Today was the NYC Susan G. Komen Race For the Cure. It’s a 3.1 mile run/walk that raises money towards finding a cure for breast cancer. A big thanks to all the members of Team Keeping Our Boobs (cousins and friends are THE BEST!) and everyone who so generously donated to our team. Love to JAM Team whom we stand side by side with on this journey. My world has been touched by breast cancer more times than I care to count and I’ve found great solace in participating in this race for about 14 years now.
Every time I participate in this very special run, I am touched by the amount of survivors who come out. Old, young, bald, recently diagnosed, long-time survivors, they’re all there. I am struck, though, by how many more people I see running for their sisters, moms, aunts, friends, grandmothers. I don’t remember there being so many.
This year, as I ran through Central Park past the survivors who started their race before the rest of us, I realized one important thing about survivors: fighting isn’t enough. You have to want to fight. These women were out there walking for themselves because they want to fight, to beat this disease and move on with their lives. It’s inspiring.
When I watched my loved ones fight (the same damned cancer twice for one of them) and make the decision to go ahead with chemotherapy and radiation (AGAIN), I realized that they wanted to fight. And fight they did. But they could have just as easily said, “You know what, I’m done” and not gone ahead with any treatment. Or, they could have said, “Whatever, I guess I’ll do treatment, but my heart really isn’t in it, poor me” and suffered more than was necessary (and maybe gotten sicker) during treatment. But they made the choice to fight and that was it. And that is what made the difference.
So, I take my hat off to you survivors out there and your desire to fight like hell against immeasurable odds, knowingly surrendering yourself to torture and making it through to the other side with grace and strength. I am in awe of you. All of you. We also remember with love and admiration the ones who fought like hell til the end. We miss you.
And to you who are in the midst of a new diagnosis (or that of a loved one): You have a choice. Fight. Fight like hell.
Now go out and run!