Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Why Laurel Fights

My sister Bec and I were thrilled to be a party of the kick off event for Team Fight '09. We were so happy to meet so many amazing people connected to the Ulman Cancer Fund and of course to catch up with some familiar faces. It was truly an inspiring night for us to learn about the various programs the UCF supports and to meet our fellow teamFIGHTers.

One of the themes of the night was "Why We Fight". Everyone involved comes to Team Fight with a different reason for fighting, but we all have the same goal: to raise awareness and funds to support young adults affected by cancer (and to cross that finish line with a smile!). I was able to share a little of my story at the event, but I thought I'd share with you a little bit more about why I fight.

Last year, my first year as a professional triathlete, I was invited to race in the Life Time Fitness Triathlon in Minneapolis. This race is pretty much the All-Star game of our sport. A small, select field of the best triathletes in the world, Olympians from all over the globe -- and me! I was incredibly honored just to be among this group. As we jogged to our starting positions at the edge of the lake, the announcer read off the achievements of the athletes, "triple world champion", "Ironman champion", and then, "the only rookie in the field, twin sister of Bec Wassner and cancer survivor, Laurel Wassner". I will never forget hearing those words. And, I'm pretty sure they came as a surprise to most of the people in the crowd. How could a scrawny, bald cancer patient become a contender on the world stage? I will tell you how: because I FIGHT! I fight for all of those battling disease, I fight to raise cancer awareness, I fight to prove the
doubters (yes, there are actually doubters!) wrong, I fight for all of those who are unable to compete, I fight to inspire, I fight to win.

Bec and I are honored to represent the Ulman Cancer Fund and Team Fight, and we will wear our yellow uniforms with pride as we travel and race around the world. We hope that throughout the season we are able to inspire Team Fighterers, just as they have inspired us. And, as Brian reminded us on Wednesday, as we raise more and more awareness, we will change more and more lives.

Thank you all for fighting!

Laurel Wassner

Professional Triathlete

Cancer Survivor

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