Friday, March 23, 2007

Katie's Initial Email

Hello Friends and Family,

The National Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has several national fundraising events each year and one of their largest is called "Man and Woman of the Year." The Virginia event kicks off on March 22, 2007, at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens and the Grand Finale takes place on May 18, 2007, also at the gardens.

I have been nominated to run as "Woman of the Year" for Richmond and for the Commonwealth of Virginia. There will likely be 6-8 other candidates with whom I will compete. This is a tremendous honor for my family, and we have decided that I will accept the nomination.

So what does this mean? What this means is that starting on March 22nd, 2007, I will work for 8 weeks to raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The goal of this competition is to raise monies to further cancer research and to help the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society reach its short and long-term goals. My goal is to raise $150,000.00.

Here is the link to the event site for Virginia for more information:

As you know, my dad, Bill Lowry was diagnosed in 2004 with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia ("AML") an aggressive cancer of the blood. After (2) two bone marrow transplants, he lost his battle with cancer on November 6, 2006, at the Medical College of Virginia after a 3 month stay in the hospital. As you can imagine my mom and I are doing our best to cope with this tremendous loss. There is also my grandpa (my dad’s dad), my Uncle Eric, many other family members and countless friends who still grieve the loss of my dad.

Even in light of my Dad’s recent passing, I feel led to accept this nomination in honor of my dad’s life and also in honor of my mom’s unyielding support of him as his primary care giver. I also feel led to accept this nomination to honor the support Dad received from the medical staff at Virginia Cancer Institute and at VCU/MCV, his church, fellow churches, his friends, his family and of countless others who crossed our path and brought many good moments during a difficult situation.

When I spoke with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society regarding the nomination, I thought about several words of wisdom my dad shared with me during his illness. His words helped me make my decision.

My dad and I never talked about the possibility of him dying because it was too painful; however, in his own way he told me that no matter what happens he said “I’m a winner no matter what.” Dad is a winner and is in heaven, but his spirit and zest for life continues to inspire me and continues to touch others. Sharing his legacy helps me remember all the good things about my dad and recognize that even in physical death, his earthly life and heavenly spirit continue to do “good works.”

When Dad underwent his bone marrow transplant at MCV, he experienced kidney failure and contracted a dangerous fungus of the brain. He would, when he could, laugh, sing, or even joke with us to the extent he was physically capable. The courage and faith that my dad demonstrated during his illness helps me to cope with his loss.

Again, my family cannot thank you enough for your support – whether a call, an email, a card, a shoulder to cry on, or a hot meal. Your acts of kindness greatly moved my mom and dad and served as a testimony to your love for them. I remember my dad saying as much as he wished he did not have leukemia, he would never take it back for all the gifts that the disease awarded him.

I’ll continue to keep you posted as we approach the kick-off date on March 22nd. Should you have any ideas, suggestions or experience with this type of event, please don’t hesitate to contact me (I’ve never done ANYTHING like this before). If you would like to help me with this wonderful cause, I would appreciate it if you would let me know as soon as you can. I certainly appreciate any support you may be able to offer. We may have to roll up our sleeves a bit, but I can assure you we will have fun as we do good for others and help fund research that will result in better treatments to patients who suffer from blood cancers, as well as other forms of cancer.

If you have any ideas about fundraising or have contacts in the community or business area, please let me know. Should you wish to work on my sub-committee to help fundraise, please let me know.

Much love,

Katie (Lowry) King

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