Run Like a Girl!

a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step…

round 3 – john kark’s fight August 25, 2009

Filed under: john kark — Malia Yoshioka @ 6:18 am
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this is the latest from my friend john… please keep him in your thoughts and prayers this week!!

It has been just over two weeks since I was released from the hospital and I have probably gained 15 pounds. I started lifting weights and hitting the bags to rebuild lost muscle and prepare for the next round. I actually felt pretty good working out, especially hitting the bags. It is interesting that no matter how much muscle mass your body looses it still has the ability to punch with power.

My brother Frank flew in from New Jersey last week to donate his stem cells for me. They ran him through a host of tests to medically qualify him as a donor. He passed all tests with flying colors. It is a miracle not just that he passed, but also that he is even alive to donate his stem cells to me. My brother is 21 years older then me, fought in Viet Nam as a United States Marine with First Force Recon, contracted malaria while there (both kinds), has two purple hearts and a silver star and should have died 20 times since serving his country. This is probably not the typical profile of the average stem cell donor.



positive thoughts rock August 10, 2009

Filed under: john kark — Malia Yoshioka @ 12:36 pm
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the latest from john kark!

Subject: Positve Thoughts Rock

A lot has changed since last week. On Friday the oral surgeons at the hospital cut open at the site of my wisdom tooth extraction and removed a piece of bone the size of a finger nail that was likely to have been causing the infection. They also cut away all the scar tissue and scraped away the jagged infected surface of the jaw. They packed it with a dissolvable antibiotic sponge and stitched me up. Since then my jaw has almost returned to normal. Also, the reaction that I had to the antibiotics leaving a drug rash is completely resolved.

I had been riding a stationary bike in the hospital that faces lake Shore Drive and I have always been a big fan of visualization as a healing therapy. So I came up with one using cars at night driving up and down LSD. I needed all of my white cells, red cells and neutrophils to go up so I could have an immune system and leave the hospital. As I rode the bike each night I would stare at the lights of the cars and imagine them all being new blood cells that my body was creating. The red tail lights were red blood cells, the white headlights were white blood cells and the big white ad signs on top of cabs represented neutrophils. Neutrophils are like super white blood cells that patrol the blood and kill anything that looks shady. Any time there was lightning it represented a radiation like effect and would also instantly kill everything bad in the blood. When there would be a traffic jam that was always because my body was producing so many healthy cells that things would just have to back up for a few minutes. I never thought a traffic jam could be a good thing.

Whether it was the visualization, the treatment or all of the positive thoughts from everyone… worked. My counts from Thursday until Sunday increased so drastically that the doctors surprisingly sent me home Sunday afternoon.

When I first got diagnosed my good friend Pete Bottini asked me if I was going to be like his mother who bravely fought breast and bone caner for many years. Before she sadly passed away last year after a long battle, his mother would make it a point to uplift the spirits of other people taking treatment. He wanted to know if I would rally the other patients on my floor and work on their attitudes. I told Pete that I had planned on being selfish and focusing on my own battle while I was in there, but of coarse I would do my part when I got out.

When I was leaving on Sunday the nurse told me not to forget the sign that I had hung on the door almost two months ago. I told her that I had traded it to one of my doctors in exchange for early release and was obviously glad to make good on the trade. She promised to get it to him and told me that my sign had started a trend. Signs started popping up on other doors throughout the chemo ward. I took one last lap around the floor to say my goodbyes and took a picture of one of those sign. I guess the lesson is that positive messages breed positive thoughts which breed positive outcomes. I thought of Pete’s mother when I saw the sign and thought maybe that is her way of saying that sometimes it doesn’t take much.

positve thoughts

When I got out of the hospital and smelled the air I could not believe it. It really felt like I was dreaming and I waited for a nurse to come wake me up and ruin my dream by taking my vitals or drawing blood. It was so crazy that she never came and I wasn’t dreaming. When we were driving on Lake Shore Drive, I said “I can’t believe it. Look at me. I am a big white blood cell driving on LSD.”


