In my first page, I told of my experience as a Mentor/Captain with Team in Training. Here is a story of what happened AFTER Nike Women's Marathon 2005. I went from being honored at their Pasta Party that weekend to persona non grata in a matter of months.
After Hurricane Katrina, I wanted to help our TNT teams in Louisiana and Mississippi. It would be only a matter of 7 weeks until the participants would go to Nike Women's Marathon. With the hurricane destroying many lives, I wanted to help them get to their event. I approaced our Chapter (Greater Los Angeles) and asked them to help me with this effort. They declined to get the teams involved because of fundraising, so I went forward on my own.
The Westside Marathon team's Alumni, Mentors, Captains and Coaches all pitched in with loads of clothes and items to send to our fellow TNT'ers in Mississippi. At this point we had no contact with Louisiana because they were forced out of their office in New Orleans. Over 50 boxes of Relief were sent to Mississippi, including some from my personal friends were not involved with TNT.
I made several calls to others to donate shoes and we were able to get new shoes for those people who lost everything. Nike also donated clothes to the participants coming to Nike Women's Marathon. Right before the event, we made up goodie bags for those coming to San Francisco. My walkers donated items for these bags and I purchased little TNT bears for each bag.
We planned a dinner in San Francisco to meet our Southern friends and host this dinner for them. It was a great time and we got to meet people who benefited by the Relief we had sent.
At the Pasta Party on Saturday Night, I was shocked to be recognized for the Relief Effort as I did it ONLY because it was the human thing to do. In front of 2,000 people they told of what I had done after Hurricane Katrina.
Shift gears to December 2005 and I receive a letter from a Senior Executive Paul Weiss with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. In his letter this is what he states, "We request that you not participate in any Society event, including Team in Training, with the Greater Los Angeles Chapter or any Society Chapter". What prompted this according to Mr. Weiss is that I voiced my opinion to them about the treatment of Mentors & Captains; a open dialog which I did not start. I did voice how I felt, but I was not the one who began the issue-a fellow Mentor and friend did. Was this really the issue with LLS and the Greater Los Angeles Chapter or was it that I embarrassed a whole organization by putting forth this Relief Effort while they wouldn't participate? I will never know and it really doesn't matter.
I started my own Marathon group and we still train and participate in events together. We have 65+ people in our group that were former TNT'ers who decided they too had enough of these politics within the Chapter. I am persona non grata as far as LLS and TNT concerned. That's fine with me as I would not want to be associated with an organization that CAN treat hard working volunteers in this manner.