Monday, April 19, 2010

Why I'm Walking

...because I've been trying to figure out some easy, effective fundraisers so I can participate in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure this autumn. I'm committed to walking 60 miles in 3 days, and to raising $2,300 for breast cancer research, and the question I keep coming back to in my head is, 'Why?' Why would I want to train for months, sleep in a tent, use port-a-potties exclusively for days, buy multiple pairs of walking shoes, spend my time soliciting money that most folks don't have to give, learn how to use a treadmill, or spend 3 days away from home, exercising?

The easy answer is my family. Three of my dad's five sisters have battled cancer and won (one of my aunts just beat cervical cancer a second time, and unfortunately another one just found a tumor in her brain). His mother wasn't so lucky. One of my cousins was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 25, and we just lost one of my mother's cousins to pancreatic cancer a little while ago. Cancer runs strong and vicious through my family, and I want very much to see a day when none of my amazing relatives will have to go through the diagnosis, treatment, and recovery process. We are a strong, resilient, goofy group of people, but enough is really enough already. I think we could use a break, and finding a cure for breast cancer is a key that could unlock a cure to other forms of cancer.

I'm also walking because the statistics scare me. One out of every 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. I know and love way more than 8 women, and it breaks my heart to think of any of them suffering and fighting through this disease. In the US, a woman will die from breast cancer every 13 minutes, and be diagnosed every 3 minutes. The biggest risk factors include getting older and being a woman--things which none of us can actually control. These are numbers, which don't always hit as close to home until you really think about them. In the time it takes me to write this blog, two women will have died from this disease. That's sobering as hell.

I'm doing this to honor all the people that gave me so much support and love while I was going through the Alien Spine Baby Saga. Because of all that love and support, I was able to bounce back from some pretty major surgery as quickly and well as possible. A big part of the credit for that goes out to my amazing surgeon, and to the hospital staff that took such good care of me. A bigger part, though, goes out to my family (my whole family, not just the blood relatives) who sent me get well cards and movies and toys and books and lovely knitted things, held my hand while I was crying, brought food when I couldn't cook, and surrounded me with so much love that I knew, no matter what, I was not alone. This walk, this gesture, is a way for me to help pay some of that wonderful positivity forward. It's a way for me to give some of the care and support that was given to me back out to the world.

So, that's what's worth it to me. Those things, but mostly those people, are worth doing something big and crazy and a little amazing for. They're worth sweating and training and raising money for. And if I can pull this off and walk in the 3-Day in five months, it will be something to be proud of.


Donna Lee said...

I'm certainly proud of you. It never hurts to put some positive vibes out into the universe.

And you forgot my mother who had breast cancer as well. It's devastating both physically and mentally. Especially if, as she was, you're someone to whom image is important.

I'm not physically walking with you (what? you think I'm crazy?) but I'll be there in spirit.

PICAdrienne said...

So how do we donate to you to help you further your cause? Good luck to you and keep at it!

Galad said...

You have made a huge commitment for something you strongly believe in. That and your good heart will help you get through those many miles.

Way to go Em!

VacationExhibit said...

I always try and participate in as many walks as I can. I know that walking can help to raise awareness of cancers and other health problems. If you're traveling to an event... please use they support these type of events.