As a child, Alissa McClimans always had a gift of helping others. She visited her classmate, Tamara Johnson who was battling Leukemia and would bring her homework to help her pass her classes.
“I have known her since third grade,” McClimans said. “I met her in class and we grew up together. She was in and out of remission and I would visit her.”
Johnson graduated from Fenton High School in 2011 and was able to walk with her class after McClimans wrote a speech and went in front of the school board to help her friend. “She was a few credits short, but I tutored her in math and brought her homework,” said McClimans.
Now several years later, Johnson is still battling Leukemia and McClimans and her friend Lana Sache joined Team In Training, to prepare and run the marathon on Oct. 13 in honor of Johnson.
McClimans and Sache raised more than $3,000 for the Leukemia Foundation for research to help find a cure.
In order to run with TNT participants have to raise $1,350. McClimans raised $1,500 by contacting family and friends on Facebook and sending cards explaining what she was doing. She also held a fundraiser at Tyrone Hills Golf Course and raised $600. League players contributed.
In addition to raising money, McClimans also had to train to run a marathon. She was not interested in running before and had never run for fun or on an organized team. While it took a lot of work to raise the money and train to be in shape, McClimans said she wouldn’t trade this experience.
“It was the best moment of my life,” McClimans said. “It exceeded my expectations and the coaches were accommodating and made sure I was keeping up with my running. Tamara is the most loving and inspirational person I know. I look up to her and she always has a smile on her face, she is so strong.”
“Running for Tamara was an eye-opening experience,” Sache said. “Alissa and I decided to do this on a whim as soon as we heard about Tamara needing to receive more chemo. I’m not a runner at all. I’ve only ran two or three miles at most in a single workout, so this was probably the biggest challenge I’ve ever put myself through. The whole race Alissa and I kept yelling out ‘we are running for those who can’t’ and ‘This is all for Tam’ so we never got tired or walked. We even got other people to keep running. I kind of took it on myself to excite everyone around me.”