It’s a sunny, brisk February day as I watch Natalie Smith make smoothies at the Jungle Smoothie in Chelsea. Chances are that smoothies aren’t what on her mind though. Her goal is.
In early January Natalie went to her mailbox and found a post card that would challenge her to change her life and to help others.
it was from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Team in Training. They were looking for volunteers to compete in marathons, half-marathons, and triathlons to raise money to fight these blood cancers.
Natalie thought it seemed like a great idea. It would be life changing way to help others and herself.
“I’ve been accused of never finishing anything I start,” said Natalie. “This would be a good way to finish something.”
She called the number on the card and got in touch with Catherine Crockett of LLS. Catherine is a former participant in Team in Training who now works for LLS full time. LLS lined Natalie up with a trainer as well as others working toward the same goal to help her train.
Natalie chose to compete in the Capital of Texas Triathlon May 31st in Austin Texas. It is an Olympic distance triathlon where competitors swim 1.5Km, bike 40 km, and run 10 Km.
“I’ve always been active,” said Natalie. “But I’ve never trained for anything specifically.”
Now Natalie is running, swimming or biking six days per week in order to prepare for the event. Two days per week she swims at 6 a.m. with her trainer and four others from the Birmingham area who are preparing at the Mountain Brook YMCA. Two days per week she bikes, and two days per week she runs. Mondays is the off day.
The training is going well. Her biggest challenge is the fund raising. The participants must raise $4500 to participate in the event. Seventy-five percent of the money raised goes to LLS while twenty-five percent goes to the travel expenses to the event.
“I hate asking people for money,” says Natalie. She had to get creative.
Natalie has been coming up with events to raise money for her cause. February 27th, she is hosting Ladies Night out with a purpose at Jungle Smoothie in Chelsea. Where for $35 ladies can enjoy art lessons from Vanessa Stroud, wine and good times while helping Natalie raise money for her cause.
Then Natalie came up with another idea. It would be a green fundraiser. People can donate old electronic items for recycling. Natalie sends them to recyclingfundraiser.com and they donate money to LLS to help Natalie’s cause. Items such as jewelry, cell phones, ink jet printer cartridges, laptops computers, mp3 players, digital cameras, digital video cameras, radar detectors, and any other recyclable materials.
“Everyone has a junk drawer with old cell phones, out dated mp3 players and old cameras reside,” said Natalie. “They can bring them to me at Jungle Smoothie and I’ll have them recycled for them. It cleans out their junk, helps the environment, and helps find a cure for these diseases.”
Natalie is taking monetary and recycling donations at Jungle Smoothie in Chelsea and at the Valleydale Village location.
Those wishing to help Natalie can drop off donations in person at either Jungle Smoothie location. They can reach Natalie at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Catherine Crockett at LLS at 205-989-0098 ext 303, or e-mail: email@example.com.
Natalie’s progress can be monitored at the Team in Training website. Go to http://pages.teamintraining.org/al/txtri10/nsmith4lmo. Go to find a participant, and search Natalie Smith. There, you can make a donation or just follow her progress.