Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Meet Beth Thomas~Fighting Cancer one step at a time.

“Achieving anything worthwhile is always going to be 90% mental. If you can train your brain to believe you can do it, you will accomplish whatever you set your mind to achieving.”

   As some of you know I've been interviewing people who I think exemplify the quote "Steadiness and toil will serve you better than brilliance." By James E. Talmage.
Beth Thomas is one of these people who I admire greatly.  Beth and I actually go back a ways... she is an old former college friend of mine.  We found found each other though Facebook a few years ago and that's when I started noticing that she is very committed to a very important cause.

I was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. My childhood was spent watching my three brothers play sports. Whether it was hockey (complete with our own backyard ice-rink), football, baseball, or basketball – I was always attending some kind of sporting event. I tried to get into dance at a young age, but having three very masculine brothers didn’t help in that cause and I was very bored with dancing (still am!). I always wanted to do what the boys were doing! Since I obviously couldn’t try out for the hockey team at the time (HA!), my energy was directed on being a good student and not causing too much trouble for my parents (they had their fill with my brothers…;) ). I didn’t have a lot of hobbies when I was younger. Unless you consider watching my brothers play sports a hobby?? ;)

Years later I graduated from the University of Utah promising myself I would never end up in a field that was business or financial related. Where did I end up? In a financial related field. “Expect the unexpected”, right? While I have worked in several financial related jobs since I was about 20 years old, I didn’t find my true passions in life until about 2006. It was at this time that my “Bucket List” wish to run a marathon collided with my parents both being diagnosed with Cancer. If you have ever had someone that you have cared deeply for diagnosed with Cancer, you know that it rocks you to the core. I felt helpless. I didn’t know how to direct my energy or how to help them. It was then that I started running miles upon miles on my treadmill. No particular goal in mind (having no clue how to train for a marathon), but to tearfully run out the stresses of life. I connected with running. It cleared my mind; it helped me to cope with the world that seemed to be collapsing around me. Running became an outlet and a necessity in my life. I never have been a fast runner, but I always could go for long periods of time.

How did you get involved with Fundraising?

Within a few weeks of my parents being diagnosed with Cancer, I received a letter in the mail from Team in Training for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It felt as if that piece of mail was specifically meant for me (although it was not addressed to anyone). It was as if it was hand delivered by a higher power, as weird as that may sound. The letter was an invitation to attend an informational meeting to talk about what Team in Training was, and so it all began. I attended the meeting and joined the Team a month later. For those who don’t know, Team in Training is the World’s largest endurance training program. They train you to participate (and finish) endurance events, in exchange you fund raise for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It was a way for me to connect with my running as well as a way to do something about a disease that was affecting both of my parents. Since first joining in 2006, I have participated in (and finished) 4 events with Team in Training and 2 events with Huntsman Hometown Heroes (another endurance training program that raises money for Huntsman Cancer Foundation / Institute), as well as numerous events on my own. Fundraising all along the way, between the two teams I have managed to raise close to $18,000 for the fight against cancer, and I have no intention of stopping in that fight any time soon. While I don’t know that this is my “mission” to fulfill, I do feel that I was destined to be a part of this cause. I feel very passionate about the quest to find cures for cancers. I don’t want anyone else to have to experience what my parents have had to experience. Cancer is such a horrible disease and it will affect virtually everyone at some point in life. I can’t sit idly by, knowing that I can help in some small way. The funny thing is…through all of this, I have benefited the most. Through these two teams I have made numerous close friends who are in the same situation that I am in. They all have either fought cancer themselves, or are watching loved ones fight Cancer. We share a common bond that has been the best support system I could have ever hoped for. I am a happier and healthier person for being involved in this cause. I can’t imagine what my life would be like today if I hadn’t received that piece of mail at the exact right time. I know with every fiber of my being…..that was no accident.

How do you balance your home life and your training schedule?

I think the fact that I am a single adult helps me in the ability to balance my home / family life with my hobby and my work. . My life is organized around my training schedules and races. I go to bed early so that I can get up early to run before work. I make sure to get in a long run every weekend. I schedule races far in advance so that it forces me to train and to continue to be active. To train for marathons, you really have to make it a priority–otherwise you more than likely won’t finish the race. I am in a happier mental state when I am running regularly—so aside from everything else—it keeps me sane!! Pairing the good cause with the races also helps me to feel more connected. I feel as if I am running for those people who cannot run because they are battling cancers. I think about all the people whom I know with Cancer with every step I take. It keeps me going and propels me forward even when I want to quit sometimes…and it gets me out of bed when some days I really just want to sleep in!

What is your advice to people who feel their lives are lacking purpose?

The one thing I have noticed through participating in these events and being on these teams is that anyone can do what they set their minds out to doing. It may take time and hard work, but it can be done. Endurance runners come in all shapes and sizes. They run at all different speeds. But it is the “Steadiness and toil” that will get you across the finish line in fundraising, endurance events and in beating cancer! If you want something bad enough, work at it. Never for one second of your life ever waste time thinking that you “can’t” do something. Achieving anything worthwhile is always going to be 90% mental. If you can train your brain to believe you can do it, you will accomplish whatever you set your mind out to achieving. A negative attitude in life will get you nowhere.

If you find yourself lacking purpose, I recommend the following: appreciate the world around you (show gratitude), do things for others (service in the community), learn new things, set goals continuously, be part of something bigger than yourself, focus on the positive and surround yourself with positive people who believe in you and all your want to achieve!!

Beth, thank you so much for coming over to my blog today!  I admire what you do so much.  It's the simple things that we do each day that change our world!  I too feel very passionate about fulfilling a purpose in this life and people like you inspire me greatly.  Love you Babe!

(Oh boy!)


  1. What an amazing post! thank you for sharing this!

  2. How very inspiring Beth! It really is all about what we put out minds to and you have not only helped out a wonderful cause, you have come closer to finding out something wonderful about you! I just love this:)

    Thaks Silvina to introducing us to such a talent:)

  3. Definitely inspirational in many ways. My favorite line: If you can train your brain to believe you can do it, you will accomplish whatever you set your mind out to achieving. How very true.

  4. Thanks Silvina...WOW girl you have got a lot going on. I agree...If you ever are feeling down, do something for someone else.

  5. Thanks Silvina for sharing my precious daughter, Beth....She is truly amazing and I am so proud of her.Keep it up sweet girl!

  6. Beth-
    Sometimes it's the tragic moments in life that bring us to a higher purpose and give deeper meaning as to what matters. Sounds like you've found the hidden treasure. Not everyone does, but those who do are wealthy beyond measure. Thanks for sharing your story, and thanks Silvina, for bringing it to us.

  7. It's so true, Linda. Once our mind gets over the self imposed obsticles we place there, we can accomplish many things.

  8. Karole, It's good to hear from you! Your daughter is indeed precious.

  9. A lot does depend on our state of mind, it's true. Good luck to Beth (from one cancer sufferer to another) and thank you Silvina for this inspirational post. :)

  10. You are one brave woman. Keep fighting.

  11. This was a great interview and very motivational. I'm a new follower.

  12. Thank you everyone, especially Silvina!!!!!!! I am still running and fundraising!! Here is my fundraising page if anyone is interested in donating to the Huntsman Cancer Foundation! 100% of all donations go to research!!

    Beth Thomas