Team Be Happy 5K/10K Newsletter Volume 1

I cannot tell you how excited we all are for this event and what it represents for us. For those of you who don’t know me, Hi my name is Stephanie and I’m a runner, I am also Lindsay’s sister.

When Lindsay was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in March of 2016 the world my family once knew was forever changed. She was 27 years old, had a 4 year old son and in our minds was far too young to be in this position. We (the
caretakers) had no idea what we were up against; the challenges we would face, the mental emotional and physical struggles that were to come and the inevitable outcome that no one wanted to accept. The one thing that set us apart from most was that we always had HOPE. I held my sister’s hand as she died every second believing she might wake up.

That level of Hope isn’t easy to come by. It became the mission of my Mother Carla, my brother-in-law Sean, and myself to be with her and to care for Lindsay no matter what and make sure that if nothing else – we always had hope. Hope comes in strange forms…after hours of watching your loved one vomit all night they finally got a reprieve and maybe cracked a smile or even a joke, or knowing you’ve just been accepted into a clinical trial at Smilow Cancer Center, or being healthy enough to leave the hospital and sleep in your own bed and also put
your son to bed…for Lindsay, I would like to think that because we never believed she would lose this battle she never did either. One of our goals at Lindsay’s Legacy Foundation Inc. is to provide that Hope for others, this year our fundraising efforts will support the Smilow Cancer Center’s “Closer to Free” program which provides Phase 1 clinical trials in addition to patient and family support for those whose cancer has not responded to standardized treatment –
Lindsay was a recipient of that support and participated in one of those Phase 1 clinical trials that made her bone marrow transplant possible. (*Her participation in that clinical trial has contributed to the drug ASP2215 gaining FDA approval for cancer treatment. Read more here.

After rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, a bone marrow transplant for which I was the donor, months in the hospital with only brief respites of freedom out in the world the cancer had spread to her spine and there was nothing else to be done. In true Hero fashion, Lindsay said,” write Be Happy on the white board, I want you all to remember that – I will be free and out of pain, be happy for me don’t be sad”. In those moments Team Be Happy was officially born. It has become our life’s mission to honor Lindsay and her legacy by spreading the “Be Happy” message and providing Hope wherever we can.

So…after Lindsay died we all were devastated, the three of us who had spent every day and night with Lindsay had the pain of her loss but also all this extra empty space that had once been filled by caring for her. Sean had decided to register to ride in Smilow’s “Closer to Free” charity bike ride in Lindsay’s honor…but was a little out of shape. He came to me, knowing I was a runner and very active, and asked if we could maybe run together. As a Father’s Day gift I
registered us for the HMF Summer Solstice Trail run in Hebron, CT. That was our first race together representing Lindsay by running in her honor in our Be Happy T-shirts – flash forward to today, just shy of a year later and we have run and ridden in nearly 40 events on behalf of Lindsay and Team Be Happy. We run for our sanity, for ourselves, and for Lindsay as Team Be Happy.

We are so grateful you have chosen to join Team BE HAPPY. Over the next few weeks I will continue to send out these little newsletters with fundraising updates, race info, and maybe even some swag sneak peaks…if you have a story you would like to share or your reason for being a part of the BE HAPPY run please share it. I would love to include your stories! For now here are some photos of Team BE HAPPY and some of our running escapades.

Team BE HAPPY members, my now little brother Landen Paul, my Mom Carla, my Brother in
Law Sean, myself, my husband TJ, Landen Paul’s Auntie Katy, my cousin Jennifer, Sean’s son
Tommy – we are a modern family!)

Excited to run with you all and welcome to Team BE HAPPY!
Stephanie McKenna
Race Director
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