LLS Team in Training Celebrates 25 Years

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This year marks the 25th year for one of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's flagship fundraising campaigns, Team In Training (TNT).

Called the world's first and largest endurance sports training program, TNT works by offering participants a choice of more than 200 accredited national and local events for which to train.

In exchange for raising funds for the LLS, and in an effort to achieve their goals in whichever event they choose, participants receive four or five months worth of personalized training by certified professional fitness coaches.

More than 570,000 people have participated in TNT over the past 25 years, helping to raise more than $875 million towards finding effective treatments and cures for blood cancers.

Said George Omiros, executive vice president, chief campaign and field development officer of LLS:

Not only have [TNT participants] had an unforgettable experience and opportunity to reach personal goals, but these committed individuals have brought us closer to the ultimate finish line: the end of blood cancers. Team In Training has played a tremendous role in the success of LLS, in helping us fund leading scientists and researchers to discover novel, breakthrough blood cancer treatments and cures.

TNT was launched ostensibly in 1988 by New Yorker Bruce Cleland. He formed a team to train for and run the New York City Marathon, which would also raise funds for the LLS in honor of his daughter Georgia, who, at just 2 years old, had been diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), the most common form of cancer to afflict children.

Said Cleland:

I was trying to get past the helplessness and fear I felt as a result of my daughter's deadly diagnosis. When Georgia was diagnosed, the five-year survival rate was only a shocking 60 percent. A desire to help her and others like her was my fuel. Day after day it literally got me up on my feet, out on the road and eventually over the finish line along with my wonderful TNT teammates.

His team of 38 runners raised an astonishing $320,000 for the LLS and gave rise to this incredible program, which runs throughout the year.

As for his daughter, today Georgia is 29, cancer-free, and currently training for her fourth half-marathon by way of the campaign her father began 25 years ago.

Source: LLS

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