I am a survivor. Not only once, not twice, but three times. I was only the 34 the first time I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My children were young. My son was 12, my daughter 6. We had no health insurance. My husband was working freelance, as was I. We simply couldn’t afford it. We were young and didn’t ever think of cancer as something we’d have to deal with. But there it was. The disease is difficult as it is. Add in young children, the fear of the financial aspect of it and feeling a burden on the family(they wouldn’t even admit me to the hospital for surgery until we put $2K down on the credit card) – that’s because I didn’t want to go to the county hospital. And a few years prior we had adopted our son whose bio mom had died of cancer – imagine how he was feeling. Emotional and scary stuff.
The second and third diagnoses – breast cancer and colon cancer – was 19 years later. My children had grown, and I had moved on to another job where insurance was provided. My “pre-existing condition” was far enough in the past. I was diagnosed after my first colonoscopy….and while recuperating from surgery went for my annual mammogram. The very day I went back to work I got the call that I needed to come in for a biopsy. The found cancer again. The following week we scheduled the mastectomy and reconstruction. It was still scary, and stressful, but only this time I had insurance. And just having that made it so much easier to bear. It was easier to breathe, easier to heal.
After my first 5 years of being cancer free, I celebrated by walking in the first Avon Walk. This was back in ’98 when it was a 3 day. We walked from Santa Barbara to Malibu a fundraiser for breast cancer. The following year, I did it again….and again. I took a break from fundraising for a little while..and for a few years I worked on the crew. But this year I’ll be walking again. It’s my 12th year participating. I can’t stop walking.
In September, I’ll be walking 39.3 miles…again in the Avon 39 Walk for Breast Cancer. I do this because the money raised helps those who have been diagnosed and have no insurance (just like me back then), or have no access to mammography. It puts food on the tables of underprivileged cancer patients and their family, and it funds the necessary research to advance ourselves toward a cure.
Each of us who walks has committed to raising $1800. I started my fundraising 2 days ago with my Avon 39 fundraising page. Please check it out and read who I’ll be walking for. I hope you’ll consider partnering with me. Any amount is truly appreciated and if you have been touched by cancer, send me the name of your loved one and I will carry them with me every step of the way.
This year’s 39.3 mile journey began for me back in 1993 when I was first diagnosed. I have been blessed with a full life, with children and now grandchildren. I’m walking in memory of those who have lost that battle; in honor of those who are battling ALL CANCERS; and in celebration of those who have survived. Walk with me!