Thursday, September 17, 2015

Why I Make Strides.

If you're my friend on Facebook, you've probably noticed that I have been pushing for donations for my Making Strides Against Breast Cancer team. To sum it up, I've been asking people to donate $8 toward my goal of $3,000. I've decided (inspired by my coworker Abby) that if I reach that goal by December 31st, I will donate 8 inches of my hair to be made into a wig for cancer patients.

I'm extremely grateful for those who have donated- it means a lot to have their support, and a simple "thank you" really does not do justice for how much I appreciate them.

But the donations have been pretty slow. True, I only started asking about a week ago. But since I was only asking for $8, I guess I had high hopes that things would be moving along faster. And trust me, I get it.. Most of my friends and family have causes that they are pretty dedicated to and devote their time and dollars to those causes. We all have our passions and I am totally, 100% an advocate for that.

A small part of me, though, wondered if some are holding back because they think that since I work for the American Cancer Society, I have to raise money for this event.

That's not the case- at all.

Sure, we're encouraged to support the events out of our office, to join teams and to spread the word about them, but we are in no way required to raise money, to donate ourselves, etc.

I'm participating in Making Strides Against Breast Cancer for more reasons than because I work for the American Cancer Society.

A big reason is because many women within my church community have been affected by breast cancer. I can name at least six women that I know in that group who have been diagnosed (and beat) breast cancer. That's just not right. These women are mothers, many of them are teachers, and all of them are women whom I admire. I started a team called the St. Hugo Striders for them- because dang it, none of us at St. Hugo want to hear the words "she has breast cancer" ever again. By standing up in the fight I am telling breast cancer to stay away from our Church and our school, our precious community that has been an amazing influence on my life, and in the life of my family. I'm walking in honor of them and their fight. When I set up this team, all I wanted was for others in the St. Hugo community to join me to walk and to show our support for these women. So far, I'm still walking solo. Again, I get it. It's hard to commit to a date, especially with young ones who have sports and other commitments. But even if I have to walk solo, I'm determined to stand up for these women.

The second reason I am walking is for my cousin Lynn. Although my team name is to honor the St. Hugo women I mentioned, Lynn is in my heart and on my mind daily. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012- and just 33 years old.  Lynn was a preschool teacher and a jazz singer at the time she was diagnosed- a perfectly healthy, active, and quirky 33 year old. In a very short amount of time, She underwent a mastectomy, aggressive chemo and radiation, was told she would never be able to have children due to the hormone therapy she was on. By June 2013, she was considered “cancer free”- until January 2015. Lynn had not been feeling very well and went to the doctor to get things checked out, and discovered that the cancer was back- in the liver. Lynn is one of the strongest, most determined people I've ever met. She's been through hell and back with this cancer and all it's entities. I can't imagine the hurdles she has had to jump over, but she remains strong. I'm walking for her- I'm raising money so that we can fund research to help people like her. I'm walking to raise money for programs like Road to Recovery for Lynn. Because she's one of my favorite people, and she deserves the BEST treatment, services, and support that she could ever imagine. And that's where the American Cancer Society comes in. That's where I come in. How can I sit here and KNOW that I can make a difference for people like Lynn and just NOT do it? How can I just write a Facebook posts that shares WHAT Making Strides Against Breast Cancer does for breast cancer research and programs and just not participate?

I can't. I have to walk. For Lynn, for the St. Hugo women, for women and men everywhere- for our future children, so that they can live in a world that's free of breast cancer. I really do believe that day is coming, my friends, but it won't come without the research.

Is the research actually being done? YES.

Does the money actually go somewhere? YES. 

So if you're ready to join me, here are a few ways you can help:

  • Share my team page and ask your friends/family to donate
  • Join my team and walk with me on October 24th as your way of FIGHTING BACK.
  • Join my team, walk with me, and ask your friends/family to donate to our team.
  • Donate to my team (Remember, all I am asking for is $8)
  • Host a fundraiser at your office...whether it's putting out a coin can, selling Wall of Hope Cards, hosting a bake sale, any fundraiser will help

Here is a link to my team page for you to do any or all of the above:

Not only will you help me achieve my goal, you'll also help the American Cancer Society make important advances in the fight against breast cancer. You will also be helping a cancer patient receive an authentic wig so that they can feel “normal”. As a caregiver, I know how vital this is to treatment.

Thank you.

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