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Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Breast Thing I Ever Did

I have been wanting to post for a couple weeks about the Race for the Cure I did with Christy, Kim, and Shell. It's been hard to nail down exactly what I wanted to say and what I wanted you to take away from my experience. If I could just hook up some wires and sensors to my heart, you'd know everything. I'm pretty sure that sort of wackiness is not far off. Trust me, people I used to work with are testing and using such a device as we speak (if you clicked on the link you'll note that the logo looks oddly like the Police's Ghost in the Machine album cover).

The Race for the Cure was amazing, even if it meant getting up and out the door before my children. Oh, and we added a mile to our route because we had to park so far away. Well worth it for my thighs and glutes. We were running late (because of said added mile) and saw an amazing scene unfold before us. 25,000 women lined up, clad in pink, ready to roll. A sea of women with a shared cause. Must be similar to the Filene's Basement wedding gown sale. As we approached the mass of racers, some runners from the earlier race were crossing the finish line to a whole lot of whopping and hollering. I'm talking arms flailing in the air, rock star screaming mania. Contagious. It totally pumped us up to get started.

Women all around sported names of breast cancers victims and survivors whom they honored. I ran in celebration of Team Why Mommy from Toddler Planet, though you can't read it on my sign in the photo. I've shared one her posts here before. Other women wore signs that said, "I'm running for mom, my hero." Overwhelming heart swells. Others wore signs that said, "I'm running for me. Survivor." Still others scribbled names on their shirts...Helen, Elizabeth, Adrienne, Johanna, Meg, Lori, Kaitlin. I don't know those women but I ran for them too.

We ran through a lovely old neighborhood with a canopy of trees and homes with front porches galore. It seemed the whole neighborhood came out to support us. Signs emblazoned on porches. Pink ribbons tied to trees. Sidewalk chalk messages of encouragement. Even the neighborhood kids banded together to squirt us with mega super soakers as we ran by. Other people hooked up fancy flower misters and sprinklers to offer a bit of relief from the heat. Some simply sprayed us with a garden hose. A welcome spot of H2O.

The best site on the route was a well-kept old gingerbread house with a rocking chair front porch. Indeed there was a rocking chair. A gray haired grandmotherly type sat there alone, rocking to and fro with a winsome smile on her face. Occasionally she lifted a hand to wave. A giant banner on her porch read "27 Year Breast Cancer Survivor. Age 88." Blow. Me. Away.

The camaraderie among the racers was unlike anything I've experienced. Smiles, high fives, chants of encouragement, and laughter were easily shared. We chose to make light of an otherwise heavy situation. Everyone there had a breast cancer story to share. Some with happy endings, some with sad endings, some with a pending ending. The deep, deep sisterhood of survivors was palpable. A sorority to which I hope to never be inducted. What floored me was the wide range of women in the survivors' tent. Clearly, breast cancer does not discriminate among the rich and poor, brown and white, old and young, large and small, tall and short. We saw women younger than us, women wearing traditional Arab attire, women with young children, women with multiple generations running side by side. I don't normally see such a diverse crowd in my everyday life. I couldn't help but think "This could be me" at every turn.

There were some pretty funny T-shirts that race teams created. My favorite was a group of firemen. Their shirt had a hottie fireman in all his gear on the front. The slogan said, "Firemen protecting second base." Hardy har har har. That makes me crack up every time. Second base! That's funny stuff! Next year we're putting together a bigger team so let me know if you want to join us. We have a year to come up with something clever for our shirts. Put your thinking caps on!

Bird and Deal were particularly interested in the race. I didn't explain the ins and outs of cancer. I simply told them I was racing to raise money for sick women. They were pretty proud of their mom and took turns trying on my race number. They really wanted to see me burst through the finish line ribbon. I had to explain that the ribbon is only there for the first person to cross the line, not # 24,374.

So each year on the boys' birthdays we take the money in their piggy banks and put half in savings and donate half. We let the boys choose their cause (Mac Daddy and I chose for them based on something significant in our family when they were itty bitty.). For instance, we gave to the Humane Society when Bird was one because his first word was "dog."

I guess my small part in the Race for the Cure had a big impact on Deal. He chose to donate his piggy bank proceeds to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation this year. As he put it, "I want to give money to the mommies you raced for."
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9 comments:

Mayberry said...

Wow, I LOVE the porch lady! That'll be my mom someday.

Caroline said...

A huge pink high five to you. Congrats on taking part in such an important event! ...protecting second base, I'm still laughing here too.

Lisa said...

Congrats on a great run! I'm training for the Breast Cancer 3 Day in September. 3 Days -60 miles. My team, Hakuna Ma TA TA's has raised over $22,000 so far for Susan G. Komen to fight this horrible disease. We did a 13 mile walk on Saturday - our first with other teams and got a taste of what it will be like to walk with over 4,000 people in september. Kudos to you for instiling a sense of charity in your boys and supporting the cause. Together, we can do it!

gphd said...

Thank you so much for taking part in this!! It is a wonderful cause!

ilinap said...

Lisa, LOVE your team name! Hakuna Matata is going to be the name of the beach house that I don't own. Now you've given it an even better spin! Good luck on the walk. Maybe you'd like to guest post your experience here?

The Over-Thinker said...

YAY you and all the other wonderful participants. Such a wonderful cause. I get shivers just thinking of the selflessness that's poured into this event.

And hubba hubba---goodness you're gorgeous!

Lisa's team name gave me a good snort--so perfect!

Whymommy said...

Wow. I'm overwhelmed.

Thank you for this.

The Over-Thinker said...

I can't believe I forgot to tell you how much I love the title of this post.

Shannon said...

Congrats - that is just so awesome!! I'm so impressed to about the piggy bank donations . . . what wonderful kids you have to do that! I run the same race, it is held each September here in Canada. It really is a truly amazing feeling, to participate, to see and to experience it all.