… to bring you something completely different.
I’d like to introduce y’all to my friend Julie. I’ve known Julie for… hmmm. About 9 years, I’d say. We met on an infertility support board before there were resources like that on every internet street corner, like there are now. Back then, there weren’t a lot of places like that to hang out. We were a small, fairly tight-knit group, and although I joke about my friends inside the shiny box, Julie has truly become one of my dearest friends over the years. Friendships born in times of adversity are all the sweeter when life gets better, and that much stronger when times get tough again.
Julie’s son is just a few months younger than Chickadee, and has an affinity for vacuuming in the nude. (I know this because I’ve seen pictures.) Somewhere on Julie’s harddrive is a picture of the time Chickadee unrolled the entire roll of toilet paper while she was sitting on the pot, and then while she struggled to decide what to do with that enormous wad of paper, her butt fell in the toilet. (That’s a good blackmail picture, too.)
This summer Julie was diagnosed with breast cancer, and I’m still angry.
I’m angry because she doesn’t deserve this. I’m angry because it’s not fair; because she has enough to deal with; because her son deserves a mother who is healthy; because after all she fought through to get to him, she deserves to enjoy him without worry. I’m angry because chemotherapy is poison. I’m angry because I (gently) made fun of her very 80’s hairdo for a looooong time and she’d finally cut her hair short and sassy and modern and gorgeous, and then it all fell out. I’m angry because I live too far away and there’s too little I can do. I’m angry because when she found the lump and was scared I told her that it was probably nothing and she should try to enjoy her weekend.
I’m angry because she’s my age. I’m angry because it could just as easily be me. I’m angry because more and more young women I know have had to face this. I’m angry because when this happened I panicked, because the phrase “it’s probably nothing” will haunt me for a long, long time.
I’m tired of being angry. I’m tired of feeling helpless.
A few weeks ago, I saw a commercial for this on television. I spent some time thinking about whether I could possibly manage such a thing. I’m not in very good shape. I spend most of each day sitting at a desk. I don’t particularly enjoy exercising. My idea of a workout is digging into the back of the freezer for more ice cream.
After about a week, I asked a friend of mine if she might want to consider doing the 3-Day with me. We talked about what it would entail; we downloaded the sample training program from the website and tried to calculate how many hours we’d have to spend working out to get ready. We spent some time talking about whether or not we could each afford the $90 registration fee and whether we thought we could each raise the minimum $2,200 to participate.
We were still undecided when I had my own little breast adventure about a week later, and the first thing I did after I saw the doctor was come home and register for the walk.
Why? I don’t believe in a God who micromanages, but I do believe in messages and sometimes little nudges arriving in interesting ways. I think I was being nudged.
So that’s the background. Here are the particulars: This August, I will be walking 60 miles over 3 days to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. I’m doing this in Julie’s honor, but really I’m doing it for all of us. I’m doing it because I can. I’m doing it because breast cancer sucks. And because I don’t want to sit around being angry and doing nothing.
Over the next 6 months or so I will periodically update on my training and fundraising progress. As I mentioned, to participate a walker has to commit to raising at least $2,200. I’ve set my fundraising goal at $5,000 because I’m a little bit nuts and also because this really matters. I cannot tell you how exhilarating it was to raise over $500 in less than a week. What a wonderful confirmation that I made the right choice.
If you feel moved to donate, you can visit my secure page on the 3-Day site and do it right online, there. If you’d rather not do it online, there’s a form you can print out. IF YOU WORK FOR A COMPANY THAT DOES MATCHING CHARITABLE DONATIONS, please please PLEASE consider donating even just a few dollars and then having your company match it (as your dollars will go twice as far).
I’m doing what I can do. And TRUST ME, I will be doing it kicking and screaming all the way. (I have already called up my walk buddy twice this past week to say, “Wait now… what? I signed up to do WHAT?”) But for me, it feels right. And I hope that some of you–more of my friends inside the shiny box–will help, too. I thank you. Julie thanks you. And your daughters and sisters and mothers thank you.
I think it’s going to be an amazing journey.