The Jewel Tri is raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), and here’s our why:
Patti, one of our Lake Murray paddlers, a triathlete and dear friend, left us because of leukemia in Fall of 2021. Patti and her husband Ken had an incredible influence on the Columbia and Lexington athletic communities in countless ways — Ken still does. If it wasn’t for Patti and her husband of 52 years, many in this area would still be sitting on their couches wishing they could be one of those people they see outside training for a marathon…wishing they could bike up Mt. Mitchell…thinking to themselves, "One day I'll do a triathlon." Patti and Ken don’t do it to stand on a podium — although Patti did frequent the podium enough to garner the nickname "Podium Patti." They did it because they understood all the positive benefits that come from helping to form a community of like-minded friends and family to train with — of all ages. They did it for the joy of being with each other, cheering each other on, and the camaraderie and true friendships that form within such a community. They did it for health. They did it because they can.
There’s also a common tie to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society that The Jewel Tri has with this athlete. Patti and Ken ran their first marathon over 21 years ago for Leukemia Team in Training (TNT) to raise money. I did my first triathlon for Leukemia TNT in 2000. Coincidence? I think not. The threads are countless of how this couple has influenced others in our community in such positive ways over the last 16 or so years since I first met Patti and Ken. In a moment's notice, they rescued me from Goat Island on their pontoon boat after a long paddle training session that went wrong on Lake Murray in 2019. They’re the kind of couple that, “When a friend asks for help, you help them.” No hesitation. I, as well as others, have many, many good stories about them. So of course when we found out about Patti's diagnosis in Spring of 2021, it was a no-brainer that The Jewel Tri help out the same organization that helped give us better lives through pushing our physical and mental limits to do something we’d never done before, all to raise money for LLS. Because of Leukemia TNT all those years ago, we became bigger selves and continued to grow to be active in many other ways (like paddling), as well as encourage others that they can do it, too.
The Jewel Tri is raising funds through this event in memory of Patti to bring awareness and help find cures and ensure access to treatments for blood cancer patients. Proceeds from the Jewel Tri will go to help fund treatments that save lives every day; like immunotherapies that use a person’s own immune system to kill cancer. You may not know it, but every single donation helps save a life with breakthrough therapies such as these.
Thank you and happy paddling, happy biking, happy running!
Jenn Covington, Director
The Jewel Tri