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Time Off with: Team Hopkins

  Running to raise money for a favorite charity are, from left, Kathy Williams, CJ Texler, Bryan McVerry and Sigrid Berg. Not present: Aravind Arepally, Amanda McNeil, Cindy Mould.
Two years ago, Kathy Williams couldn’t imagine running a marathon. The idea seemed ludicrous to the 40-something nurse practitioner who struggles with her weight—until, that is, IV therapist CJ Texler convinced her to join her in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Team in Training Program. Now Williams is part of “Team Hopkins,” the unofficial name for a group of seven employees—philanthropic fitness fanatics all.

Williams began with a 100-mile “century” bike ride last year and now is training for an LLS marathon in Arizona, scheduled in January. Her teammates, all of whom have a personal connection to blood cancer, have been engaged in similar athletic endeavors. For each event they participate in, they must each raise between $3,200 and $4,000. Since 2002, Team Hopkins has raised a combined total of more than $50,000.

Efforts to support charities like LLS are not unusual among Hopkins Medicine employees who often care for patients ravaged by illness. “Training for a marathon is a cakewalk compared to what these patients and their families go through,” Williams says.

A young leukemia patient challenged Texler to run her first marathon in 2000. Texler was struggling with her own health problems. She had Lyme disease and doubted she could endure a marathon’s rigors. “If I can get through my chemo,” the young man taunted, “you can get through the race.” Texler completed that marathon and then recruited other Hopkins employees for the Team in Training program. Recently, she and pulmonary fellow Bryan McVerry participated in an Ironman event—swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles and running 26.2 miles.

Sweating it out with Texler, McVerry and Williams are senior medical resident Sigrid Berg, pediatric genetic counselor Amanda McNeil, interventional radiologist Aravind Arepally, and nurse Cindy Mould. In return for meeting daunting physical and fund-raising goals, LLS provides coaching and training, as well as travel and lodging to locations around the globe. For Texler, the icing on the cake has been learning to cope with Lyme disease and staying fit while raising money for an organization she values.

Meanwhile, she’s convinced her triumphs on the track—displayed in photos on her binder and pins on her name badge—lift her patients’ spirits, too: “I owe it to them to do my best.”

—Judy Minkove

 

 

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