November 2007 3Day Breast Cancer Walk, San Diego
As I stood on the wall at Petco Park and watched my friends and teammates go ahead of me to the closing ceremonies in our walk for breast cancer, I felt alone and reflected how the walk mirrors so many lives.
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002, I felt completely and utterly alone. Even though I was surrounded by friends and family, I felt I was standing, in quicksand, by myself.
Just a few weeks ago at the 3Day Breast Cancer walk, my team, Minnie’s Breastkateers, and I had been together for 6 days (go figure!) The opening ceremonies were joyful and tearful and heartwarming and unimaginable. People were together for one common goal and that is to stamp out breast cancer.
I had just bought a new home. I had just changed jobs and started my own company. I had been sober for a year and a half. My mother was the only person I knew that had had breast cancer, and she had died from it. I was diagnosed at the same age and stage of my life as my mother. Like mother, like daughter?
People from all over had come to walk 60 miles and pledge their support in the fight against breast cancer for the Susan Komen Philanthropic Trust. My team had been fundraising together for months, and had raised over $8000. The 3Day walk raised over 12 million dollars this year! Life was as it should be - love and kindness and togetherness.
I marched on – ready, set, go. My surgery was in October 2002, followed by a year of aggressive chemo and radiation. I watched people pass me in their lives. I lost some friends. I gained some friends. My relationship with my hubby got even better (and I didn’t think that was possible). I learned a lot about myself and my life.
As I stood on the wall at Petco Park and watched my friends and teammates go ahead of me to the closing ceremonies in our walk for breast cancer, I felt alone again. There they go, I thought to myself.
I made it to the center of the pink t-shirts – all survivors. Every size, shape and color and stage of treatment was celebrating life, together. Some of us had met over the last few days; some of us had never seen each other. But there was a common bond – something that will hold us together forever: we stared cancer right in the face and we kicked cancer’s ass.
We marched, arm in arm, 12 across with heads held high - 1200 pink warriors, to our destination of the 3Day Breast Cancer Walk closing ceremonies to celebrate life and death - simultaneously.
I wondered how I would ever find my friends and teammates among the 5,000 people on the streets.
As we began to walk through the crowd, the walkers took off their shoes (shoes) and raised them high above their heads for us survivors. Their silent subtle statement was that they walked for those that have lost their lives. They walked for the ones who have fought breast cancer tooth and nail and are still here. They walked for me.
As I looked up, my teammates were right there. It was a sign. My friends didn’t leave me behind, they went ahead of me to make sure everything was okay, and they waited for me to get there.
And I realized they have always been there. My friends and family didn’t leave me alone. They have been and will continue to be with me to triumph and celebrate life – mine and theirs. And we will continue in this march to eradicate breast cancer together. Because breast cancer sucks, no matter how and when you look at it!
So, to all of my friends and family and Minnie’s Breastkateers:
I love you all!
NOW & THEN
Thanks for being there. You know who you are!
And especially, thanks for the SHOES! (shoes)