While she was training in Colorado for the Jennie Carol’s Memorial Mother’s Day 5K Run, Allison Tamme would often think about Jennie Tarter and her unexpected death in 2008 that led to friends starting this event in downtown Danville to honor her memory by raising money for BackPack Kids.
“Training in Colorado is a whole different animal. The altitude and hills are no joke out there,” she said. “I would be tired and my ankle or knee would be hurting, but then I would think how she would love to be out running with her sons. That gave me perspective. I was out running for 30 minutes because I knew I wanted to be able to run this race that supports such a good cause and honors a great memory. There was no doubt I would do it.”
Tamme, 28, also has another motivation — she’s a cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with thyroid cancer recently and underwent successful surgery (she had a check-up in Lexington Monday). But the “C” word scared her just like it would any of us.
“I had always worked out but it was because I had not done something in a while or I felt like I should run or I had a gained a pound or something like that,” she said.
Then she found out four things can help prevent cancer — environment, genetics, diet and exercise. She knew then she could control 50 percent — diet and exercise — to aid her recovery.
“I started running as soon as I was allowed after surgery,” she said. “I started training for this run. I wanted to do it with my family.”
That included her husband, Jacob, a tight end with the Denver Broncos who had never run a 5K and “dreaded it like the plague,” according to his wife.
“He was complaining that would be my Mother’s Day present. He was all worried and when we finished he was not even out of breath,” she said. “The most he had ever run in his life was a mile maybe. But he was talking the whole time and kept asking me if I wanted him to push (their son) Luke (in the stroller). I had to finally tell him to stop talking because I couldn’t run and talk. But he was a good sport about it. I was a happy mother.”
Jacob’s father, Theo — he ran the Derby Festival mini marathon a few years ago — also ran. Jacob Tamme pushed Luke the first 30 yards or so before Allison took over and finished the race with the stroller as she planned.
“I had planned to do this along,” Allison Tamme said Monday. “Jacob had work stuff, but he got it worked out to come home for Mother’s Day before he flew back today. It was really important to me that we did this all together.”
She said the prayers so many had said for her in recent months had been a “huge deal” and she still couldn’t put into words even now what it meant to have so many praying for her recovery.
“It is so important to know that other people are praying for you daily,” she said. “When you are at your lowest and hear you have cancer, nothing brings you down faster than that. Being a Christian, when you have hard times, you pray. But there were points when I did not even pray for myself. I didn’t know what to pray for. To know others were lifting up prayers for me was awesome. It still brings tears to my eyes when someone still tells me they prayed for me. It means the world to me.”
She was overwhelmed by the support after her husband put a message on Twitter the night before her surgery.
“People all over the country, and even foreign countries, were sending me messages of support. It was unbelievable,” she said.
She said her experience Saturday was “awesome” and she knows the work it takes to put on such a big event.
“I just ran three miles. I am thankful to those who organized this for putting on such a great event to honor her (Tarter) and raise money for a great cause. I know the work it takes to do something like this,” she said.
That’s because she is co-founder of Swings For Soldiers, an annual golf scramble, with her husband that raises money to build a new home for a disabled military veteran. The event will be July 15 at Keene Run Golf Club in Lexington.
“We went last year to actually see the house being built that our money was being used for and once we saw that, there’s no way we can’t do this again,” Allison Tamme said. “We will hopefully keep doing this every year to help the veterans. It’s a lot of work, but just like the race, there are some things you just do because you know that’s what you should do.”