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Lions challenge Rotarians to support cancer cause

POULSBO — It’s a task few would willingly consider, and fewer would go after with gusto. But that’s just what Ginger Shields is doing. With every bit of enthusiasm mustered, the 56-year-old diagnosed with both asthma and Multiple Sclerosis is running a marathon in the fight against blood cancer.

A half-marathon that is.

But there’s nothing “halfway” about her efforts, and now Shields has challenged two of Little Norway’s most prominent service organizations to one-up each other to contribute to the cause. With $2,000 needed to enter the race, and a $950 contribution from the Poulsbo Noon Lions, Shields is awaiting the Poulsbo-North Kitsap Rotarians’ response to an official “challenge” issued by the Lions, and is hoping they take it on.

“This has just been a wonderful thing for them to do,” Shields said of her club. The Lions’ contribution was raised during a meeting with about 40 attendees, all of whom pulled out their pocketbooks and brought together nearly $1,000 on the spot.

“They just rolled out their cash and checkbooks,” said Lions Club member Roger Sherrard, who has led the challenge to Rotary, which was issued Friday. “They’re pretty good at raising money so I’ll fully expect we’ll have to make another run at them.”

Shields is taking on the Seattle Marathon Nov. 25, and is currently training with five other members of the Poulsbo Leukemia & Lymphoma Society team. Ann Armstrong, owner of Armstrong Fitness University, is coaching her process. Shields said she’s up to 9.5 miles — just where she should be — and will keep training until the big day arrives.

“I think I’m good to go,” she said. “I could run, skip, walk and crawl if need be.”

Shields will run in honor of her sister, who was diagnosed with Myloid Leukemia in 1997, and is now a 10-year survivor of the disease.

“It’s near to my heart,” she said, pointing out an estimated 785,829 Americans are living with blood cancers. “I look around and see other people and realize I am very blessed.”

While Shields continues to train, Sherrard is hoping the Rotarians reply.

“We’re just having a little fun,” he said. “How could they not accept the challenge?”

Donations for Shields can also be given at www.active.com/donate/tntwaak/tntwaakVShield and are tax deductible.

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