I am not an athlete. Even before my diagnosis I was never one to participate in some athletic-type event to raise money for a charity. I was always the one to write a check. I’m happy to support my friends with their endeavors for some very worthy causes. Once I became a survivor I was invited to participate in several events. My answer was always no. I couldn’t do something like that but I was glad to make a donation.
In 2010 a friend and law school colleague died from sarcoma; a soft-tissue cancer that was caused by the radiation treatments for breast cancer that she had received eleven years earlier. Another friend from law school called me with the idea of doing a walk in Jan’s memory. Before the gatekeeper to my mouth was engaged by my brain I heard myself saying “yes.”
During the weeks of planning I shared a little about my own journey and the team decided I should be Team Captain. (It is also not my goal to be a leader with such a focus on myself). Over the past three years we have become a close-knit group, with members from all over the United States. I have learned more about my own diagnosis, as well as about breast cancer and cancer in general. I never really thought about what I was doing except that I feel called to share my story and participate in this walk. That is until recently, when I described walking with the team as my professional hobby.
I am sad to say, I have lost friends to cancer. I have a friend who is battling Stage IV (metastasized) breast cancer. I have become part of a community of breast cancer survivors, both on-line with “strangers” as well as through friends. I did not intend for this to become personal, but my reason for walking has changed slightly. Still, my number one reason for walking is to walk in memory of Jan. But now I also walk for a friend that I lost to breast cancer, and the friends that I will lose. I walk to honor those who have survived. And I walk to celebrate my life.
You see, when I was first diagnosed I did not fully understand what it meant. I have learned the hard and scary truth about triple-negative breast cancer. I now understand that I was given the gift of healing; the gift of life. And I must do something with that life. So I will walk, and I will share my story, and I will be a friend to those in need.
This year the team is walking in San Francisco on September 28 &29. If you’d like to make a donation toward my fundraising goal, you can do so here.
If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor.