Very simply, I walk because I love my daughter, Jennifer.
When I first walked in 2014, it was to fulfill a dream that Jennifer and I had discussed when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. "Let's do the 3-day together.”
When Jennifer was first diagnosed, she was 3 months pregnant. A single mastectomy was done, a round of chemo, delivery of her daughter Maya, then another round of chemo, followed by radiation. Later, there was another mastectomy and reconstruction. In 2012, Jennifer’s breast cancer metastasized to her spine. There just did not seem to be a “good” time for us to walk together.
By 2014, it was apparent that Jennifer's health would not allow her to participate as a walker, so I decided to sign up. But she was not to be left out. She was there every step of the way, at every Grab and Go and Pit Stop. She was with me at the Opening Ceremony where I carried in the Daughter Flag and on-stage at the Closing Ceremony. Every evening she welcomed me back to camp.
I knew at this point that I would walk again - because I couldn’t walk away. The plan for the 2015 walk was the same. Jennifer was excited about supporting the team again. But as the year progressed, her health issues continued to mount.
Jennifer passed away, October 4, 2015, very peacefully in her sleep. We were all deeply saddened by our loss. We all agreed that Jennifer never "lost" her battle. She beat cancer because it never dominated her life. She refused to the end to be defined by that terrible disease. I could do no less, and so, 6 weeks later, I walked the 2015 3-Day and grieved with every step for the loss of my daughter.
I walked again in 2016 and 2017 with a small group of family and friends at my side. I will continue to walk as long as I am able. I will continue to fundraise and train and to participate in the 3-day event to honor my amazing daughter.
I believe there is a future where others won't have to face the devastating loss of a loved one to this terrible disease. I believe we can make it happen!