I walk because …….. When I was a little girl I remember when someone
got cancer it was a death sentence. I remember grown ups in my life whispering
things like “It’s cancer” or “Oh ……cancer”.
I never understood what that meant or why they were so sad. The first few people
I knew who got cancer were distant relatives, people I really didn’t really
see on a regular basis. I saw the sadness in eyes of the grown ups as they talked
at funerals and learned to understand this was serious. I walk because this is
a serious disease.
During my second year of college my dog, Lucky was diagnosed
with bone cancer and my sister and I were left with the hard
decision of extensive treatments or putting our dog to sleep.
Lucky made the decision for us and died peacefully at the vet.
I walk because this is a hard disease.
My last year of college my grandpa, Bud was diagnosed with
cancer and given only months to live. He died within just a
few months. I watched this man I had known all my life to be
lively, loud, and goofy with us grandkids become sick, skinny,
and unable to care for himself. I painfully watched as my dad
mourned the loss of his father. I walk because this is a painful
stayed away from me for a while then. It was around though,
still changing the lives of people all over the world.
started walking the Relay for Life in 2004 when two of my
co-workers were diagnosed with cancer in the same school
year. You see, I am a teacher and
some say we have a special place in heaven waiting for us. Cancer didn’t
care about that. My mentor and partner teacher for the first 6 years of my
teaching career, Mary Riehle was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer in the
spring and had to leave the school year early. I watched and prayed with her
students and tried to help comfort 6 and 7 year olds about this unfair disease.
Mary continues to fight cancer after over 6 years of treatments, recovery,
and reoccurrences. I walk because this is an unfair disease.
Shortly after the school year ended another teacher, Grace
Schrantz who had recently retired was diagnosed with brain
cancer. She fought the battle for longer then the doctors expected.
She was stubborn and knew she had things to finish here. Sadly
though Grace died after the cancer came back. I walk because
this is a stubborn disease.
I recently watched
my best friend, my sister Kim put her young dog to sleep
because he was diagnosed with cancer and in pain,
not eating and unable to get up. Funny how it doesn’t
matter whether it’s a human or a pet, cancer hurts no
matter what. I walk because cancer hurts.
Another retired teacher from my school, Joannie Hauri was
diagnosed with breast cancer. She had recently gotten a clean
bill of health from her doctor when she found her lump. She
encourages people to have an awareness of their own bodies
and to get things checked out. I walk because we need to help
spread an awareness to as many people as we can.
In 2007 we were
surprised to learn that my cousin Trish was diagnosed with
metastic squamus cell carcinoma 3. Cancer! Trish
and I are only 9 months apart and as kids we were well…..
there is no nice way to say it we were the family bullies.
We teased and tormented our other cousins at every chance.
How can someone my age get cancer? Trish is a single mom of
three kids, she was WAY to young to be dealing with such a
disease. I am happy to say she is cancer free! I walk because
cancer surprises you and has no age limits.
In the fall of 2008 cancer hit close to home. My mom was diagnosed
with stage 2 breast cancer. I have watched the strongest woman
I know battle this serious, hard, painful, unfair, stubborn
disease with the best attitude and outlook on life that I can
imagine. It hurt as I sat helpless while her hair fell out,
her fingernails fell off, her skin turned red and polka dotted
as she called it, she lost weight and became easily fatigued.
I worked up courage to tell my 3 and 5 year olds that Grandma
had cancer and we needed to pray for her lots. I cried myself
to sleep the night before her double mastectomy, worrying not
only for her but my dad who once again was watching someone
close to him get broken down by this disease. I gleamed with
pride as she dressed up funny each week of chemo just to surprise
the nurses, as she looked through hat and wig catalogs with
my daughters who helped Gram pick fashionable new head attire,
and as she worried about my stress level during conference
and report card time. I laughed when she spray-painted a wig
bright pink to wear at relay last year.
This year I walk for my mom. I couldn’t be prouder
of her as she battles this serious, hard, painful, unfair,
stubborn disease. I work to raise money to help research
so cancer cannot continue to hurt. I have an awareness of
the need to help. Start asking around you’ll be surprised
how many people have or know someone fighting cancer.
Thanks for your time and support!