10 years ago I set out on a journey and had no idea the impact it would have on my life. As I contemplate the miles, money, and memories, I can’t help but be in awe at how difficult, yet rewarding this journey of mine has been. I have been blessed in countless ways through friendships, monetary donations, prayers, notes, cheers, hugs and relationships that have formed because of my journey. I told myself 10 years ago that if I chose to step out into this journey, I would not give up until my soul felt sure it was time to step away. So, here I am 10 years, $25,000.00, 600(ish) miles (well because I walked an extra journey in 2017) asking for what I hope is the very last time for you to support me on my journey. For those of you who have been with me since 2008, there is no way I can thank you enough for your support. For those of you who are new to this, or have never gotten an email from me asking for help, you should know how unbelievably passionate about this journey that I am! It started too many years ago to count when my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer, she survived her diagnosis for 40+ years and gained her promise into heaven when she was in her 80’s. In 2005(ish) my best friend’s mom was diagnosed and those cancer cells would end up migrating to many other places. Sue gained her promise of Heaven in 2007. In 2008 after giving birth to 3 boys in previous years, I had a daughter, and realized that she could actually fall victim to the type of cancer that robs women of their identity by taking away what is typically seen as what makes us look different from men… our breasts and hair. I know, I know…men can get it as well, and they can grow their hair etc… but when looking down at the blessing that God had given me 7 weeks before she was due, with her bald little head, her rosy red lips, and her teeny tiny tatas, all I could think of was her telling me one day that she was going to lose those tatas, that hair and her lips would be pale and weak from meds due to a diagnosis of breast cancer, and I knew at that moment, I HAD to do something!! What followed was 10 years of raising the required $2300.00 for the opportunity to walk 60 miles in 3 days in the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer 3Day event. Since 2008 I have had 14 friends who were diagnosed and are able to say at this time that they are cancer free. Research dollars are being used daily and the cure if caught early is at an all- time high… roughly 98% depending on the type of breast cancer that one has. There are two groups of individuals however that do not have a level playing field when it comes to a cancer diagnosis and recovery… African American women (and men) and women (and men) whose cancer cells have migrated to bone, brain, liver, lung etc. In the breast cancer world that migration of cells is referred to as Metastatic Breast Cancer. MBC has taken the lives of 5 of my unbelievably strong, beautiful friends just in the last 2 years, but only after taking the life of my Aunt Caroline in 2010. I miss them! I miss their smiles, laughter, grit, fight, and their overall dedication to making sure that they lived every single day to the fullest. I ask that you consider making a donation on this 10 year “walkaversary” to help me reach my $2300.00 goal with this in mind…. Komen has joined a group of researchers from Dana Farber, University of TX @ MD Anderson, Columbia, Princeton, Vanderbilt, Yale, The Mayo Clinic and several others to find ways to reach the African American men and women and level the survival playing field, as well as the bold goal of finding a cure for Metastatic Breast Cancer by the year 2026! Komen’s focus is no longer about funds just for their own research, but have partnered up with at least 16 other groups, like the ones listed above, to eradicate this disease that has touched my world so many times over the last 10 years. I no longer just walk for the teeny tiny tatas of this world as I started out doing 10 years ago. I now walk in honor of those friends (and family) who are no longer a part of this world. I walk for those who continue to battle MBC, and I walk in hopes of leveling the cure rate! Please consider again helping me get there. Yes, this was the longest letter that I have written to date. However, my passion for a cure after all these years, continues to grow and now more than ever, I need to stay steadfast on my own personal journey to help find a cure. Thank you for all the years of support and send lots of prayers my way this year… I am 10 years older, 20 pounds heavier and well… you know… I am just tired of walking!!
Much love to each of you!!!!!