Last month, they began to walk. Thousands strong, they “walk as one” in nine cities, “in it to end it.”
Because they walk, 120,000 amazing people have raised $320 million to date for breast cancer research and treatment.
Rain or shine, they walk 39 miles, stopping every so often to rest, get water, and get their blisters treated.
They walk for their mothers, daughters, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, and friends. And some of them even walk for breast cancer-stricken men.
They walk wearing pink, lots of pink. Pink hats and shirts. Pink bandanas covering bald heads. Pink signs and banners, emblazoned with the names and pictures of loved ones. Pink ribbons heralding their commitment to the battle against breast cancer.
They walk for those still fighting, and for those who have lost the battle.
They walk because they are healthy, and they walk because they are not.
They walk with the bright smiles of hope, and they walk with the tears of loss.
They walk for tomorrow. They walk for the cure.
They walk for you.
My daughter Lisa is a breast cancer survivor. In a little over a week, she will be walking for the fourth time. This is her story, in her own words.
This May I will be walking nearly 40 miles over two days as a participant in the Boston Avon Walk for Breast Cancer for the FOURTH time. I am honored to be walking with thousands of others who have made the same courageous commitment to help raise awareness and funding for this devastating disease. Together, we will sleep in tents, shower in semi-trucks and push ourselves far beyond what we ever thought we were capable of doing.
Why am I doing this? Well, let me tell you my story. In February 2006 I found a lump. At my next prenatal appointment (that’s right, I was pregnant-- seven months to be exact), I brought it up with my doctor. She sent me for an ultrasound of the mass. That led to a biopsy which then led to a mammogram. Two days later I was being told I had breast cancer and that I would need a modified radical mastectomy. Cancer, at 33. Who would have thought? And while pregnant. I can’t tell you how scared I was. But both the baby and I had no trouble with the surgery. Eight weeks later (three weeks after Jack’s birth) I started chemotherapy. I had eight chemo treatments over 16 weeks throughout the summer. During the fall I had 30 treatments of radiation. I am now on hormone therapy and feeling great. I am grateful for the science and research that allowed me the treatments to make a full recovery. Unfortunately, while I made my recovery, others were diagnosed with breast cancer, one about every three minutes.
Now I’m on a mission. The more people I talk to and the more money I raise to fund the fight against breast cancer, the sooner the numbers of women being diagnosed will start lowering and the sooner a cure will be found. I truly believe that finding a cure to one cancer will be the key to unraveling the mysteries of many cancers. Too many people have had their lives torn apart by this disease. I refuse to idly sit by and watch it happen. So why will I walk? Because I can, and because I need to. My commitment has become part of my healing process. And the event itself is a huge part of that process.
Excerpted from Lisa’s Avon Walk for Breast Cancer web page