Hi! My name is Erin and I’ve had the true honor of knowing Shannon and Teal Diva for longer than I can truly put a finger on, and the Charlotte 5K last weekend was my first! It was awesome to see everyone come together and see all the teams really step up for their girl. I was able to virtually get to know one team ‘Running for Pooh’ and hear their story. I’m excited to share it with you below, enjoy!
Teal Diva : I know your team was called Running for Pooh, what’s the story behind the team name?
Rob : So, the name running for Pooh came from Kim's love for Winnie the Pooh. She was always a huge fan of the cartoon. One of her first stuffed animals when she was younger was a Winnie the Pooh that I was told she took with her everywhere. She even in her adult life, she went by Pooh as her nickname because of her usually sweet disposition. And had a Winnie the Pooh tattooed on her ankle and her nickname Pooh tattooed on her as well.
Teal Diva : Aww I love that, tell us a bit more about Kim.
Rob : Kim was a wonderful, loving caring woman, but she was fiery when she had to be! She was a dedicated and harder worker that always did her best at her job. She loved animals, cats and dogs of any kind. She was like an animal whisper because I guess they just knew how great her heart was. They just kind of gravitated towards her. She didn't have any of her own children but loved to help with her friends, in-law's kids, or her cousins as much as she could. She loved to cook and would do so quite often. She was very quick-witted. We would always go back and forth with jokes with each other that would have both of us trying to see who was quicker on their feet. I know it's probably cliche, but she was the type of person that once you knew, she was someone you didn't forget. You never forget the good ones.
Teal Diva : I can totally feel the love you have for Kim coming through in your describing her. She was diagnosed with Small Cell Cervical Cancer, tell us a bit about that diagnosis and what it means.
Rob : Yes, she was. Kim started not feeling good and my mom actually took her to the doctor, and they sent her home with some meds. My mom just knew something wasn't right and she later took her to the ER where they found out her calcium level was through the roof, and we almost lost her there. Small cell is a very aggressive cancer compared to normal cervical cancer and is pretty rare (3 out of 100 cases of cervical cancer every year is small cell) These are cancers that develop in the hormone producing cells of the neuroendocrine system and it is a cancer that if it isn't caught in the every early stages it doesn't really have good diagnosis as it tends to spread to the lymph nodes and other areas more compared to normal cervical cancer. Kim's was stage 3 and contrary to most cases and beliefs it's not always caused by HPV, because Kim's did not start out that way. Kim was diagnosed in November of 2016, and she fought and fought as my mom took her to MUSC in Charleston, SC for her treatments. In July of 2017 as she was trying to prepare for a trial run of immunotherapy to hopefully help. She had a turn for the worse and passed away on August 1st of 2017
Teal Diva : How was your experience at the 5K? Was this your first one? (It was my first one, and I’m still learning the teams and putting faces together with names)
Rob : The 5k was great! This is actually our second one. After Kim passed, I was not in a good spot and I let a lot of stuff go and I ballooned in weight, getting all the way up to 365lbs. I was out of shape and in bad health. Well, a couple of years ago I had had enough, and I started my journey of getting myself in shape, dropping to 130 lbs. in the last 2 years. I picked up jogging so when I saw I could do something honoring Kim and further my goals I jumped at it. I had two friends do it with me last year. We had some shirts made and came and really didn't know what to expect. We were blown away by everything. So, I started to get with family and friends in November of last year to get a team together to honor Kim. I will also hopefully be running in the low country 5k in September.
Teal Diva : Ok, I heard that you did or were challenged to do 150 push-ups for a $150 donation?!?
Rob : Ahh yes well, it is starting in the month of April I did the donation push up challenge. I would do a pushup for every dollar donated in that month (I have 605 pushups I have to do by the end of this weekend to finish up) it worked because the team raised $1,300 more dollars in April alone. Bringing our grand total up to $3,040.
Teal Diva : Woah, that’s awesome!!! We’d love a pushup update when you get them all in! I also I heard your company sponsored your team, would you like to give them a shout out?
Rob : My company Arauco really stepped up to the plate when I asked for help with this. I knew they did donations and helped with stuff like this, so I talked to my HR and then had a meeting with my plant manager, and they decided to become a sponsor of the whole event. It meant a lot to me that they wanted to be a part of this with us and have already told me going forward they want to do more and more each year.
Teal Diva : That’s awesome! We are also so appreciative of Arauco and how they are supporting the Teal Diva mission and Running for Pooh. Is there anything else you’d like to add, I know our Teal Diva family would love to hear!
Rob : I just want to tell everyone that the Teal Diva experience has been truly a wonderful one. What they do to help honor these warriors including sisters has been amazing and I'm so glad I found this group. I can't wait to help as much as I can to help further awareness and support for this amazing cause.
Thank you to Rob and the whole Running for Pooh team. We’re so glad to have y’all as a part of our TD family and can’t wait to see y’all at the next event!