February 12, 2016


Couple sets the pace for benefit

Jason and Wendi Fiest are in a race to save thousands of lives.

In September, the Fiests, both 28, who are members of the LaPorte United Methodist Church, will each be taking part in different races where the fundraising efforts will benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Jason Fiest is training for a national triathlon event Sept. 13 in Washington, D.C. His race is a 1500 meter swim, a 24.9-mile bike and a 6.2 mile run.

Wendi Fiest is training for the Road Runner Akron Marathon set for Sept. 26. Hers is a 26.2 mile run.

Jason Fiest’s goal is to raise $7,000 while Wendi hopes to bring in $2,000.

And they both hope that their training and fundraising efforts pay off big because of all of the people in their lives who have been afflicted with blood diseases.

Jason and Wendi Fiest, who reside in North Ridgeville, both have known people who have suffered from leukemia or lymphoma.

Jason Fiest had a friend in college who was diagnosed with leukemia as a child and was able to overcome it.

“She did a lot of running and completed multiple marathons in high school and college,” Jason Fiest said.

As for Wendi Fiest, her job as an occupational therapist in a retirement community has her coming into contact with those suffering from either disease on a daily basis.

Much of Wendi’s inspiration comes from her day-to-day interactions with her patients.

“I have several patients who have had leukemia, or family members affected by blood cancers,” Wendi Fiest said. “Also, many of my co-workers have family members who are coping with similar ailments.”

To date, none of Jason and Wendi Fiest’s family members have been affected by leukemia or lymphoma.

“Once we joined Tea m in Training, with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, it was amazing how many people we met who have been affected by these diseases, directly or indirectly,” Jason Fiest said.

“Our biggest hope in doing these events is to raise money to help those affected by cancer,” he said.

The couple’s families have also become very supportive. “(They) have helped with book sales, garage sales, benefit dinners, as well as helping with donations,” Jason Fiest said. “We are so thankful to have so many caring people surrounding us.”

No matter what the weather, Jason and Wendi have stuck to their rigorous training routines. In one day, the couple will train up to two hours.

“Sometimes we are able to do our running in our neighborhood if it is not one of the longer runs. Often, we go to parks in Elyria, Rocky River and North Ridgeville to complete our longer training,” Jason Fiest said.

Wendi Fiest trains five days straight and rests two days while Jason Fiest trains six days per week.

But, the couple knows a big payoff is in sight.

“We both enjoy helping others in any way we can. Also, we both strive to have a healthy lifestyle and this seemed like a great way for us to combine these interests,” Wendi Fiest said. “Accomplishing the fundraising goal of raising thousands of dollars for cancer research is very rewarding.

“Our training goals are intimidating, but we realize that it is nowhere near the challenges that are faced by those living with blood cancers.”

About Melissa Linebrink

Melissa Linebrink covers Grafton, LaGrange and Columbia Township for The Chronicle, and writes the "Mommy Wars" column. She can be reached at 329-7243 or MLinebrink@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter.