They Walk

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.

My Story

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.


  1. Bravo, Lisa. I can't imagine how scary that whole thing must have been. I am so glad you've come through it and are now feeling well and fit.

    And thank you, Patti, for sharing her story.

  2. Mom,
    Somehow whenever you do(post)something about my having had cancer, I'm always so moved. More so than if anyone else says or does anything. I think maybe it's because it was you who stood by me. You who held my hand. You who took the notes, asked the questions. It was always you who I turned to for guidance and advice. Regardless of anything or anyone else, there was always you. There simply are no words to express how I feel for all you have done. I think only two things will do...

    I love you, and thank you!


    PS Thanks LceeL

  3. Lisa,

    You are so strong, so courageous, with a powerful and inspiring story that lives ON. I am so very glad your mom shared it here, and I will follow your journey through this Walk and beyond.

    All the very best to you, and to your wonderful Mom for all that Both of you are- together and individually.


  4. Thank you, Lou and Ti, for reading and responding to Lisa directly. She is an amazing woman with an amazing story, one that keeps getting better every day (not that I'm prejudiced!).

    Lisa: You're welcome. I love you too!

  5. Lisa:

    You are very courageous and a real fighter. I applaud your attitude, taking action against a horrendous foe.

  6. a wonderful tale...and to read her comment as well...smiles. inspiring.

  7. Thank you all for your kind words.


  8. clap clap clap...read it through again. smiles.

  9. Very well done. A most worthy cause.

  10. Finally...a pink I can get behind...

  11. OMG, you and your brave daughter deserve a round of applause. Yes, the color PINK is indeed near your heart.
    I hate cancer (who doesn't?). It absolutely terrifies me.
    God bless.

  12. Wow what a path to traverse as a young mom.

    Bravo for her journey

    Happy TT Patti


  13. Lisa...wow..what a story of courage! Good for you! And thanks, mom for sharing it! 'In it to end it'...love that.

  14. Lisa, you're story is incredible. Thank you for sharing it with us. I have a friend who's a crew member at the Charlotte, NC AWBC this fall and walking in the spring. She walks because, like you, today she can.


  15. Thank you so much for coming by and sharing your Pink post. I am so thrilled at Lisa's recovery. My was not to radical, as mine was caught at stage one, and with 2 surgeries, and 6 weeks radiation, and pill therapy, I too am feeling great. Lisa was so so young... I'm 69, but had regular mammograms from age 40. My cancer was a wake up call for my three daughters....they will be more aggressive with check ups and mammograms.

    Please let Lisa know how much I appreciate her Avon Walk....my daughter is walking for me in Santa Barbara in September.

    Love and Hugs from another Cancer Survivor!
    Wanda from Brushstrokes.

  16. WOW! My Favorite TT!
    Good for you mom and your support of breast cancer awareness and Lisa..at 33 and pregnant... OH! So glad you beat that cancer.
    My mom beat cancer and three of her sisters...I walk and support the cause for them!

  17. To this day, when I read anything posted by Patti (my mom) I get emotional and think of how lucky I am. Lucky to have her, and lucky to have survived. That being said, I always think of myself as strong when it comes to cancer. I never thought for a minute that I wouldn't (excuse my 'french') kick its ass! It was just one of those things I had to go through to come out the other side.

    I think, perhaps it's because of the people around me, that I've always had to keep going and not think negative where this was concerned. I had to, for them. My three wonderful kids need their mom, just as I needed mine.

    Since diagnosis, I have always looked to the future. How can I make it better? How can I keep moving foward? I have changed so many things in my life. I gave forgiveness to those who asked, I help anyone I can. I do what I can to pay forward the kindness once bestowed on me by so many. I woke up, and became the person I think I was meant to be. Simply put, cancer saved my life.

    The Avon Walk is one of many ways I pay it forward. It is has become personal to me. Working to save a life of someone who is just like me, so they too can keep moving forward. And to have the support, emotionally, physically, and financially of so many wonderful people, I can't tell you how much that means to me.

    Thank you all for you support and encouragement! Especially you, Mom! I love you!

    (Patti's daughter)

  18. great post - inspiring and important. thnks or sharing lisa's story and jouney.

  19. This was a powerful post on the theme pink. Here's to a wonderful mother, daughter team. Thanks for inspiring me today.

