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Team Honorees

About the Program
Each Team in Training team is matched with a group of honorees; people from the Bay Area whose lives have been affected by blood related cancers.  We welcome you to meet the North Bay Cycle Team's Honorees below. If you have a personal Honoree and would like to share their story or, would like to share your thoughts about Team in Training, please add your comments to the On-line Honoree Board.

Susan Conrad  |  Jamie Draper  |  Laila  |  Jessica Waidelich

Susan Conrad
Age: 58
Diagnosis: Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
Diagnosed: December 1996

Visit Susan's Journey - a diary.

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. However, I will begin oral chemotherapy in January. Hopefully, this will bring my white blood cell count back to normal so that my immune system can function normally.

I have completed 3 TNT endurance events. In Summer 2001 I completed the Las Vegas Century Ride. How can I explain the feeling of a 58-year-old woman living with leukemia riding the last 10 miles of a century ride with 18 of her teammates, who slowed to her pace so that we could all cross the finish line together?

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 will be an honoree and participant for the Cycle Team in Winter 2002. If my health allows me, I will complete my 4th TNT event. I look forward to training with you!

Visit Susan's Journey - a diary.
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Jamie Draper
Diagnosis: Diffused Large Cell Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma - Stage 3
Diagnosed: May 2000

I joined TNT June of 2001 as a cyclist. I finished all my chemotherapy in January of 2001 and I am now in remission. I say cured!! No remission for me.

I first learned of Lymphoma a few years ago, when my father was diagnosed with a stage 4 Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma. I watched him go through chemotherapy, radiation and other procedures, which was very difficult for me and my family. He passed away from complications in February of 2000. I started feeling ill during my father's funeral. For the following three months I went through multiple tests, had a constant fever, lost close to 50 pounds, and became dangerously anemic. I was diagnosed with Lymphoma in May of 2000.

It was a relief to know what was wrong Now that I knew what the diagnosis was I could begin the fight against cancer. With the help of great doctors and nurses and after nine months of chemotherapy treatments, I was cancer free in January of 2001.

When I first started Team in Training I was doubtful of my physical ability after nine months of Chemotherapy. Joining Team in Training was a great experience for me. I enjoyed the support and fellowship of the coaches, the staff and the other riders. I look forward to talking and riding with you this season.

Go Team!!
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Jessica Waidelich
Age: 14
Diagnosis: Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL); finishes treatment in May 2002

My name is Jessica Waidelich, and I have leukemia. I was diagnosed with leukemia on February 25th, 2000. I was thirteen then. Before I was diagnosed with leukemia, I was very tired and pale. My mom said it was just because I was a teenager. After a while, though, she started to get worried. I went to the doctor, and she told me it could be anemia. She told me that she wanted a sample of my blood to test. The next day, during the middle of math class, my father came to pick me up and he told me that I was going to the hospital. I was really scared. We went to the emergency room. A while later my mom arrived from work. I was in the hospital for a day before I was diagnosed. I was in seventh grade at the time. I missed half of seventh grade and the beginning of eighth grade.

When I was in the hospital, my friends and family visited me often. My friends were wonderful. They brought games and tapes of my favorite TV shows, and we watched the tapes and played games all day. My family was great, too. I had family from Chicago come out just to see me.

On a much lighter note, I learned about the Make-A-Wish foundation. They talk to kids with cancer and grant them any wish they have that can be achieved. I was really into horses at that time, so I wanted to wish for my own horse. My family thought about it for a while, and we decided it would be too expensive to stable and feed. So I decided to wish for the next best thing, riding lessons. Then I started a difficult phase of chemo, and we put off making my wish. After that phase of chemo was over, the people at my mom's work started a collection of gifts and money for me. No one in our family knew about it. Then, one day mom came home with the back of the van completely filled with gifts. They all had something to do with horses. They had also written me a check for about $1,500. That money was for me to use for riding lessons! I decided to change my wish and have a vacation to Hawaii with my family.

Besides riding horses, I have a couple of other hobbies. I like to play volleyball, swim, make pieces out of stained glass, and read. I started feeling well enough to swim about five months ago, and I have been swimming ever since.

Well, that's my story. Oh, one more quick thing. I'm so happy because I have hair now! Hurray! Losing my hair was one of the hard parts about having leukemia. But now it's back. Yeah!
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Age: 10
Parent's Names: Mara Brown and Russell
Sibling Name and Age: Marija Bleier, age 25

Laila is 10 years old. She was diagnosed with leukemia (AML) at nine months old in December 1991. Laila was treated at Loyola University Hospital in Illinois, by Dr. A. Hayani. She was placed on a six-month protocol, which lasted nearly ten months because she became so ill form the toxicity of the chemotherapy. At first her prognosis was very poor, we were told that if the aggressive type of leukemia she had did not take her life, the toxicity of the chemotherapy would. Thanks to the direction of her doctor, the continued research, prayers from family and friends, Laila is with us today, and we are celebrating Laila's 10th anniversary CURED this January 2002.

Laila has several hobbies. She plays tennis every week, synchronize swims all summer with a team of girls, plays the flute, and loves to read. Laila loves cats, especially Lolly, our cat. She has cat "everything" and looks forward to collecting more.

Laila also loves the beach, tide pooling and snorkeling. Laila is a hiker-having climbed all the way to the top of Mt. Burdell (1558 feet high) and Big Rock (1887 feet high), both in Marin County.

Laila's sister ran the marathon in Anchorage, Alaska, (Mayor's Midnight Sun Marathon) two years ago, and Laila was there to run her in the last two miles. Laila is strong, healthy, happy, and full of life, and adores each minute of it.

Laila does not remember being sick; she was so young, however, she knows about leukemia, and how she was. She knows how fortunate she is to be alive, and her doctor has a very special place in her heart and ours. Laila knows her physical scars are really "beauty marks" because that is how she received her medicine. We are so very grateful that there are so many people that care enough to give themselves, so that others can have people like Laila in their lives. THANK YOU!

In addition, we (Mara, mother and Marija, sister) are celebrating Laila's 11th birthday in Solvang, March 9th, 2002 by riding the Century in Laila's honor. The century just happens to be on Laila's 11th birthday. Also, Laila's brother-in-law Kenneth Bleier is running the marathon in Napa, CA, March 2002.
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