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Training with a purpose

By Dana Baron for The Post & Mail
February 28, 2005 - Fueled with a determined spirit and a passion for running, Dallas Leatherman, of Columbia City, is on a different kind of mission with his next race. Leatherman is a runner who competes in races and marathons in the area. Using his ability, he plans to run in a Triathlon to raise funds for the Leukemia Society.

While running in other races, he noticed participants wearing purple shirts labeled with the words "Team in Training" on them. Curious, Leatherman went to a meeting to find out what team was training for what. He learned that Team in Training is the leading fundraising group for the Leukemia Society raising funds across the county.

Since beginning in 1992, Team in Training has raised $500,000 for the society. After attending the information meeting, he went to an arena where he was able to choose from several locations he would like to run the Triathlon. He chose to run the Triathlon offered in May in Memphis, TN. Participants of this particular Triathlon have a personal goal to raise $4,000 each. Many of the competitors had leukemia themselves and are currently in remission.

Equipped with a team who has a goal to "Do a little more each year," a personal coach, as well as mentors who helps with fundraising, Leatherman is on his way to reaching his goal.

His motivation is a three-year-old boy named Isaac who was diagnosed in 2001 with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. He found out about little Isaac through the Fort Wayne Team in Training group. Isaac is the "Honor Person" for the group. Leatherman is meeting Isaac for the first time today.

"Isaac will be my driving force in my endeavors," Leatherman said.

In running this race, he sincerely hopes to raise the funds for Isaac, as well as pay tribute to his own mother, who passed away from cancer.

"If I'm healthy now and I can help someone who isn't, that's what I want to do," he said.

When asked if this experience has changed him, he said, "I don't think it's changed me, it's just the way I am."

Simply put, Leatherman believes that he's always been healthy enough to do things, and he wants to use that to help the unfortunate. He also said the experience has opened his eyes to just how much the people he is competing with care about helping find a cure for cancer.

In an effort to inform people of his plans, he created a campaign letter in which he states, "To achieve something important, you need to set goals and have the conviction to see it through to the end." He also included information about how to help him reach his goal. He is currently at $700.00 and still needs to raise $3,300 more.

If interested in making a donation, call him at (260) 609-3635 or mail the donation, in the form of a check, to 232 Raleigh Ct. Columbia City. Seventy-five percent of monies donated will be applied directly to patient care and research while the remaining 25 percent go toward administration and the cost of being the triathlon.

While Dallas said that he can't personally meet everyone who helps, he wants to thank those who have and says, "No matter what happens, it wasn't from lack of trying."


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