I thought this would be another great breast cancer walk. Instead I'm struggling. As many of you know, I began a new job as development coordinator for Susan G. Komen Colorado. This puts me very close to the front lines of the various needs locally as well as throughout the world. It is immense, overwhelming, and I want to save every single person diagnosed with whatever stage of breast cancer they are in. I can't. You can't. And that's not easy to accept. So what next?
We can continue to band together in this space. The 3 Day allows us to collectively come together and say things like, "I've got your back." "I want you to win." "I'm sorry you lost the most amazing person in your life." And then hug, cry, laugh, or all of those simultaneously. The money raised for these walks is devoted to research. Did you know that when Komen first began it's journey, the five-year survival rate for an early stage diagnosis was 74%? With mass efforts, research, and funding, that number has changed to 99%! So if you wonder if any of this makes a difference, I can resoundly and excitedly say, "YES!" The next phase is to continue working on the more aggressive stages. It's difficult because everyone's cancer journey is different. And with the rise of metastic breast cancer, we MUST not give up. Right now the focus is on increasing the number of life years for a metasurvivor and the goal of stopping it in it's tracks. But, it will take time. Just as it took time to change millions of lives by 25%.
TOGETHER, we can be more than pink. The ribbons have never been enough. Today, we must continue ACTION. We can encourage someone to have their mammogram, refer to your local breast cancer affiliation for resources to navigate the convoluted healthcare system, ask for all of the treatment options that might include 3rd and 4th opinions, and simply sit beside someone during their chemo (or pole dance, as some in my community have attempted).
I'll continue to walk for anyone and everyone. But, I need you with me to fly.