Running for the causePublished 10:56am Wednesday, December 9, 2009
By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star
Keith and Katrina Andrews’ and their son, Mark Calhoun, may seem like the typical family.Katrina and her husband run Andrews Tax & Accounting PC in town, on Fourth Street.
Mark is a senior at Niles High School, a strong student and a recognizable name on the track team.
Like any typical family might, the Andrews will escape the winter’s cold for a short period at least, with a trip down to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.
But the reason for their trip is anything but typical.
Keith and Katrina will participate in a half-marathon run, Mark in a full marathon, as part of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s “Team in Training” program.
The 20-year-old program provides certified coaching and training to those interested in making a run, while raising money for blood cancer research.
When it comes to what inspired the family to come together, dedicate themselves to training and raise $7,600 in donations for the cause – the reasons are many.
“We wanted to do something as a family to contribute,” Keith said in a previous statement. “Mark is a serious runner and was inspired by the determination and optimism of his classmate who has battled leukemia.”
That friend is Andrew Wregglesworth, whose family was an inspiration to many recently when they became the second family to benefit from Niles Gives Big.
“Also,” Keith said. “Watching Mark run on the school’s cross country team this past fall fires us up.”
Katrina has been especially touched by the tragedy of the disease that affects so many. According to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, approximately 139,860 people are expected to be diagnosed a form of leukemia, lymphoma or meyloma this year.
Katrina witnessed the true toll of the disease when she watched a friend of hers lose their son to leukemia in the mid-1990s. She still swells with emotion at just the mention of the subject, her eyes fill with tears, she chokes up for moment.
“It was heart wrenching,” she said. “You feel helpless … Watching them being torn apart. His name was Michael, he was so brave.”
With the cause in mind, Katrina said she and Keith also had weight to lose.Katrina’s on medication for high blood pressure and the thought occurred to her, “I have the power to choose,” she said. Those who have lost their battle with leukemia, lymphoma or meyloma do not. “When I have the power to choose, why wouldn’t I?”
Through the “Team in Training” program, Keith and Katrina have gone from “going so slow” during the beginning of their runs to three months later running 10 miles.
“We started out so slow,” she said. “And it was so painful, but I really think anybody can do it.”
What kept them going when they found the training painful, were the very people they’re running for.
“They can not take a break from their disease,” Katrina said. “They have to deal with it every day.” As they would train, she said, she’d look down at the bracelets they wear to remember the cause and keep pushing forward, keep running.
The family runs throughout the week and Katrina said she and Keith have lost 20 pounds each.
In addition to looking forward to the run in January, Katrina said they can’t wait to come back and tell friends and family about the experience, in an effort to inspire more people to change their lives or fight for the cause.
The family will run in January, Mark’s 26.2-mile marathon will be held Jan. 10 and Keith and Katrina’s 13.1-mile half-marathon will be held Jan. 9. The family is still seeking donations and contributions. Donate online at pages.teamintraining.org/vtnt/wdw10/kandrewazw or send donations to Andrews’ Tax and Accounting PC, 18 N. Fourth St., Niles.