October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and if this disease doesn’t bring a shiver down your spine, consider yourself lucky. It does not discriminate against who it effects. There is little known about what causes it and roughly 12% of women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer during their lifetime.
On Sunday, I joined 40,000 people at the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Boston event, which raised over $2 million. We walked to remember those that we’ve lost, raise awareness and support fundraising. The money raised goes towards saving lives and being there for those touched by this disease through research, patient aid and awareness.
I raised money for Breast Cancer when I ran the Chicago Marathon back in 2014. It’s hard to put into words my feelings towards the disease. It scares the hell out of me and yet the survivors that I’ve met are the most determined, courageous and inspiring people. They opened my eyes to the effects this disease will have on the rest of their lives moving forward. From freezing their eggs at first diagnosis, to flying with compression sleeves even in remission, and the constant worry that it might come back, breast cancer is not just a pink ribbon for those who know it well.
My friend Emily and her daughter Chase joined Tommy and I for the damp 5 mile walk along the Charles River. One of our best friends in High School lost her mom to breast cancer our senior year. I shared Faryn’s story on my blog a few years ago. Another friend of ours is also currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer. She is just 32 years young and the most talented writer and photographer. I highly recommend checking out her blog. How it hasn’t gone viral yet amazes me.
As we began our walk at the Esplanade, the cheer squads were out in full force.
Tommy was having a great time looking at everybody. All the walkers passing by would smile at him and of course he would flash his two bottom teeth right back. Then he fell asleep right on schedule. I didn’t realize how many cheer squads would be lining the course. Each time we walked by screaming volunteers, I’d clench my teeth and hope Tommy wouldn’t wake up. Luckily, he didn’t until the very end.
Lesson learned, don’t expect your baby to nap during a charity walk.
The walk followed along one of my many running routes. It was like deja vu seeing runners trying to squeeze by all the walkers on the narrow paths.
We lucked out and the weather was a perfect, low 60’s and dry. At the finish line, we were greeted by cute college boys celebrating the completion of our walk.
The finish line party featured entertainment from survivor dance troupes, singing and more. It was a beautiful day to celebrate the brave survivors and remember those that we’ve lost.
Making Strides is a national event taking place in cities all over the country this month. They encourage registration and participation. There are no entry fees and all fundraising goals are self made. This makes it easy to join and walk together with survivors, fighters, friends and family.
Interested in other ways to honor Breast Cancer Awareness month? Here are a few of my favorites. If you know someone who is going through treatment, offer to give them a ride to or from hospital appointments, make them dinner or watch their kids during treatment. If you don’t know anyone, consider yourself lucky and take the time to learn how to screen yourself for early detection.
This post was written in partnership and sponsored by the American Cancer Society. The views and opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not necessarily represent the official policy or position of the American Cancer Society.