Thursday, September 26, 2013

Avon Walk - San Francisco

Tomorrow I leave for San Francisco to participate in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. I’m both anxious and excited. I know I’ve shared my anxiety over the Golden Gate Bridge, but I did a Google search and discovered it’s really not that bad. The walkway is a wide sidewalk. In fact, reading about the bridge made it sound like a public park. I looked at pictures of walkers and bicyclists and thought “I can do that.”

I am also anxious about traveling. It’s not a post 9/11 anxiety about flying. In fact, it has nothing to do with the trip itself. It’s a “I don’t want to miss my flight” anxiety. But one of the things that I’ve learned about travel is that it’s not a big deal. I’ve missed flight connections and still got to where I was going. I’ve had flights canceled, was able to rebook my hotel room, and rescheduled my flight for the next day. Beyond that, the trip isn’t vital to anything. Except maybe seeing my friends. The truth is: I’m fine once I’m sitting at the gate waiting to board.

The other thing I’ve learned about travel is that it’s fairly easy to get around. I’ve done enough business travel that I know how to navigate to the taxi queue, grab a cab, and get to my hotel. In this electronic age I’ve already received confirmation emails, reminder phone calls, and been able to print out everything 24 hours in advance. I’m good to go. Tomorrow just has to arrive.

However, I think more than anything I’m excited. I’m excited to see my friends (teammates). I’m excited to be walking again. I’m happily (instead of anxiously) anticipating the physical challenge ahead. And I’m excited that our efforts have meaning. The money raised goes to research, education, detection, support, and treatment. As little as $150 means an uninsured woman gets a mammogram. Additionally, the money raised helps a newly diagnosed woman (or man) get the x-rays and lab work that is needed to determine treatment. An average of 80% of funds raised stay in the area where the event takes place. The remaining 20% goes to care programs in all 50 states, as well as national research programs, to help ensure adequate funding for the fight against breast cancer. Source: It is exciting to help fund the Avon Foundation and the fight against breast cancer.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Let's Move Together

Sunday I walked in the 17th annual Arthritis Foundation Walk in Boston. My Goddaughter, Kate, is Captain of a team – Katie’s Knights. Kate was diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis when she was in the seventh grade.
According to the Arthritis Foundation arthritis is “a complex family of musculoskeletal disorders consisting of more than 100 different diseases or conditions that destroy joints, bones, muscles, cartilage and other connective tissues.” There are 50 million Americans with arthritis, and two-thirds of them are under the age of 65, including 300,000 children. The most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and juvenile arthritis. Other forms of arthritis include fibromyalgia, gout, Lyme disease, and tendinitis.

Arthritis is a more frequent cause of activity limitations than heart disease, cancer, or diabetes. There is strong evidence that exercise provides benefits for people with arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation hosts walks all over the United States to raise money for research and education. Their slogan is “Let’s Move Together.” The event takes place over the course of a day. We started with registration and warm-up dance. The Boston walk is a three mile loop along the Charles River near MIT, Harvard and Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge. We walked along the river, across a bridge to the other side, and then back across another bridge to end where we started. Afterwards there was lunch, prizes, acknowledgements for top fundraisers, and more dancing.

This was the first time I had participated in this walk. I am very proud of Kate and her leadership of her team. However, my participation has always been limited to a financial donation. Last year I actually thought about walking with her team, but had a conflicting commitment. This year I did not. I also thought it would be a good training walk for my upcoming Avon Walk.
I found the event fun. The weather was perfect. The team is delightful. The three miles seemed to go by quickly. In the end it was an easy walk and I think I want to participate in other 5K walks. Something inside me has changed.

If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Childhood Cancer

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month (among many others) here in the U.S. An independent film maker shared this video with me to help bring awareness to this terrible childhood disease. I wanted to share it with you. May his work be blessed, and may we find a cure for all cancer.

If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

New Beginnings

September. A month of new beginnings. Today is Rosh Hashanah; the Jewish New Year. Yesterday was the first day of classes for many college students. When I was a kid it would have been the first day of school. Back then, public schools did not start until the Wednesday after Labor Day. (A holiday here in North America – both the United State and Canada). In so many ways, September marks the beginning of the year.

In just over three weeks I will fly to San Francisco to participate in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer with a team that was formed three years ago. We walk in memory of a dear friend, school mate, and student leader. I find myself being both sad and excited. I’m a little apprehensive about the Golden Gate Bridge, but I know the experience will be magnificent.
I am sad because I miss Jan. I pulled my “Jan hat” off the closet shelf the other day. It’s a hat we had made for the first walk. I’ll wear it again this year. I will wear it every year we walk. I like to think that Jan is proud of what we are doing. I like to think it’s something she would have organized.
I am also looking forward to seeing my teammates again. We have a special bond. We came together because of Jan, but we had known each other before our first walk. It’s an annual reunion. Throughout the rest of the year we keep in touch via email and social media. We have discovered we have more in common than just Jan and law school.
The Walk is also a new beginning. The Avon Foundation provides grants to area hospitals and research facilities with the money we raise. They also provide grants for support services, education, and screenings for under-insured and uninsured women and men. We are helping to give someone, somewhere a new year; a new start.
I know my last sentence may seem Polly Ana-ish given the realities of breast cancer. But funding research has resulted in new and better treatments. More lives are being saved. Lives are being extended. Don’t get me wrong, there is still a lot of work to be done. We need to find a way to prevent recurrence. We need to find a way to stop the spread of metastasized breast cancer; halt its progression and give patients a better quality of life. We need to find a cure for ALL cancer.
So as I start September and look forward to the Avon Walk in three and half weeks, I will think of it as the start of something good. And I wish you all a Happy New Year!
You can make a donation to my fundraising efforts at

If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor.