The Inspiration to Run

The following story was featured in eNewsline, LLS’s monthly eNewsletter. To subscribe, visit

Six sisters train to honor seventh who died from lymphoma …

Tam Driscoll, of Portland, OR, remembers watching her friend run marathon after marathon, marveling at her body’s endurance, and thinking, “This isn’t an achievable goal for an ordinary person like me,” she said. “Marathons are for elite runners with only 7% body fat.”

Well, that was nine years and 13 full and half marathons ago. Today she realizes that all she needed was inspiration and a team of like-minded, ordinary folks to run with. Turns out, these are ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Driscoll first joined The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Team In Training (TNT) program when her daughter was one. She completed a marathon in San Diego and raised $7,600 for blood cancer research and patient services.

“Cancer wasn’t yet a part of our family vocabulary,” Driscoll remembers. “I ran because I have a healthy child and I felt fortunate. And then I realized something wonderful about the power of TNT and LLS. I could see that our team’s actions were helping people survive cancer, and would someday lead to a cure. I realized that alone you can race, but together you can really make a difference. Once I understood the power of the group, I was hooked.”

Driscoll had just signed up for two more races when she got the devastating news: her sister, Nancy, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor linked to lymphoma.

“Fate had drawn me to this organization,” Driscoll said, “even before it found me.”

Nancy Driscoll battled the cancer for six years, but tragically died of the disease in June 2009.

Now Driscoll has persuaded her other five sisters, who live in North Carolina and Virginia to join her in preparingfor the Nike Women’s Marathon to Benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Oct. 17th in San Francisco. And so, Team Nancy has been born.

The other five sisters – Pam Haines, Kathy Vardo, Debbie Metcalf, Tracey Driscoll, and Barbara Ludeman – are training in their hometowns and will meet in San Francisco for the 7th running of the Nike Women’s Marathon, whose TNT participants are poised to surpass the $100 million since the inception of this event. Their mother, Joyce Driscoll, is their honorary coach, and she says having Team Nancy is helping her with the grieving process. Brothers Dan and Tim Driscoll are also involved, helping with fundraising and awareness building.

Rather than focus on the tragedy of Nancy’s death, Driscoll prefers to focus on the time they had together, and the extra years the sisters were given when Nancy’s treatment was working.

“Losing a sister or anyone to cancer is unacceptable not to mention painful and gut wrenching,” she says. “We want to stop cancer from taking more lives and are taking action with this race. It’s a tough challenge, but having our sister Nancy’s spirit and memory to fuel our feet and hearts is worth ever step. We feel like we are making a difference in so many lives.”

Visit the Team Nancy web page at
To learn more about Team In Training visit

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