Fairview Resident Focuses Passion on a Cause

Fairview Resident Focuses Passion on a Cause

Fairview resident, Tracy Sutherlin did not start running seriously until she was 30 years old. When she was 45 years old she ran her first marathon. In April of this year, she qualified for the Boston Marathon. When she qualified she said, “It was the best feeling ever, a feeling I had never felt before.” As soon as she qualified she thought to herself, “I qualified for the Boston Marathon; that was for me. I want to use my passion for running for a purpose. I will run Boston for someone else.”  Her very first thought was of Lovejoy students, Austin Bennett and Mallory Cass, both of whom were diagnosed with Leukemia.

Tracy Sutherlin, the North Texas Leukemia Society Team in Training Representative, trains in Fairview.

Tracy Sutherlin, the North Texas Leukemia Society Team in Training Representative, trains in Fairview.

Sutherlin has known Bennett and Cass for years. Her daughter Taryn, a sophomore at Lovejoy High School, is friends with Cass’s older sister. Her son Trace, a senior at Lovejoy High School, is the same age as Bennett. They have been friends since middle school.

Out of the 200 people who applied to be the North Texas Leukemia Society Team in Training Representative, Sutherlin was chosen. She said the decision is made based on the applicant’s story as to why they want to run for this cause as well as how much the applicant has indicated they plan to raise for the cause. Her goal is to raise $15,000, currently she has raised $3,000. She said that donations have been given by people she knows, as well as members of the Lovejoy community who she doesn’t know. She voiced appreciation to Lovejoy ISD Superintendent Ted Moore and Lovejoy High School Principal Chris Mayfield for including her plight in their school emails. She said whatever she is unable to raise, she and her husband Randy Sutherlin will donate the remainder.

Austin Bennett is a senior at Lovejoy High School and was diagnosed with ALL in 2017.

Austin Bennett is a senior at Lovejoy High School and was diagnosed with ALL in 2017.

Sutherlin has trained with two Lovejoy moms since 2012. She said after the bombing at the Boston Marathon in 2013, they were motivated to up their speed and qualify to run it in the future. “It motivated us to not let that event be scarred by the bombing.” She describes the Boston Marathon as the Super Bowl for runners. She adds, “It has always been for elite runners. It is surrounded by patriotism.” She has completed seven marathons. (A marathon is 26.2 miles.)

To train for the Boston Marathon, she runs every day except one and does a long run, 22 miles, with her friends once a week. Towards the end of March, she will increase her miles. On March 23, she will get the opportunity to run the Boston Marathon route with everyone who is running representing a charitable organization. She said there will be additional organized events at that time where she will get to represent the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) in a public arena. There are 15 people from across the nation on the Leukemia Society Team in Training.

She said, “Running is such an inward activity, you’re in your head the whole time. Now, when I run, in my mind I’m running for Mallory and Austin, and everyone with leukemia. It’s changed my mindset and purpose. I think of families torn up by cancer. They can’t say ‘I can’t today’. Every time I run I think, ‘What can I do to raise awareness?’”

(From left) Mallory Cass and Tracy Sutherlin. Mallory is a 7th grader at Willow Springs Middle School and was diagnosed with Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) in 2014.

(From left) Mallory Cass and Tracy Sutherlin. Mallory is a 7th grader at Willow Springs Middle School and was diagnosed with Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) in 2014.

Advice she gives to others interested in running marathons is, “Push yourself; it is the best feeling in the world to push yourself to do something you didn’t think you could. You’ll find yourself reaching goals you didn’t think possible. ” She quotes Ruth Gordon, “Courage is like a muscle. We strengthen it with use.”

If you would like to help Sutherlin reach her goal, please go to pages.teamintraining.org/ntx/boston19/tsutherlin#.W_sQGDpiwhE.email. All donations must be made by April 15, which is the date of the Boston Marathon.

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