This is my third year to walk in a 3-Day alongside my breast cancer survivor mom and Team STEPS. Madre has been in over 10 3-Days and this year is walking in Seattle and Dallas! We'd always talked about conquering the 3-Day together after I graduated college, but then I let my teaching life keep me busy. No more! I believe that it's my task to raise awareness in my age group for giving to causes outside our own needs. I've already gotten to learn stories of my peers and also wiser coworkers about their experiences with breast cancer from raising money for the Michigan and Dallas 3-Days I've been in, and I look forward to learning more as I train and raise money for the Dallas 3-Day and the Seattle 3-Day this year.
Here is my story:
In the hustle and bustle of being a young high school chemistry teacher and figuring out how to be “adult”, there is one thing that always makes me stop in my tracks and remember the humanity in the world – the 16-year breast cancer survivor in my life. As many will attest, my mom has always been a dedicated, caring, and serving member of society. She was the mom that all the teachers, parents, and administrators knew because she was always around to help others achieve their goals. She would take us to piano lessons, bring us to sleepovers, and co-host the best birthday parties.
Madre was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was in elementary school. I saw, for the first time, that my mom suddenly needed people to help her. It wasn’t her driving me to school. It wasn’t her putting together a dinner for three picky eaters. It wasn’t her wrapping me up in a big hug when I had exciting news from school. However, I never felt alone, because her loving spirit had created a community that rose up to support our family. Similar to our story is how the Komen organization has created a community of survivors and supporters to emotionally connect all those who have been affected by breast cancer.
An ironic twist to this story is that my family actually started walking the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K the year before my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Little did we know that joining the Komen community would become such a large part of our lives. We have been walking in the Race for the Cure every year since to do our small part in continuing funding for breast cancer research and programs for all affected. I have tried to be by her side for every Komen 5K and 3-Day closing ceremonies (she has walked 60 miles in 3 days for the past 5 years!), and even participating in the breast cancer awareness ribbon ceremony at one of the NFL games during half time.
I used to wonder why people participated in walks for raising awareness. Why is it useful for me to walk after I’ve already paid a registration fee? Why raise extra money? It’s a personal reason for every participant. For me, it’s not only about raising money for lasting financial support, but there is an emotional component to feeling the positive energy of the unbroken human spirit while training for, walking in, and relaxing after a race. I even get this feeling at the closing ceremonies for each of my mom’s previous 3-Day walks, seeing her walking in with such physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual strength. You’d never have known she just walked 60 miles with her Team STEPS!
While I am proud to say that my mom beat breast cancer when I was in elementary school, I am fiercely aware that her fight is not over. She, and other breast cancer survivors, continue to face lifetime side effects of chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and life-saving medicines. She laughingly jokes about her “chemo brain”, but it’s a reminder that beating the initial cancer isn’t the end of the line. From my science nerd side, there are still so many unknowns about breast cancer treatments that we will continue to investigate, funding permitted.
Since making my decision that this was the year to join my mom in her 60 miles in 3 days quest, I have a lot to learn about walking such a long distance in a short amount of time! I won’t be alone, though. Our team STEPS has welcomed me into their family and my band students will help inspire me to train through the grueling temperatures of the Texas summer.
Please help me support my mom and breast cancer in my 4th and her 14th & 15th 3-Day walk in November. The $2,300 fundraising commitment straight to Komen (this does not fund my travel or lodging) is quite a big number, but one I know I can achieve with your help. Even if you’re only able to help out with a few dollars, send this on to your peers, coworkers, relatives, and family. Any of those affected know that the money is going towards a worthy cause.
Your support helps us get one step closer to a world without breast cancer. 75 percent of the money raised through the walk helps support Komen’s Research and Training Grant Program as well as breast cancer education, screening, and treatment programs. The remaining 25 percent supports groundbreaking local breast cancer research. You may donate online with your credit card by clicking the "Donate" button at the top of this page or print the donation form and mail a check to Komen to post to my account. **If your company matches donations, it makes every dollar worth twice as much.** I can tell you how to do this. Thank you for considering this cause an important one for everyone.
“Komen will not stop until we discover and deliver the cure. That's our promise.” I love that they aren’t just focused on finding the cure, but getting that cure into the lives of everyone affected!