Susan G. Komen 3-Day
People have asked me in the past why I have made the Susan G. Komen 3Day such a huge part of my life.....
Many years ago, before my older sister and I had been born, my mother's mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and years later, she had passed away. which prevented my sister, brother and I from ever being able to meet her. Over the last eight years now, my mother has been walking in her mother's memory in the 3Day and I have stood by her every step of the way. For the last five years, my sister has also walked aside my mother. over time other friends and family have joined the fight.
I have met many people along the way , allowing them all to touch my heart and leave a mark in my own life. I have met survivors, family and friends. Each one adding their own story to mine. Although I have not been diagnosed with Breast Cancer, I have my story of how it has changed my life. By not allowing me to meet a woman who I believe would have made an amazing grandmother, from hearing about friends going through treatments (and having to travel across states to recieve better treatments), and at times, through the loss of a loved one.
Growing up, as a little girl, I knew Marie as Mrs. Giebel. I met her while being in the cast of the local community theater's production of Aladdin Jr. She was the one who always had a camera. I could always pick Marie out of a crowd.
When I got a little older, I'd gone to three or four football games at my old high school (before and during my time as a student). The one's I'd gone to, I would spot her in an instant on the track with her daughter, Megan, and her camera. I'd run up to her yelling "Hi Mrs. Giebel!!!!" And Marie always remembered me. I wasn't aware that our families were meant to one day be so intertwined with one another.
My sister, Kaylyn had stayed close with Megan and her brother, Chris. In fact, Chris and Kaylyn were like best friends. So for a few years, we were still -sort of- in eachothers lives. However, in October of 2010, everything changed.
When Marie had been diagnosed with Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer, I didn't know what to think. I don't think any of us did. But our family made sure that we were there for her, her husband Megan, Chris, and their other son, Andrew. It seemed that every day, the bond between our two families grew stronger, as though we were really just one large family.
I remember seeing her after losing her hair. I remember seeing her when her hair grew back. Every time I'd seen her, she would smile, and I would smile and we would talk. She'd want to know what was going on in my life. I'd ask her what was new and she would make a joke that referred to her cancer. But we would talk. I think our longest conversation in that time might have been at the Relay for Life event held at Monmouth University in 2011.
The summer of 2012 came around and I had been registered to crew for the first time for the Philadelphia Breast Cancer 3Day and I had just started directing Annie Jr. with my local community theater's ministage program. I'd been so busy with directing the kids that I had been unable to see how much worse Marie had gotten. I'd gone to a fundraiser and when I saw her she looked okay but said she was having back problems. But she kept getting worse and I was too busy to go and see her when mom and Kaylyn went to see her in the hospital. She had told my mother that she'd felt bad because she wanted to see the show I was directing but couldn't because of her health. When my mother told me, I felt bad that there wasn't a way for her to see it and we didnt have the rights to record it.
On August 12th, 2012, I was excited because I could finally go and see Marie in the hospital. Something I had not yet been able to do that entire summer. They had only allowed a certain number of people in her room at a time. So my sister and I stayed in the lobby while my mother and Marie's husband were with Marie. We thought nothing of it when someone called for a code blue on the loudspeaker. When we found out it was Marie, I was panicking inside. We tried to wait for Megan and Chris and Andrew before going up to see her (they moved her to a different room). When we were all there, the doctors said that we should all start saying our goodbyes and just before I was able to go in and see her, she was gone.
I hadn't just lost my friends mother. I hadn't just lost a woman I knew as a child. I had lost a woman whos entire family (including herself) I had grown to be friends with close enough to call another part of my family.
So if you want to know why I allow myself to make the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer 3Day such a huge part of my life, please go back and listen to my story. I have not been diagnosed with breast cancer. However, it has touched my heart many times. Breast cancer has become a major part of my life and there will be a day when we will have a definite cure. Until then, I will continue to make myself a part of this journey. So that no one has to watch a family member or a friend go through the battle or lose a loved one. And not just the women. Men are at risk as well.
This year, in the Philadelphia Breast Cancer 3Day (2013), will be my second year in Camp services crew and my brother will be joing us in the youth corps. My sister's (now) fiance will also be joining us as a walker. I will be turning twenty years old on the second day of the event. We will also be welcoming my sister (fifth year walker) and her fiance (first year walker) as a newlywed couple (their wedding is the weekend before the event). It will be more of a time for celebration, more that before. I will still continue to carry Marie, my mother's mother and everyone else who has touched my heart in this journey, along the way. Are you with me?
Please support me as I take an amazing journey in the fight to end breast cancer! The Susan G. Komen 3-Day? is a 60-mile walk over the course of three days. Seventy-five percent of the net proceeds raised by the Komen 3-Day help fund national research and large public health outreach programs. The remaining 25 percent helps fund local community and Affiliate support and outreach programs.