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Robert M. Klein

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Why I'm in This Marathon

Posted: 03/19/11 02:10 PM ET

I have always been goal oriented and altruistic. I wanted to help people and make a difference. That is what led me to law school. I have always had a goal of completing a marathon. However, as the years have gone by, I, like just about everyone I know, has found that reality of life has interfered with altruistic goals. Even though I have wistfully watched the Boston Marathon, or the New York Marathon, or the Los Angeles Marathon, I never thought I would actually participate. While I may have exercised a bit here and there, it was far from the type of worked needed to complete a marathon.

Well, approximately 15 years ago I met Janet Halbert. She and I became very good friends. Then, Janet was diagnosed with breast cancer. During her treatment, she reached out to her many friends, one of whom was me, to help take her to a doctor or therapy or anything. She would talk about the many side effects she endured when getting chemotherapy and/or radiation. She was always seeking a solution for these side effects. It was during the treatment that Janet came up with the idea to distribute a kit for those starting chemotherapy treatment or radiation treatment to make them aware of a variety of solutions to the side effects, and, more importantly, to let patients know that they are not alone.

Janet approached me and asked me if I was willing to be a board member of a new non-profit entitled Hurdle Jumpers. The goal of Hurdle Jumpers is to distribute kits filled with a variety of donated products, a sheet of reminders and tips to deal with nausea and improving digestion, a special toothbrush, dental products, a relaxation CD, a humor book to help those going through chemotherapy or radiation treatment, and more. After being involved for several years, I realized that my altruistic goal of helping others was being served by being a board member of Hurdle Jumpers.

Last year, through the hard work another board member, Hurdle Jumpers became one of the official charities of the Los Angeles Marathon. As you can easily guess, if not now, when? So I signed up for the marathon. I am not overly athletic, and certainly not a runner. However, I decided that I would be able to walk the marathon and at the same time raise money for Hurdle Jumpers. Over the past four months, I have been walking three times a week, building up to the 26.4 mile walk which will take place on March 20.

About two weeks ago, during one of my walks, it dawned on me that my willingness to participate in Hurdle Jumpers has helped me toward two of my life's ambitions. Funny how life works -- it did not get in the way of completing a goal; rather, it is helping me fulfill my goals.