Monday, February 18, 2013

A Journey of 60 Miles Begins with One Step, Cake Decorating, or a Yard Sale

I began training for my 60 mile walk today.
I began training for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day today.  It is the first of over 500 miles of prescribed walking that I will do between now and November.  As I walked the first two  miles of week one day one, and jogged the last one, I read over my training and fundraising materials.  I have to say, the thing that worries me more than walking 60 miles is raising $2,300.  Not a dollar had been raised since I registered for the walk.

I think I am going to lose sleep over that.  Fear not, a family member stepped up and made the first donation followed by my high school track coach.  I still have to raise another $2,215 to raise.  My mom has made a very generous verbal promise, an my father and sisters have pledged to donate too. 

My sister Jessie gave me a fantastic idea of offering cake decorating classes in exchange for donations.  So...I will start to get myself organized to what and where I could teach for given levels of donations.  If you have ever been interested in taking a cake decorating class, keep an eye out for my posts as I try to work out the logistics of the classes. 

Another option I am looking into is holding a yard sale.  If you have any sale worthy items you are looking to get rid of, but do not want to have to store, I'll take it off of your hands for you. 

Help me reach my goal for the Susan G. Komen Arizona 3-DayOne thing is set in stone, if you make a donation, in any amount, I will honor that donation with your name or the name of a loved one on my gear for at least one of the three days that I will be walking. As always, thank you for your support.

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Saturday, February 9, 2013

From the Bottom of My Breast

From the bottom of my breast, I want to say thank you for taking the time to read this post.  It is long, but perhaps you will understand why I am choosing to walk 60 miles in three days.
It's a scary word, Cancer.  Nobody willingly gives access for the disease to develop.  Sure we all engage in behaviors that also may not deter it, such as tanningsmoking, or even just eating.  The point is that there is no way that any of us can be guaranteed a cancer free life.

I have always been interested in helping others.  The careers that call to me are evidence of my need to contribute:  education, nursing/medicine and psychology.  I recently found a new way to help others; others that I don't even know.

Help me reach my goal for the Susan G. Komen Arizona 3-Day
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Last year I became interested in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day walk.  The walk is a 3-Day 60 Mile walk.  It is a daunting task, but one that I hope to take on.  Without your help, I cannot participate.  I need to raise a minimum $2.300 in order to participate in this walk.  Even I wonder at times why I feel so passionate about this walk.  None of my family members have been affected by breast cancer.  Suddenly I remember.  To be more honest about it, it's not suddenly that I remember, the connection is sudden, but I carry the reason with me on a daily basis.

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Death. Cancer.  As I child I was exposed to heavy painful losses early on.  The first loss was that of my grandmother, though I was much too young to know what was happening.  One of the more painful memories involved the loss of my Godfather.  I lost him even before he was really gone.  Some time before my 10th birthday, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.  I didn't understand at the time, but I was kept away from him.  I was no longer allowed to see him.  I didn't know that it would be never again.  You see, my parents, his parents, and all of those around me tried to protect me from seeing him sick.  I sent cards to him with his parents and stuffed animals that I would win for him in the claw game at the bowling alley.  On my 10th birthday, his wife came for a visit.  I remember sitting in the living room and hearing her tell my mom that he had died that day.  I was in shock.  I didn't cry, I didn't say anything.  Then, I smashed my finger with the copy table and the flood gates opened.  He was gone!  I never saw him again, I never said goodbye.

In the days before cancer changed our lives.
Six years later, having only been exposed to what cancer can do once, my sister Jessie, received a devastating diagnosis.  It started with a lump on her neck.  She endured a biopsy and a bone marrow test.  Her diagnosis was Hodgkin's lymphoma.  She was strong for us.  I don't think I ever saw her cry.  Unfortunately, because of my past experience, I ran away from her.  I didn't know how to handle her being sick.  What if I lost her too?  Being home only reminded me how scared I was and so I spent a lot of time riding my bike with my cousins and getting home late so that I could sleep away my worries.  We have been told that although she never shared with us her ultimate fears about her illness, she shared them with her friends.  For us, she remained strong.  She survived and has since then been a supporter of TEAM IN TRAINING.  She may not be Amy Dodson, but that does not change the amount of inspiration she gives me.   

Fast forward another five years and we are once again faced with the devastating disease.  My father's father  learned he would battle cancer of the pancreas.  It was a short battle which he lost within 6 months of starting.  In this loss, it was not so much that he was gone, he had lived a full life.  The hard part was seeing my aunts, uncles, and father, who are usually so full of life, in such sadness.

We were spared the pain of cancer for a while, but about a decade later, one aunt was diagnosed with leukemia.  She fought with all of her might, but in the end she was not match for the disease.  She was ready to go and had been in a calm states just a few days before she took her last few breaths.  I was present for this transition from life to death and it was humbling, painful, a relief.  I now understood what my family had protected me from so many years ago.

Tia Irma
During the time that my mom's oldest sister battled leukemia, the most sincere person I have ever known was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.  Worst of all was that she was never a smoker.  She of all people did not deserve this.  She fought and won; only to learn it had returned again.  Ultimately, heaven gained another angel.  Once again, she was surrounded by loved ones.

And so, my sister and another aunt, whose diagnosis I don't remember because I was too young, have been the only cancer survivors in our family.

Breast cancer has not touched our family and I intend to keep it that way.  I am doing my part by committing, with your help, to walk 60 miles in three days.  I am doing this for everyone, not just my family, but for those who can't do it because the chemo has them weak.  For my friend Donna who recently underwent treatments for breast cancer and for you.  I am hoping to honor all of my financial supporters in some way while completing the walk.

No amount is to small.  Can you give $100?  $50? 10?  How about $10 for 5 months?  You choose, no amount is too small.  Thank you from the bottom of my breast.  That's where my heart is after all.

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