Welcome to FORT's blog. If you received a card with Fort's blog address at the marathon - be sure to check out the archives (down the right hand side of this page)to read FORT's words. I try to update the blog any time there is something going on in her memory or in her honor. Jen S. "Smitty", a friend and former rugby coach of Melissa's is running the marathon along with 3 of her friends - Kary from Dayton, Michelle from Fairfield and Brenda from St. Petersburg. Below is info about the marathon and the story of how this adventure came about - in Jen's words.
Jen, Kary, Michelle & Brenda also raised funds to go toward the Scholarship in Melissa's name at Fairmont High School (which will be added to the over $23,000 already raised!!!) Thank you, Team B-Positive...your contribution to the Scholarship in Fort's memory is much appreciated! Good Luck! - Fort's mom & dad
(the first scholarship will be awarded this spring - I will update with pictures.
Also coming up - The Melissa Fortener McLaughlin Keltic Pride Award (Cinncinati Kelts Rugby team) and the Melissa Fortener McLaughlin "B Positive" Spirit Award for the Fairmont High school girls basketball team. Will update with pictures for those too!)
The Third Annual 26.2 with Donna is scheduled for Sunday, February 21, 2010. The 26.2 with Donna Mission is to passionately produce world class events to raise funds for ground breaking breast cancer research and empower women living with breast cancer.
Running For Fort
Monday, January 4, 2010 at 9:25pm
I am doing a Marathon on Feb 21, 2010 for Fort, who was one of my rugby players, a teammate, and a friend. Fort was someone you met once and she would leave a lasting impression that you would never forget.
Those of you who know me well, know that I was never a runner and I still don't claim to be one. So I'd like to tell you how this all came to be.....When Fort was battling one of her rounds of cancer several years back some of my players and I decided to support her by getting a group together and running the Susan Komen 5K. We decided to have shirts made and I asked Fort what she wanted our team name to be. She said "Fort's Ruggers for Jugs" and she wanted the shirts to be bright pink. I knew then that she was seeing how far she could push me... Coach running, wearing Pink, in a shirt that says Jugs....(BTW I still have and wear the shirt proudly) So I ordered the shirts and entered the team and started training for my first 5k, looking back at it now I laugh that I trained for a 5K. The groups showed up that day and we participated in the race/walk. If you've never been to a Susan Komen Event, I strongly encourage you to go it is a very powerful experience. I finished the 5k and went back on the course to find Fort. I'll never forget turning the corner and seeing her jogging down the road. She had jogged the course w/Gina, another player. She asked me if we were almost to the finish and of course I did what any good coach would do... I lied and said Yes and she continued jogging and finished it!. Later, she said that when she gets better she wanted to do a Marathon. So trying to be a good coach and teammate I said "Alright, I'll do one with you". Thinking she was still experiencing some kind of "runners high" or something and she wasn't serious. But she was an brought it up again, so I said I was still in. Fort continued to play rugby and even did the 3 day 60 mile walk as she continued w/ her fight against cancer. I continued running 5ks and even started training and doing half marathons. I even talked another one of my friends Kary into doing half marathons with me. Kary wanted to do a marathon before she was 40, so I figured she could just join Fort and I.
However, as most of you know Fort died in 2009 2 days before her 31st birthday. So I'll be doing the 26.2 Donna Breast Cancer Marathon in Jacksonville Fla on Feb 21, 2010 for Fort. The rugby ball you see on my profile picture is a breast cancer rugby ball which I'll be carrying w/me during the marathon. At the end of it, I'll be giving the ball to her parents.
I am part of a 4 person team that has entered the race, we are Team B-Positive named after Fort's 2nd blog site. There are 2 of us doing the marathon Kary and I, and 2 of us doing the half marathon, Brenda and Michelle. No one on the team is considered runners and we are all rookies in our respective divisions in the race. Each of us are going to be wearing shirts designed to honor Fort and promote her blog sites(Yes, they will be pink and I'll wear it proudly).