James and Melissa, inspirational participants from our TNT community
Meet husband and wife James and Melissa, inspirational participants from our TNT community. James has been a participant with TNT for 4 years after hearing a radio ad for an upcoming marathon, “I was really out of shape and needed some motivation, I said to myself; what better way than training for TNT and help out people in the process?” Although James had been active in sports prior to his first marathon in Ottawa, he was never a runner. When asking James what he remembers about his first race, he explained, “What really stood out was the extreme happiness I felt, that I was able to raise money for a great cause and that all my friends and family came out to support me on race day. I had never done anything like that before and the people who know me, know that I am not a people person, getting out of my comfort zone was a challenge, but a challenge that paid off.” He went on to say, “The people you meet and the staff at TNT make it all worth any struggles you may go through during your training or on race day.” James has since completed 4 races with TNT raising over $31,149!!! One of the races he completed was in Scotland and he was the events top fundraiser, raising $11,000.
Jame’s wife Melissa has been a huge support in James’s training and fundraising. From taking care of their two daughters at home while James goes out for runs, to helping coordinate events like their dance event or annual poker tournament; she has has been a huge part of James’s success.
In 2014 James signed up for the Alaska half marathon (where he was also top fundraiser), where he not only fundraised for himself but also for a friend in order for him to participate in the marathon. Prior to the race James became injured and postponed his surgery in order to complete the race, “People were counting on me to finish what I had started, I didn’t want to give up, so instead of running the half marathon, I ran the 10km race; I’ll do anything for TNT.” And that he will! James has even auctioned off a part of his leg to get tattooed to raise money for this cause! He also dressed up in one of the purple “morph” suits below as a way to create awareness.
“I never want to hear that my children are sick, I couldn’t imagine being the parent that has to; that inspires me to take part in TNT.” Melissa had thought about running for TNT before, but really felt the pressure to join a race when James couldn’t participate this year. “We didn’t want to take a year off from fundraising, it has been something we have gotten used to doing each year and it would be hard to stop and start again. Our supporters wanted us to keep going, and so I did. I signed up for my first half marathon in May.”
When talking with Melissa about how the training is coming along, she said, “The training takes a lot of dedication and discipline, and I enjoy it. After spending time in the gym working on core strength, I find the runs are becoming easier.” When asked what TNT has taught her about herself, Melissa explained “TNT has taught me to believe in myself. At the beginning, I really didn’t think I could do it.” When discussing what advice she would give someone hesitant to join TNT, Melissa stated “Go for it! You will experience life-changing moments and you will feel like a winner just giving back. What you gain will be beyond any of your expectations. The people you meet, the support you receive will create bonds with people that will last a lifetime.”
Melissa is taking part in the Tinker Bell Half Marathon in May, the fundraising commitment is $3499 and Melissa has already raised 5,040!!! James and Melissa dedicate each race to someone who has been affected by blood cancer. This year, they dedicate Melissa’s race to a 10 year old girl battling Leukemia.
Melissa and James are going to keep running for TNT; they both look forward to their next race, where they hope to run together for the first time. (And where Melissa hopes to beat James’s time!)
We are incredibly grateful to have these two participants on the team! They are leaders, selfless people, and motivators to so many. We thank them for their continuous support.