$2,000 down, only $1,000 left to go! August 9, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Malia Yoshioka @ 5:29 pm

My heart is full of gratitude right now! You guys are so amazing. =)

A HUGE thanks to Enid, who passed along some HawaiianMiles to help me get to San Francisco so that more of the money raised can go directly to the Leukemia Society! I’m now only about 7,000 miles away from a roundtrip, so please email me at if you have miles that you don’t need that you’d like to put towards my flight!

Also, last night my group of friends went out to celebrate a birthday in downtown. Even though we were there for fun and to celebrate, my friend Sara went out of her way to go around telling people about my fundraising and collecting donations, so I walked out with $60 in donations in hand last night. It just goes to show that even when out having fun, you guys have a wonderful, giving spirit. I am so thankful for such amazing friends!

Finally, thank you to Adrienne who is helping me to design a special necklace to wear in memory and honor of those who I am running for this season. Each charm and stone on it will be a different color or symbol to represent the various people who have been my inspiration all year. You can check out Adrienne’s jewelry at or at her boutique in San Francisco!

And if you’d like a donation, please visit my fundraising page here. Thank you to each and every one of you for helping to make a difference in the world! =)


2010 entertainment books are here!! August 7, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Malia Yoshioka @ 11:33 am

Buy yours now before they’re on sale to the general public! They are good until November 1, 2010 so you’ll have over 14 months to use the hundreds of coupons in the book! There are editions for all 50 states too, they make a great gift for families, couples, or even customers/clients. Especially in this rough economy, everyone’s looking for a good deal!

Preview discounts and place your order here and proceeds will benefit the leukemia & lymphoma society!!


milestones August 6, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Malia Yoshioka @ 9:45 pm

this morning i took off my (literally) blood-stained shoes and realized that i reached my 100-mile milestone with my nike plus sensor, it said i’ve averaged 4.68 miles per run for the last 100 miles! my shoe rubbed off a blister on my heel though, so i’ve literally got blood, sweat, and (no) tears all over those shoes. it may be time for a new pair soon!

another milestone this week – i’m up to 60% of the way to my original goal of $3,000. thanks so much for all your support!

now it’s time to rack up another 100 miles. we’re in this together! =)


Updates! August 4, 2009

Filed under: fundraising progress,general,john kark,TNT,training — Malia Yoshioka @ 2:09 pm

In the past few days I got a bunch of donations in and some check donations that cleared my account, so I passed the halfway mark to my original goal of $3,000! As of today, I’m officially at $1725 and counting. Thanks so much for your support! I’m still accepting donations, although my goal is to be wrapped up by September 1. Any amount helps! I’m also still accepting donations of HawaiianMiles to help pay for my airfare so that more money can go to the Leukemia Society. Email me at if you can help out.

This past Saturday I was able to run a 10-miler in Kailua with only minimal pain from my knee injury. I’m also going to be starting physical therapy soon so I should be in top shape for the race.

And speaking of top shape, here’s the latest update on John Kark. What great news!

Round two proved to be challenging. I had high fevers accompanied with Rigors (tremors and chills) from the treatment for over a week. I did some fighting to avoid going to ICU and having chemo stopped on me. They did blood cultures on me just about every day which always came back negative showing no infections. I had three separate reactions to different antibiotics that they had me on to protect me from infection. The reaction would come in the form of a drug rash that covers a good portion of my body in a rash ten times worse than any poison ivy that I have ever had. Then it turns red, swells up and bruises due to a low platelet count. I had about three days where my ankles and shins were so swollen and bruised that I could barely stand or walk. It looked like someone beat them with a baseball bat. It actually worked out in my favor that I couldn’t get out on those days and do laps around the halls because there was an infectious disease outbreak amongst the patients on this floor that I was able to avoid it because I was stuck in bed. I was definitely on the ropes this round, but like Muhammad Ali taught us, you can still fight back off the ropes.