Please support me as I commit, once again, to end breast cancer forever. The Susan G. Komen 3-Day is a 60-mile walk over the course of three days. It is hard - I know because I have walked in 21 events over the past 15 years - but it’s not as hard as breast cancer. It’s not as hard as chemo. It’s not as hard as getting bad news at your latest scan. It’s not as hard as saying goodbye. And that’s why I know I have to continue raising both money and awareness. That’s why I commit. That’s why I cannot walk away.
I am excited to share that this year, Joel for the first time and Logan for his third 3-Day will be joining White Butterflies in Boston as walkers, not stalkers! I know that will disappoint many 3-Dayers who look forward to their costume changes and encouragement, but I am excited for them to share in the entire 3 Day weekend with me and my pink sister, Janet. I am planning to walk in Denver, Dallas and San Diego as well in 2023.
As many of you know, I started walking in 2006 to honor my friend Gail, who succumbed to breast cancer as a young mother in the prime of her life. Since then I have been surrounded by friends, family, and my donors loved ones who have received this diagnosis. Great progress has been made in treatment and early detection, which saves lives, but we have not reached the end of our journey. With your donation, you can positively impact the lives of others - or your own - and make a difference for future generations.
Many companies match personal donations. That is an easy way to double our impact together, so please check to see you yours has a matching program (and include my participant ID: 1354592 along with Susan G Komen 3-Day as designee (not the national office). If your donation is in honor or memory of someone dear to you, please send me their name to add to my wings. I really do wear them all 60 miles! I cannot fly but, in truth, you and your loved ones carry me every step of the way.
Wishing you health, love and laughter.
Nancy Schulman / White Butterflies * see below for the story of our name
2006 Tampa Bay / $5,030
2007 Tampa Bay / $6,402
2009 Boston / $5,153
2010 Dallas / $5,631
2011 Washington, DC / $6,517
2012 Chicago / $4,714
2013 Philadelphia / $5,652
2014 Twin Cities / $6,835
2015 Atlanta / $7,232
2016 Michigan / $8,842
2017 Twin Cities / San Diego / $12,851
2018 Seattle / $8,781
2019 Twin Cities / Boston / $12,065
2020 Virtual for Boston/Chicago/Dallas/San Diego & 2021 3Day Nation $27,510
2021 San Diego $13,456
2022 Boston/Chicago/Dallas/San Diego $25,772
The Story Behind the name "White Butterflies":
"Do you miss her very much" my 5 year old asks inquisitively?" Yes, I do", I reply. "Every day."
"Her" is my mother; Grandma Lucy to my son, Logan. He has never met her. She died of lung cancer 2 years before he was born. But he knows her. He knows her life, her love, her spirit. He feels it in the softness of a baby's blanket. He sees it, as I do, in the beauty of a butterfly's wings. My mother was strong and determined, talented and intelligent. She was principled. She was a fighter. So even though we knew her death was imminent, it still came as a shock to us all. She had fought back so many times from adversity that she had us all convinced she was invincible. But the day came when the fight ended. A lifetime of smoking had taken her from us too soon. She was 69 years old.
I was angry when she died. I understood some of the choices she had made but I didn't understand all the physical pain and hardships she had had to endure for much of her life. Sitting at the kitchen table with her, shortly after her cancer diagnosis, I asked if she still believed in God after all the illness and loss she had suffered in her lifetime. She paused for a moment and looked out at the cardinals and blue jays that perched in the trees just outside our window. "I have to" she replied, "man can't create such beauty."
A few months after her death, I was standing on a balcony overlooking a lake in the Canadian Rockies. It was so beautiful. Suddenly I felt the loss of her so intensely that my grief welled up into words I spoke aloud. As I voiced my need for her, a beautiful white butterfly captured my eye, hovering for a bit before flying away. In some strange way I felt comforted by its presence.
This experience repeated itself to me several times in the coming weeks. When I seemed to need her love and guidance the most, a white butterfly entered my world as if to say, "I am near, I am here." And as the days and months went by, the appearance of a white butterfly would bring a smile to my lips. I saw many of them. I knew she was close at hand. And the pain softened.
At the one year anniversary of her death, following Jewish tradition, we had a headstone unveiling service. It reopened the wound as if it was yesterday. At the gravesite, after the service, I shared the appearances of the white butterflies with my family and how they brought me comfort. "Well didn't you see her here today?" my husband asked quietly. "No", I said, not having been able to see through my tears as the rabbi spoke. "Two white butterflies danced around the rabbi throughout the service," he said. "Your mother and Adam, the child we loved but never met."
Two years later Logan was born. He is named for his grandmother. From the very first day he was wrapped in blankets she made for him. And with her blankets, even though she was no longer with us in body, she held our deepest hope and dreams in her own hands. One of these has become "Blankie", Logan's most cherished possession. And he came to this of his own choosing. Now, after 5 years of constant love and attention it is starting to literally unravel. It is of great concern to my son. But I know that as the blanket grows weaker, the memory of her spirit grows stronger. And in the white butterfly she will live on in all of us.
Postscript: I was not a consciously spiritual person before my mother’s death. As I stood before family and friends on the morning of her funeral, the words I had planned to say on behalf of us all caught in my throat. I stood silently unable to speak. In the next moments, I felt the gentle weight of a hand on my left shoulder, yet I stood alone at the lectern. And I found my voice.
I truly believe my mother's spirit stays close to us. Watching, guiding, protecting from wherever she is. Logan believes it too. And I hope this is a gift from me to him that he will treasure always and that will comfort him. When Logan was in preschool, he ran up to his teacher one morning very excited. "Come look," he said. "Grandma Lucy is in the garden." The teacher was unsure what to make of it. But Logan knew. And I knew. And we smiled. A few years later I was bringing flowers to the cemetery with my father. As we stood there lost in our own thoughts, a white butterfly landed on my father’s shoulder for the briefest of moments before flying away; a butterfly's kiss from his wife and friend of 50 years. I smiled though my tears.
My father-in-law died when Logan was only 4 ½. They were very close and it has been a hard loss. But as time offers healing, Poppa's spirit revealed itself and began to sing sweetly in our hearts, as in life he always sang to us. So we see him now in the robin that sings out each morning in greeting. We greet him in return and we smile. Logan is now 5 ½. As we were walking to school this week he asked me if I was going to die before him. I paused for a moment before answering. "Probably (hopefully), yes" I said. "Well what will your spirit be?" he questioned eagerly. "That, my son, will be for you to decide."
May 4, 2006