Pint-sized Inspiration

. October 1, 2013.
Nataleigh-Hartman-new-image

When the going gets tough, sometimes the tough get running—but not until after doing some research.
At least, that’s what Doug and Janell Hartman did when they found out that their daughter, Nataleigh, then 16-months-old, had been diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Lymphoma (ALL), a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. “I spent days on the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s website [www.lls.org],” says Doug. He found out about one of the society’s national campaigns: Team In Training® (TNT), which coaches and trains participants to finish fundraising endurance events.

He tackled his first one in 2007, the Cleveland Half Marathon. Since both parents were consumed by Nataleigh’s treatment—she had only been diagnosed 8 months earlier—and Janell was out of commission due to pregnancy, Doug participated without much training. “I ran the first nine miles on adrenaline and emotion, not stopping a single time,” he says. “I hit the wall big time at mile nine. I experienced what I thought was an entire body cramp.” He limped his way to the finish line. Janell joined him five years later for the same race, her first, in 2012. “I beat him by eight minutes. He’ll blame it on his lack of training again,” she quipped.

Something even more momentous has occurred in those years: Nataleigh is now a healthy 7-year-old who, in December 2012, celebrated four years since her last treatment. A sports enthusiast like her parents, Nataleigh also enjoys reading, and dreams of creating a chemo that tastes like Doritos. The Northern Ohio chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society named her Girl of the Year, an honor reserved for a local child battling blood cancer who can motivate and inspire fundraisers for the Society.  Since its inception in 1988, the organization has raised over a billion dollars to help fund blood cancer research and to assist patients and families.

“It is difficult to put into words how much we appreciate everyone that has any connection to TNT,” says Janell. “Our daughter is a constant reminder of this and we can’t thank them enough.”

Find out how you can participate in Team in Training® by visiting
www.teamintraining/org/nohor calling 216-264-5694.