Home | Honorees | Coaches | Photos
About the Program
I'm 58 years old and I am presently enjoying my second year of retirement. In my teens and 20's I was a dancer and a gymnast. I was a silver medallist at the first Women's National Collegiate Championships in 1965. In my 30's and 40's I did several bicycle tours to Southern California. When I was 52 I completed my first 1/2 marathon. I worked 34 years at City College of San Francisco as a teacher, coach, athletic director, department chairperson and I served as President of AFT 2121, the faculty union. I love classical and jazz music, reading, playing the piano, being active and spending time with my partner, Diane and our dog and cat.
In December 1996 I was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL). I have not undergone treatment yet. My white blood cell count continues to increase and my doctor believes that I will need treatment in 4 months - 1 year.
Life is never the same after being diagnosed with a life threatening disease. A day never goes by when I don't think about the fact that I have CLL and presently there is no cure and 50% of patients live less than 15 years. I use to live from blood test to blood test. However, I have joined a cancer support group and through my experiences in this group and other personal work I have been doing, I am learning "to live in the moment" and at the same time I am attempting to make plans for the future.
I joined TNT in Summer 2000. I trained and completed my first triathlon. Honorees are suppose to be an inspiration to all the participants. However, they were an inspiration to me.
A great deal of the money raised this season will go to research to find a cure. This means hope for myself and other patients living with Leukemia, Lymphoma and other blood related diseases. This hope is important to me, because I still have many things that I want to do. I want to do a century ride with my partner, Diane. I want to spend extended time with her at our cabin in Truckee. And most important, I want to be here when a cure is found.
I was an bright-eyed seventeen-year-old in 1993. At that time, I was so excited about being a high school senior in the next semester, especially with the idea going off to college after graduation. I had everything planned out for the next two years.
One day I caught the flu and, although I recovered somewhat, I had cold symptoms that seemed to never go away. Plus, I became aware of more occurrences indicating that something was wrong with my health: My complexion was so pale; in fact, I remember my grandma remarking that my skin "looked like paper." I became extremely fatigued once I reached the top of familiar stairs of the house I grew up in. Plus, the chest "rashes" (later diagnosed as bruises) and frequent leg cramps added to my list of health concerns. By the time I got to the hospital at Kaiser-San Francisco, my parents and I were shocked upon hearing my diagnosis of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia or ALL.
The news completely changed my life and (temporarily) halted my plans. I was immediately put on intensive chemotherapy regimen that would last for the next two years and cranial radiation. The experience wasn't easy alone with the common and uncommon side affects of therapy, such as pancreatitis and diabetes. In two months of since starting treatment, I was in remission from leukemia and have been since.
Despite it all, I continued on to graduate with my high school class and be accepted at St. Mary's in Moraga, CA. I transferred to the University of San Francisco and enrolled in a program where I also took classes at the California College of Arts and Crafts. It wasn't easy registering with two schools at the same time, but treatment was easier with the oncologists nearby. In May 2000, I received joint-BFA degree from USF and CCAC in graphic design. Later in the same month on the 27th, I shared happiness with my family and friends (whom many supported and prayed with me during difficult times) at my wedding and marriage to Tom DelMundo.
I am currently a graphic designer with my own web site at www.gippydesign.com. I am also working on a site based on my thesis project which dealt with my own experience with leukemia (I'll let you know when it's uploaded). I enjoy computer games, cartoons (especially those Power Puff Girls and Anime), and painting/drawing. I'm pretty much a big kid at heart.
|Web site hosting donated by BigBiz Internet Services
Site Info | Original Site Development: Pixel Process