirts:  
T-shirts have been made and sold in Ruth’s favorite color, baby blue, which I wore on race day. There are still a few remaining shirts available at NGPT (

http://www.wemeltyou.com/runningforruth/

) if you are interested; because  even more important than the money is that Ruth (and Amy) will see a sea of people in blue, cheering them on...at the gym, at Starbucks, in the supermarket, on facebook...long after this fundraising campaign is over.  I will happily send anyone that donates more than $26.20 on this site a shirt as well.   

"Running for Ruth" events where the t-shirts have been and will be spotted:
1)  Many NGPTers  "ran (and walked) for Ruth" at the Hoosiers Outrun Cancer 5K on Saturday, Sept. 20th wearing their blue shirts (while Ruth an Amy cheered them on)!  
2)  A few of Ruth biggest fans, including me, also sported their "Running for Ruth" shirts at the Chocoholic Frolic in Indianapolis, IN on Sept.  28th.
3)  There were women and men "Running for Ruth" at the Indianapolis marathon alongside of me (at all race distances) on Oct. 18th, our culminating fundraising event.  
4) There is a "Romping for Ruth" team, already 26 people strong, set to compete at the Bloomington Boys & Girls Club {Halloween} Romp at Riddle Point, a 2.5 mile, 12- obstacle course run/walk/race, on Nov. 1st (even though the fundraiser will be over).  There is still time to join the team at
http://romp.kintera.org/2014 

Dine & Donate:
In addition to fundraising via shirt sales and the gofundme site, the delicious BuffaLouis’s ( http://buffalouies.com/) generously donated 15% of each sale to the fund that mentioned Ruth’s name (or NGPT) after the Hoosiers Outrun Cancer 5K.

“Riding for Ruth” spinning classes:
There were two donation rides held at NGPT on Saturday, Oct. 4th that were a great success.  It seemed fitting to stand up to cancer on a bike, where I first met Ruth (and Amy). Again, the room was covered in BLUE!  Want to know more about how the "Riding for Ruth" spinning classes turned out on Oct. 4th...then check out my newest blog at http://www.wemeltyou.com/riding-ruth-spinning-classes-oct-4th-legit-quit/! Thank you to all that donated their legs to the cause!

Any proceeds from this site, the shirt sales, the BuffaLouis's donation day, or the donation spinning classes on Oct. 4th have already gone directly to Ruth and her care.  If you can't afford the shirt or to donate financially in some way (I get that as a grad student!), and you can't Run?Walk?Ride/Romp for Ruth yourself or come cheer us on, then I thank you in advance for however your support & strength can come over the weeks and months ahead for Ruth...financially, emotionally, physically, paying it forward, through prayer or otherwise.   

Although the campaign has officially ended, Ruth's battle with Freddy is sadly still far from over.  This site will stay up as a way to continue to lend support to Ruth and Amy.  Any money donated will continue to be sent to Ruth.  You should know that on Oct. 18th we gave a check of $12,817 to Ruth and Amy, which was at the time the combined total of our fundraising events (including what is listed on this site).  Even after the event, donations poured in and we are now at $13, 179 (Wow).  The Indianapolis marathon also awarded Ruth with a finisher's marathon medal, since she ran that whole race in my head with me (thankfully!).  Lastly, many local people lended some kind words of support (in addition to or in lieu of a financial donation) by signing the "Running for Ruth" commemorative photo frames and Ruth and Lauren's marathon shirts!   These items were also presented to Ruth and Amy at the finish line of the Indy marathon on Oct. 18th.  I wore all donors names on my race day "Running for Ruth" shirt too, as a way to honor all of those that have contributed from near and far.  Thanks in advance to all of those that have helped with this endeavor (you know who you are)!

Lastly, I don't think I am alone in wanting to send a special thank you to Ruth and Amy for letting us share their story with as many people as will listen.  Ruth is not a "center of attention" type of gal and so when I approached them about this I was nervous we would never get the opportunity to yell loudly and proudly how much they mean to those they sweat with, work with, share coffee with, are related too, etc... This gives each of us a turn to show Ruth and Amy just how much they mean to us.  This permission provides a timely oppportunity for all of those people that they have touched throughout the years to reciprocate all the support and kindness they showed us through their friendship and love.

