Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Why I Keep Fighting

Five years ago by body was attacked, and I waged war with everything my doctors could give me to rid my body of cancer.  After three months of chemo and 3 weeks of radiation treatments, I won that battle.  And I kept fighting.  I keep fighting because progress is being made every year with new treatments.  In my relatively short lifetime, the type of cancer I had has gone from a terminal disease to having one of the highest cure rates among cancers.  That's worth fighting for!

While I have won back my health, my fight against cancer continues for those who are fighting for their health.  For friends who have been diagnosed with cancer, and those unknown to me who have had a portion of their life shattered by cancer.  I continue so that my daughter, my nieces and my nephews may see more curable cancers in their lifetime.

I have walked a marathon to raise awareness and funds for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, I have participated in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life as a Survivor, as a Participant, as a Team Captain and as a Committee Member.  I have grown and cut my hair a number of times to donate towards wigs for women who have lost their hair in their fight against cancer.

showhopeThis past weekend involved a lot of fighting.  On Friday and Saturday was our local Relay for Life.  For those of you not familiar with the event, it is an all night walking event and teams come together to raise money and spend the night walking.  This year I was on the committee so I did a lot of walking, just not on the track.  I helped set-up, break down and everything in between.  While I worked behind the scenes (where I tend to work best) there were 30 teams who had raised money and were walking and having a great time.  We wanted to raise $85,000.  At the end of the event, our staff coordinator announced that our small town Relay had raised $98,500 and she expected the final to come in over $100,000.  While this is nothing to shake a stick at, in order to fully appreciate the magnitude of this accomplishment by our teams, you have to realize that in this area of New York, we reported a 10.6% unemployment rate in February of 2010.  In the perspective of the current economics in our area, I am amazed and so grateful for all the hard work of these teams, individuals and our committee to make this happen.

haircut'Following Relay, I headed for a Hair to Share event in memory of a local teacher who had lost her fight with cancer.  My hair had been living comfortably in a braid between washings for about four weeks.  It had grown too heavy to pony-tail and it was definitely time to cut it off.  So I did.  And so did my friend Margery.  About 9 inches of my hair was cut to send off to the Beautiful Lengths program.  I have seen the wigs that have come back to our community through this program and was so glad to help.

Most people don’t have to go outside their circle of friends or family to see lives that have been affected by cancer.  Take a stand.  Join with those who are fighting for their health and fight along side them.  Check out the links in this post to learn more about programs you can get involved with.

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