I have friends who live with cancer, and some who have not survived that journey. I originally joined the Walk to show my support for my friend and godmother, whose breast cancer had recurred . I felt so helpless at her news, so unable to do anything that would mean much to her. Then I hit on the idea of walking, and soon I was receiving donations from many people in her circle of friends. We both found encouragement and excitement as the donor dollars increased, and as friends far and wide contributed to support us. That year, Peggy walked across the finish line with me, and the symbolism and happiness of that moment is something I will treasure always.
Research and treatment advances in breast cancer have informed treatments for other cancers, too, and when I walk, I remember a dear friend whose life was cut short by pancreatic cancer. This year, I’m thinking too of my father, whose bout with a rare cancer nearly killed him, but who now appears to be on a path to cancer-free recovery.
I am walking for the women and families I don’t know, too, the ones who go through the draining treatment protocols of radiation and chemotherapy and surgery, who endure each day with hope and confidence that they will recover; as one of my friends, a survivor, put it: The disease claimed me, but I did not claim it. For all the women laying claim to the future—and for my daughters and theirs, who are part of it—I walk. My 39-mile journey, which will feature all kinds of snacks and entertainment and cheering along the way, is short in comparison.