Proud to be purple

At age 51, Polly has participated in the Westchester Triathlon 18 times.
For me, racing in a triathlon is about competing at my highest level. I run, bike and swim to be tops in my age group. It's hard to describe the emotions I feel as I cross the finish line -- the excitement of completing the race, the satisfaction of reaching my goals.

Since I've been involved with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In TrainingTM (TNT), the sport of triathlon has taken on a whole new meaning for me. When I joined TNT, like the 275,000 people before me, I found myself deeply committed to the Society's mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

I'm 51 and have been doing triathlons for nearly 20 years. I especially love the Westchester Triathlon in New York, which I've done 18 times. The competitor in me is still there, as always, but on race day now I become part of a larger team. "TNT purple pride" takes over.

I do things that I normally wouldn't in most race situations. I become a mobile cheering section as I encourage my teammates with a "Go, team" or "Looking good!" While running, I exchange high fives with some of my teammates coming in the other direction. It's just thrilling to see them succeed in their goal!

As I do my TNT fundraising and mentor my teammates, I'm amazed at how many people I come across who have been impacted by leukemia and other blood cancers. This is no longer about Polly doing a triathlon. It's about Judy, Alan, Tyrell, Josephine, Katie, Paul and others who are survivors of a disease that only a few years ago would have taken their lives. It's about Clay, Meryl, Jim, Sydney, Lorraine and too many others who lost their battle with the disease.

I take pride in my success as a triathlete, but I take more pride in being part of Team In Training and sharing in the excitement of people achieving milestones in their lives.

Visit the The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training Web site to learn how you can participate.


Polly Wright, 51, a professional chess teacher from Eastchester, NY, is an avid triathlete and mentor with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training triathlon program.

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