Sunday, October 3, 2010

Race

My last post oozed frustration--frustration because few people have heard of sarcoma, because sarcoma is under-funded and under-researched; because almost no FDA-approved drugs exist to fight it; because drug companies don't want to spend money to develop treatments for a life-threatening disease that relatively few people get, but they are willing to spend millions to develop a new cold medicine; because sarcoma kills; because sarcoma kills children and young adults; because sarcoma killed Jillian; because sarcoma killed Maura; because I miss my daughter.

Yesterday, however, I discovered a partial antidote to that frustration: the 5K race/run/walk.

Joel and I signed up for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure...just the walking event...no big deal...5k, a mere 3.1 miles. Preparation? I took some Advil for my bum hip and my bum ankle and I wore my hiking boots to stabilize my ankle. That's all.
Appropriately enough, we joined a team led by a young, energetic woman who lost a limb to sarcoma. Also part of the team of about 30 were my co-worker, Erika, and her sister, who is about 33 and is fighting breast cancer.
About 35,000 people showed up early in the morning to take part in the competitive run, the non-competitive run, or the walk, which was blessed with efficient organization and perfect weather.
On our backs, we had pinned the In memory of... cards with Maura's name. Almost everyone's back had some declaration in honor of someone. Breast cancer survivors wore special shirts and caps. We walked in relative silence, my only discomfort, apart from the normal pain in hip and ankle, being the somewhat claustrophobic feeling of walking with such a huge crowd, people pressed close to me for the first mile or so, after which the distance between one small group and another opened up.
The last kilometer, spectators lines the streets clapping and cheering us on. Emotions welled up and I cried for Maura. Just before the finish line, maybe 50 yards or so, breast cancer survivors walked or ran down a designated Survivors' Path, lined in pink, with supporters, four-deep, cheering and crying. It was all quite beautiful. And powerful. I think that the 34,998 other participants felt the same.
Joel and I agreed we would participate in as many cancer walks as we could, regardless of the cancer.
Maybe create one in Huntsville to raise awareness and funds for sarcoma research?

The night before the race, we were at the book signing and able to meet Nancy Brinker, an amazingly brilliant and focused woman, who has truly given her life to the eradication of breast cancer. The second half of her book tells us of the formation of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. It could be sub-titled How to Get Something Done and serve as a textbook for entrepreneurs.

What a weekend!

1 comment:

Laci said...

I think a walk for Sarcoma would be great!!!!!I went to High school with Maura. If you do a walk please let me know, I work for one of the largest multi-specialty medical clinics in Montgomery county and I can see what i can do about getting the company to help sponsor the walk somehow.

God Bless