After I graduated from college, I lived with her and my grandfather for a few months while I did one of my internships at a hospital near their house. At the time, my grandmother, then out of remission, was struggling through her second course of chemo, which did not do its job that time around. She held on long enough to give her input during the planning of my wedding and to hold her youngest grandchild in her arms for the first time, and then she went on ahead, two weeks before I got married. And thus begun my membership in the I Hate Cancer Club!
Spurred on by this over the years, I’ve participated in at least 25 runs benefiting organizations involved in the fight against cancer, including the Race for the Cure, the St. Jude Marathon and Half-Marathon, and various other races. Each time, I was proud and humbled to be part of the effort and excited to be part of the extended cheering squad for those involved in this war.
Last August, I participated in the Avenue of Hope 5K benefiting the American Cancer Society in honor of Cindy, a friend of mine battling cancer. It was a small, local charity race, my favorite kind, full of meaning and spirit and camaraderie. A group of my friends also completed the race in honor of Cindy as well as many other loved ones who are fighting or have fought this terrible disease.
|Cindy with her "team" at the ACS race, August 2010|
Last weekend, I ran the Avenue of Hope 5K again, this time with my younger daughter Molly, who proudly wore her grandfather’s racing shirt in his memory and who won her age division.
As much as I am honored and motivated to continue to participate in events to raise money and to promote awareness for this worthy cause, though, and as much as I take notice of the bumper stickers and related paraphernalia for awareness of different types of cancers, I’m pretty sure everyone is aware of cancer and the devastation it leaves in its wake at this point. What I want - what we really need in this fight - are prevention and a cure. Now let’s quit talking about it and just do this thing!