Students train, compete to fundraise

Spring break. Looking good. Staying fit.

Many things keep people going as they exercise. But for Kellie Sebastian, it is the thought of Julie Loberger, a middle-aged woman in remission from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Prompted three weeks ago by a post in TCU Announce, Sebastian, a junior speech pathology major, joined Team In Training (TNT), an organization within the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society that helps people fundraise, train and compete in endurance events such as runs and walks, according to Becky Rechnitzer, TNT campaign coordinator for North Texas.

It would cost between $25 and $100 dollars per event to join TNT, Rechnitzer said. After participants pay the registration fee, TNT sets them up with a personal trainer and training schedule and covers their event fees, including travel and lodging.

Sebastian is training for the Cowtown 10K, a 6.2-mile run Feb. 25. In order to participate, she must raise $500 in the name of Loberger and meet all the training benchmarks, she said.

“It’s not just running for my personal benefit, it’s running for this woman,” Sebastian said. “It makes it more personal; it makes it so much more special. We’re running for this woman who has children and a husband, and who has a face, who we’ve met.”

Every day, Sebastian runs a set amount of miles assigned by her personal trainer and monitors her diet accordingly. Saturday mornings at 8 a.m., she completes a group run with her team on the Trinity Trails, she said.

To raise money, Sebastian sends out emails, letters and has a personal website through TNT. But it isn’t easy, she said.

“Unfortunately there are people who just don’t care,” Sebastian said. “You would think it’s a little weird that people aren’t a little more receptive to the fact that it’s money going towards leukemia, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, heart disease.”

Sebastian said she thought many students could find the experience rewarding, regardless of their fitness.

“There are people, actually, in the group, who do not run, who’ve never run before. They’re walking right now. But, they are building up their strength from one mile to 6.2 miles,” she said. “TNT is there to help as much as possible. If you’re not the fittest person in the world, it’s still possible.”

TNT would probably become a life-long commitment, Sebastian said. She planned to take advantage of TNT’s free travel opportunities and to do more events throughout the country.

“I’m pretty sure this is something I’m going to be doing until I’m 60, and I’m that crazy old lady that won’t stop running,” she joked.

Whenever she hit a wall in training, Sebastian said she remembered why she runs.

“This isn’t for self-benefit,” she said. “Everyone in the group is doing this for this woman that we’re supporting and for everyone else in the world who has Hodgkin’s lymphoma or leukemia or heart disease. It’s not a selfish act at all.”


To help Sebastian meet her fundraising requirements, visit
To join a Team In Training, go to or call the Fort Worth chapter at (817) 288-2642.