2018 marks my 11th year taking part in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day. In the past 11 years I've walked in 17 3-Day events, served as volunteer support crew 10 times, and raised a hair short of $50,000 thanks to the generosity of donors like you. (A strict accounting of miles walked puts me at 955 miles or so -- in two events I managed to injure myself or get sick.)
I began taking part in the 3-Day in 2008 when I turned 40 and felt an absence in my life, an absence caused by a lack of opportunities to make the world a better place. Working in a job that puts me on the road four weeks out of every five, it's very difficult to get involved in my community. I felt a need to do something more than just eat, sleep, work, and repeat.
In the past 10 years, I've met hundreds, if not thousands, of brave women (and some men) fighting cancer every day, determined to do whatever they can to be present for one more birthday, one more anniversary, one more graduation. I've met people who I can legitimately call heroes, who didn't stop fundraising and giving others rides to chemotherapy and volunteering in other ways even when they were so sick no one would have blamed them for slowing down. I've met women whose husbands abandoned them when they got their Stage IV cancer diagnosis and who had to go on alone. And yes, I've had to say final goodbyes to quite a few of them.
I consider myself very lucky to have had so few cases of serious cancer in my family and my immediate circle of friends. Others haven't been so lucky. I want to do what I can to make a difference where I can.
It would be very easy to look at the miles I've walked and the money I've raised over the past 10 years and say "I've done enough for now."
But I don't feel like I can make that choice. Women and men affected by cancer don't get to say "you know, I'd rather focus on my hobbies and personal life than deal with all this chemotherapy crap." It'd be the height of selfishness to essentially say "I'm too busy, ask someone else."
And so it goes: 10 years of walking and crewing down, and an unknown number to go. Until we live in a world without breast cancer, the fight goes on.