Proud to see you all at the finish line with me.  Now let's not forget to continue to cheer on our Ruth...her marathon isn't over yet!
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It is with a heavy heart that I share a message from Amy to all that have followed Ruth & Amy's journey with cancer, and generously supported, donated, and touched Amy and Ruth's life through this campaign and beyond:

"My darling Ruth left us on this beautiful Bloomington morning. I was with her and we saw a beautiful pair of cardinals near the window as her spirit departed.
We have had a glorious nearly 19 years, and our life has been so rich as we walked side by side and held hands.

We have both appreciated the love and support we have had for all of our life together, but especially in the time of her illness. I hope you know how much it meant to her, and to me.

Details about her memorial service will follow."

I will share one request that in lieu of flowers, or other gifts, donations can be made in Ruth's name to Hospice House of Bloomington, a place now close to Ruth & Amy's heart given, among other things, they helped make Ruth very comfortable once in their care and through the moment she gained her wings. http://iuhealth.org/bloomington/hospice/hospice-house/
What love looks like: Ruth and Amy.
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One final update...
And just like that...the marathon and formal fundraising period is complete for the "Running for Ruth" campaign. However, let’s not forget to continue to cheer on our Ruth (& Amy)…their marathon fight against cancer and Freddy isn’t over just yet! Remember that every time you wear your "Running for Ruth" shirt, you tell Freddy to, "Take that!"

When this campaign was launched on 09/11/14, I never would have predicted what transpired over the course of the next five consecutive weeks. Since crossing that finishing line, I have taken some time to try and wrap my head around it all. I was finally able to articulate my reflection and the outcome was that I blogged about my lessons learned from this whirlwind experience on the NGPT website. I was also able to include more photos and videos on the NGPT website, so if you would like to take a look and read more (including details about what happened during and after the race), I included the link here:
http://www.wemeltyou.com/category/ruth/

Thank you all for making this little idea to support a dear friend turn into so much more for Ruth & Amy (and even me). There are far too many people to thank for their contributions on multiple levels, but I hope you know who you are (HINT: if you are reading this then it is probably is YOU that I am talking about!).

I will leave you here thinking about the final dollar amount that was collectively raised--$13,187. Every day when I watch, listen to, or read the news of yet another terrorist attack, the depressed economy, or failing schools (just to name a few), I think of this number as 13,187 hugs, middle fingers to Freddy, and "you can do its" given to Ruth by strangers, acquaintances, friends, and family. I look at this site and my belief in humanity is restored and re-invigorated by the generosity of the human spirit.

And in case you were wondering, this is what HOPE looks like when it is wrapped in the KINDNESS, SUPPORT, and GENEROSITY of others.
The BIG check.
Start line
Finish line
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Thank you donors! This run is for you too! See you at the finish line.
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Want to know what HOPE looks like? Then what are you waiting for…read on already.
[Note: If you have received and read this link before, I have JUST updated the campaign description on the gofundme.com website to reflect Ruth’s current status and supply updates on ALL of our fundraising efforts over the last month: Please check it out and share it if you feel so inclined. Below I give an overview with my favorite communication tool: numbers]

The “Running for Ruth” Fundraising Campaign Update…by the numbers (after approximately 1 month and only 3 days before the culminating event):
• $1000-approximately what we raised on Oct. 4th at the “Riding for Ruth” spinning classes (2)**
• 500-an approximation of the number of middle fingers given to “Freddy the freeloading tumor” since 9/11/14 (the opening day of the campaign)
• $135-the amount of money needed to reach our ONLINE goal by Oct. 18th (SO CLOSE!!!...will we make it?!?)
• 100-the number of online donors to the “Running for Ruth” fundraising campaign as of 10/15/14
• 26.2-the number of miles I will in run on Saturday in the Indianapolis marathon for Ruth
• 19 (ish)- the number of miles Ruth logged on the spinning bike in class on Sunday 10/12/14, AFTER having 5 consecutive days of chemotherapy
• 17-the number of states in which people have donated to the campaign
• 14-the number of bottles of baby Advil that Amy was able to purchase for Ruth on Oct. 4th without worry when it cost $90 because of the donations.
• 11-the number of my peers running with me and for Ruth in blue on Oct. 18th at various distances
• 5-the number of days of chemo Ruth completed last week
• 4-photos taken of the “Running for Ruth” shirts being wore in different states
• 3-the number of weeks until Ruth’s next round of chemo
• 2-the number of days until I run the Indianapolis marathon for Ruth
• 1-there is only one Ruth and I want to keep her here and healthy for as long as possible!
• 0-the number of “Freddy’s” I want to see in Ruth’s future