  20. great post! I went through the [almost] similar thing in 2008! [I was not pregnant]... glad to be here sharing this :-)

  21. i have one grandmother who is a breast cancer survivor and one who didn't fare as well.

    great post. very powerful.

    lisa's story is incredible. i can't imagine going through cancer and being pregnant at the same time.

  22. Wonderful post all the way around...the photos, the cause, Lisa's story of triumph and all the comments. Powerful in pink!!

  23. Walk as one, in it to end it. I loved that. Very powerful. Thank you for sharing!
    Love/ Jo.

  24. Congratulations to your daughter on being a survivor and getting out there. Wonderful post!

  25. Thank you for doing this walk. I know more than one person with breast cancer or who has had breast cancer. They need your support. xxJ

  26. OH Patti . . I love the comments that your daughter left. Such a difficult thing go go through as a mother thinking that perhaps you might survive your daughter. Terrible. I lost a darling friend earlier this year to Breast Cancer .. she fought long and hard and survived longer than most but it wasn't to be. Great cause and wonderful that your Lisa survived. I hope all that dosh makes a difference.

  27. A true cancer warrior. I've lost 2 aunts to breast cancer and my mother is a survivor. It's so wonderful to have people out there who put aside their discomforts to make it to the end to make an end of breast cancer once and for all. God bless and keep you safe.

  28. Your daughter tells it like it is and she is a hero, no question. I doubt I'd have managed so well if I'd had he same diagnosis when I was pregnant. No I cannot imagine. Some people know how to communicate their experiences and pain effectively. She is one of them.

  29. Nice to see you,
    I love your informative and constructive ways in pink post.

  30. Patti - reading your post, with Lisa's story at the end choked me up a wee bit...

    Lisa - reading your comments actually drew out the tears. What a moving tale.

    I lost an aunt (on my mom's side) and a great aunt (on my dad's side) to breast cancer. I had my first mammogram last year at 36 due to that family history.

    Lisa, you are a *hero*. Not only for surviving, but for fighting back in a way that benefits everyone that (sadly) comes after you.

    Happy mother's day to you both.

  31. This was beautiful. Thank you for sharing it with me in your comment on my blog. My best friend was a five-time cancer survivor, including cancer of the breast. She chose not to fight the sixth time, and her faith was inspiring. So is your Lisa.

  32. What a wonderful moving story. My dear cousin Donna is a survivor too. You are all so brave and inspiring and I'm glad you're here to share your story with the rest of us.

  33. Glad I stopped by. A most worthy cause, indeed! This hit close to home, as well( one of my aunties was a survivor..twice! ) Takes a heckuva lotta courage to face this or any cancer, yes. Godspeed!

  34. A worthy and admirable cause and a nice post. It's a very pink post!:)

  35. My dearest Lisa,

    I am so humbled to know you.
    I had a scare too when I was due for surgery.
    Thank GOD it was nothing,
    as with all the problems I was having then,
    I just cannot imagine.

    I am not close to my own mother but extremely close to both my daughters.
    My eldest Jasmine is having a Nephrotic Syndrome relapse. There is no known cause or cure for her or other similar cases.

    I highly admire Patti and I would like to wish
    both of you ...
    I am just very happy for you to have a strong
    and supportive mother like Patti.
    I am so happy that I am here for my daughter too.

    You sound like an angel , but again, what can I expect from Patti, whom I truly admire.
    Take great care of each other.


  36. Update...

    The Avon Walk was this past weekend. I had the pleasure of sharing my walk with not only the 12 other women on my team, but about 3000 other men and women who were all there for the same cause. It is always a moving experience for me, and this year was no different.

    This year I am especially proud of my team. These 13 fabulous women raised over $28,000!!!

    Thanks to everyone for their support, both emotional and financial.


  37. You are an inspiration to so many Lisa...and I love the relationship between you and your mother, it's not hard to see that the apple does not fall far from the tree. I send you both lots of love always xxx

  38. Thank you so much, Buttercup. I wish I could say Mom and I were always this close. I am extrodinarily greatful for what I have with her now and hope (on a daily basis) that my daughter will one day pass through what Mom calls "the otherside" and we too can have this type of relationship.

    I truly could not have gotten where I am without her.

    I love you, Mom!



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