Sixteen years ago, in 2008, I turned 40. I felt as though I was really doing very little with my life other than traveling for work, coming home, doing laundry, and going back out on the road again, and when I took stock of my life, I realized that something had to change. I didn't want to just be a drone, contributing nothing to society.
A friend challenged me to take part in the 2008 Washington DC Breast Cancer 3-Day (as it was known at the time). I really didn't know much about breast cancer; I had never had a friend, family, or co-worker get a diagnosis of breast cancer (or at least, I was unaware of one). But upon reading the stories of those who were taking part in the event, some of whom were survivors and some of whom were walking for their friends, their family members, their co-workers, living and dead, I came to understand what a huge problem breast cancer was and continues to be.
Once I started fundraising and taking part in walks, it became abundantly clear that many people in my life have been affected by breast cancer. I found out that co-workers were fighting it; I found out that acquaintances and friends were fighting it. I found out that many people I knew had lost family members and friends to breast cancer. I had simply been completely oblivious.
1 in 8 women will receive a diagnosis of breast cancer in their lifetime. 168,000 people in the US are living with stage IV metastatic breast cancer. 44,000 people are expected to die from breast cancer this year alone.
The mortality rate for breast cancer in women has been reduced by 42% since 1989, but there is still much more work to be done. The money raised by the Susan G Komen organization goes to pay for research, treatment, detection, and education. Virtually every major development in detection and treatment over that same time frame has been funded in part or completely by grants from Komen.
Sixteen years after I started walking in Komen events, I am still walking -- this is my fifteenth year participating (no walks were held in 2020) and I have walked in 21 3-Day walks. I have also served as volunteer crew in 13 events, doing everything from driving sweep vans along the route to hauling all the trash that accumulates at the pit stops (I did *that* three times, twice in one year!) to working at pit stops and marking the route. This year I will be walking in two more 3-Days -- Denver and Chicago -- and crewing in the New England 3-Day. That brings my walk total to 23 and my crew total to 14. Over the years I have made many friends, heard many stories both triumphal and tragic, and said goodbye to some of the best people I've ever known.
But it has to be said -- the walking is not the important thing. Cancer is not cured by the accumulation of blisters and achy legs. In the end, it comes down to money. I've raised over $60,000 lifetime, but that was then. This is now. To continue the fight against breast cancer, we can never give up.
I would be grateful and honored to have your support this year. In order to take part in the two events I'm walking, I have to raise a minimum of $2,300 in each city, for a total of $4,600. You can help make a difference with your donation.
Thank you so much for any help and support you are willing to give.