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Couple goes the distance for a good cause

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Participation in a half Ironman triathlon to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is a very personal matter for Melaina Raburn.  The Highland Village resident, along with her husband, Todd, will take part in the event, which consists of a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride, and a 13.1-mile run, on April 25 in Galveston.

“I made the decision to participate in the event based on the commitment I made to myself in 2008 that I would continue with Team in Training events until I raised $20,000 for LLS,” Melaina Raburn said.

“After doing an Olympic distance triathlon (swim .8 Miles, bike 25 miles, run 6 miles)  in 2008 and a marathon (run 26.2 miles) in 2009, the half Ironman seemed like a logical progression.”

Melaina and her husband, Todd Raburn, are part of a group called Team in Training that participate in such triathlons and marathons on a fairly regular basis.

While the physical challenge is part of the reason Melaina Raburn decided to take part in the Galveston triathlon, something much more personal has made it a passion for her.

“Support of the Leukemia & Lymphoma society is important to me because of the direct affect Lymphoma has had on my family,” Melaina Raburn said. “My mother died of Lymphoma in 2000, and my father was diagnosed with the disease in 2008.

“It is great to be able to pursue a personal physical challenge and make a difference for a cause that matters to me personally, but has also affected so many other people we know. My father is on a maintenance program right now, and we owe a lot of thanks to the new treatments made available from the research done by LLS.” 

Melaina Raburn said she has noticed other benefits from competing in such events, such as a stronger physique and better general health, and said one of the biggest accomplishments for her is to be able to persevere regardless of how difficult it becomes.

“There is a little voice that shows up during my workouts sometimes,” Melaina Raburn said. “It likes to tell me I can’t do it; I’ll never do it; I’m not strong enough; I’m not fast enough; I’m not really the ‘athletic type,’ but it seems all I have to do is just keep doing one stroke, pedal, or step at a time, and sure enough, I prove that little voice wrong.

“These events help you change your perception of who you are and what you are able to accomplish. They are a constant reminder that big changes really are just the sum of many small steps; that even a cure for cancer really can be found $1 at a time.”

Todd Raburn said he decided to join his wife to be supportive and for the physical aspect, as well, but added that it has become a passion for him along the way.

“My initial reason for competing in a triathlon was just for personal growth and achievement,” Todd said. “I like to think of myself as an athlete. It’s a persona I feel good about. Melaina and I decided a few years ago we would compete in one or two events a year.

“For me it was great motivation to stay in good physical shape, and again, it makes me feel good. However, after being part of Melina’s marathon experience in San Antonio last year and seeing her commitment to the cause (in spite of the physical and emotional challenge) it inspired me to join Team in Training to support this cause that means so much to my wife.”

Todd Raburn said his wife’s devotion to raising money and awareness about leukemia and lymphoma is something he really respects and admires.

“She has inspired me with her commitment to the cause,” Todd Raburn said. “I know she does it for her mom and dad, and I am very proud of her.”

Melaina Raburn said she would like to see a couple of things come from participating in the half Ironman triathlon.

“The experience is really a celebration,” Melaina Raburn said. “It is empowering to do something about a situation that has a lot of factors out of your control.

“I hope it makes a difference. I hope there is a cure for leukemia and lymphoma. I hope it inspires people to know that single steps and small donations really do add up to make a big change.”
Melaina Raburn said she and her husband Todd are hoping to raise $6,000 from the triathlon and said they have just over $4,000 more to raise.

To make a donation to Team Raburn, visit http://pages.teamintraining.org/ntx/lstri10/TeamRaburn or contact Melaina Raburn at (972) 302-1899.

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