Lilly running Boston Marathon for charity

tbd by editor Courtesy of Kristine Lilly

This is the first in series of blogs from former U.S. soccer player Kristine Lilly, who is running in the Boston Marathon on Monday to raise money for Boston Children's Hospital.

I enjoyed a terrific soccer career that spanned four decades, thanks to the support of family, teammates and dozens of inspirational people. Today, I'm training for the 2012 Boston Marathon! It's my first marathon, and once again, I'm relying on a terrific support system. You see, I'm not just running 26.2 miles; I'm also raising money for Children's Hospital Boston. I've turned in my cleats for a pair of running shoes and a worthy cause.

About three years ago I visited Children's Hospital Boston and met Nora, a young girl whose strength and smile overshadowed any pain brought on by her bout with cancer. And while I hope my visit inspired Nora, I know without question that she inspired me. I visit Children's Hospital as often as I can, and I always leave wishing I could do more. Now I am, with a terrific support system that I hope will include you!

I am running the marathon with one of my closest friends, Jodi Sorrells. Together we are raising money to help the kids and their families at Children's Hospital Boston. My fundraising goal for the marathon was $13,000 (as lucky No. 13 was my jersey number). And as luck would have it, I've exceeded that number with raised funds totaling $18,000! I know I won't finish first in the marathon, but I would love to be the top fundraiser! With your donation, we can help all those young kids and their families.

Nora has been a big part of my life since the day we met. Every so often we get together for lunch, and on special holiday visits we get our families together to make cookies. Nora, and her mom and brother have been a true blessing in my life and a real inspiration. With all they have going on with school and medical treatments, they have been a big part of my fundraising effort. Nora and her friend Annika, together with their moms, put on an event called "Crafting for a Cause" in which moms and daughters got together for an evening of food, making bracelets and fun. I stopped by their last event to thank them for supporting my run for Children's Hospital.

It was a very emotional experience for me. There was Nora, a 13-year-old girl fighting cancer, doing nice things for me. What an amazing girl! Nora, Annika, their moms and friends helped me raise more than $2,400! They made me want to help them as much as I can. The best way to do that is to raise more money for their care. Will you donate today and help me make a difference in their lives?

Thank you in advance for supporting me and Children's Hospital Boston!