The "Running for Ruth" fundraising campaign is not over until I cross that finish line at the Indianapolis Marathon on Oct. 18th. We are SO close to our $10,000 online goal; thank you again to all that have contributed so far. Needless-to-say, Ruth’s medical expenses on a monthly basis have been excessive, from daily pain medications ($5/day) to monthly prescriptions (approximately $60-75/month). I am not sure you are aware but a cancer diagnosis is one of the leading causes of bankruptcy in this country, especially if you are a woman under the age of 65 (FYI: Ruth is 61 and since I am a "math" person, see this link for some more staggering statistics http://www.nbcnews.com/id/51893912/ns/health-cancer/t/cancer-increases-bankruptcy-risk-even-insured/#.VD7r0Vc6PTo).

Ruth JUST finished her first round, 5 consecutive days of chemotherapy last week (the second week in October) and BECAUSE OF YOU AND YOUR HELP she has had the ability to focus on fighting “Freddy” rather than deal with the minutia of how to pay the medical bills rolling in while on leave from work; and Amy can focus all of her attention on supporting Ruth. Can we help them just a little bit more though? It’s not too late to donate…and play a role in helping us meet our online goal (You should know all of the money already donated is already in Ruth and Amy's hands!!!). We also still have a few more t-shirts available. (If you did not get a shirt you ordered please email me ASAP.)

Lastly, if you would like to donate some kind words of support (in addition to or in lieu of a financial donation), and you live in or near Bloomington, IN, please go to the lobby of NGPT during business hours before Friday 10/17 at 7:30am to sign the "Running for Ruth" commemorative photo frames (to be presented to Ruth and Amy at the finish line of the Indy marathon on Oct. 18th along with a few other surprises) and/or Ruth and Lauren's marathon shirts!

**The most recent campaign fundraiser: the “Riding for Ruth” spinning classes held at NGPT on Oct. 4th were “too legit to quit!” and “crazy” fun! It seemed fitting to stand up to cancer on a bike, where I first met Ruth (and Amy). Again, the room was covered in BLUE, blue t-shirts that is! Want to know more about what happened at the "Riding for Ruth" spinning classes...then check out my newest blog at http://www.wemeltyou.com/riding-ruth-spinning-classes-oct-4th-legit-quit/! Thank you to all that donated their legs to the cause!

Lastly, I want to apologize that this latest update has taken me so long to write. I have been rendered speechless and teary-eyed over much of the last month by witnessing such acts of kindness; so writing a blog or a Facebook post has seemed daunting as of late. I have spent many hours now reflecting on this “Running for Ruth” fundraising campaign, trying to find the “right” words that would capture and articulate just how special this has been…For Ruth…For Amy….For me. But I finally came to realize that no words will ever suffice. Actions mean more anyway (at least that is what I am told). Actions, like donating, spinning, and running for Ruth. My turn to give back is up next…Indy Marathon, here I come. The t-shirts that we are all wearing cover our hearts, the area that YOU ALL have touched most by your actions (i.e., donations, kind words, support, etc…). I want to THANK ALL OF YOU (near and far) that have generously donated by WEARING YOUR NAMES (and positive messages) as I run. I will record the names of those that have donated via gofundme that were not anonymous and cannot get to the gym to sign the shirt as well. I want to thank you with each step I take that day…until I see Ruth and Amy, who will (hopefully) be waiting at the end with a big HUG; I want you all to be in that moment with me too....You’ve earned it. So let’s finish this campaign on the right foot (literally). See you at the finish line!
Chocoholic Frolic Run
NGPT lobby
Ruth, Amy, and Lauren AFTER Oct 4th Spin
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Read a Previous Update
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$10,463 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 106 people in 41 months
Created September 11, 2014
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PD
$100
Paulette and Todd Davidson
40 months ago

Thanks, Lauren, for all the work you put into this effort to make it easy for all of Ruth and Amy's many friends to help out with medical expenses. Congrats on finishing your first marathon and I know that Ruth and Amy were inspiration to you along the way!

SB
$26
Sarah Briggs
40 months ago

good Luck tomorrow!! Shirt size SMALL 47 Woodworth St Victor, NY 14564

MR
$50
Michael Rapacki
40 months ago

Never give up. It's up to each of us to fight on.

JS
$135
John Seymour
40 months ago

According to your figures this should make it 10,000 bucks and

$50
Anonymous
41 months ago
WK
$100
Wanda Katinszky
41 months ago

You go girl(s)!

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