As most of you know I am a Susan G. Komen 3-Day walker and this past weekend I walked my fourth 60 mile, Susan G. Komen 3-Day to kick cancer’s butt, in sunny, beautiful San Diego, CA! I had so much fun walking with my friends and 2400 of the most amazing men and women in the world! In case you are unfamiliar with the Susan G. Komen 3-Day, I will show you an info graphic that shows how the money raised will help men and women fighting breast cancer and what some of the money raised will impact communities around the world.
Now that you have that visual, I will tell you some of my journey. (Keep in mind that I’m trying to make this the “brief” version.) 🙂
In 1997 my maternal grandmother passed away from breast cancer. That was the year I decided that breast cancer SUCKED and that I wanted to find a way to kick cancer’s butt! By the time she was diagnosed with breast cancer the cancer had spread throughout her body, simply because she NEVER had mammograms or went to the doctor until it was too late!! (GO GET YOUR MAMMOGRAMS, LADIES!!)
That’s the year, I decided that mammograms would become a regular part of my yearly exams, even though I wasn’t the magic age of “40” yet, my doctor scheduled the mammogram because of the history in my family. (The “magic” age of 40 is too old, IMHO.) Every year since then I have been going in for yearly exams and I am blessed to have no symptoms or issues, BUT my best friend wasn’t as fortunate. Right before Christmas of 2010, my best friend found a lump and went to the doctor. That’s when our world changed!! Just after Christmas, 2010 she was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. This diagnosis rocked my world!! (And even more so, hers!)
When she started going through chemotherapy and surgery, I helped out in whatever way I could but I felt like it wasn’t even close to enough. She was going through continual pain and discomfort. She was having poison injected into her body and surgeries to remove the tumor. Her mom came to help out and this caused her mom stress, too. I wanted to do more than drive her places and help with her son. I wanted to help in a bigger way!!
While my friend was in the hospital for surgery, I went down to be with her. When I was there, a breast cancer liaison came into the room from Susan G. Komen 3-Day and she was talking about the impact of the walks for breast cancer patients. As soon as she walked in I knew how I could make a difference. I went home and researched and found out more about the walks and discovered what it would take to walk the Susan G. Komen 3-Day. THEN, I talked to my husband about it. This was mid July, 2011. That night I signed up for my FIRST Susan G. Komen 3-Day and, as they say, “the rest is history”! I told Glenna what I was doing and she was supportive of my decision and was touched that I wanted to do something bigger.
I found a group of women who trained that lived in the vicinity of where I lived and I emailed the team captain, who told me I could walk with them. The next morning, I woke up at 4:00 A.M., and met them to start walking at 5:00 A.M. (If you know me very well you know that those times are unheard of under normal circumstances! BUT, this was NOT something normal!) This was something bigger than I had ever experienced before. This was me doing something bigger than myself to make a difference in the world! I started training with these women (and men) and now consider some of them my closest friends.
I attend fundraisers with this group of people. I walk with them, I go to dinner with them, I cry with them! They are my 3-Day family!! And just like any normal family, sometimes we love each other and sometimes we don’t but we are family!! We stick together through thick and thin.
We are family!!
My first walk I learned so much about what it takes to push myself beyond what I ever imagined and I walked every step of those 60 miles over the 3 days! I can’t express to you how exhilarated and empowered I felt as I crossed the finish line with my team mates. I have never felt like I was anything more than a measly little housewife and mom, but after doing my first Susan G. Komen 3-Day, I felt like I could do anything I set my mind to! The team and community support pushed me, cheered for me, and encouraged me as I continued taking each and every step of the way! Each year, I sign up to walk the 3-Day and feel that I am doing something to make a difference in the world. I feel as though I can take on any challenge and push myself beyond my “normal”.
Last year, I discovered that one of my high school friends’ wife had had breast cancer and is now a 5 year survivor. They have become some of my biggest financial supporters and I appreciate each dollar they donate to help me reach my goal each year. I have made connections with men and women that I would never have dreamed about. I have supporters from all walks of life (a lot of them from the Sisterhood community)!