Wednesday, August 22, 2012

3 Days

I've been trying for months to write about the amazing journey I will be embarking on October 12-14 in memory of my good friend, Chrissy Chadwick.  Today I finally decided that I just needed to start typing - before it was too late. For that reason I'm sure this won't be my most poetic post and I know it won't do Chrissy justice, but you know me, Chrissy, did you really expect I wouldn't procrastinate?

The Susan G. Komen 3-Day is a 60-mile walk that takes place over the course of three days. The race takes place in on different weekends in 14 different cities through the U.S. I will be walking in Washington, D.C. in October.

I've heard that the emotional aspects of the walk are as difficult as the physical. I can't say I know how to prepare for that, or if I'm even ready to confront those emotions yet, but I'm going to because I feel so strongly about the importance of investing in breast cancer research and community programs after watching what Chrissy and her family went through. 

This the first time I've done this walk, though I can't help but wonder if maybe, just maybe, I'd had raised the mandatory $2300 a few years ago I'd be doing this walk "In Honor of..." instead of "In Memory of..."

I'll be honest, when Chrissy received her initial diagnosis it never crossed my mind that she might not beat it.  This was CHRISSY, after all.  Sure, she barely reached 5 feet tall, but every inch of that girl was full of fire. Nothing or nobody beat Chrissy.  Just ask the guys in the greased watermelon contest - or on the volleyball court - or the Sweet Adelines competition - or her running partners - or her kids...Cancer had picked the wrong girl to mess with.  

So when the first six months of chemo, surgeries, sickness, emotions and everything else that comes with the disease ended I really believed her battle was over. I believed that up until the day she died. She did, too. 

Chrissy was the definition of strength. There wasn't a sport she couldn't play - a race she couldn't run - a challenge she couldn't face.  She was the type of person that did everything & anything and somehow had time left to embroider it all neatly on a pillow she'd sown by hand.  If there was something that needed to be done she did it, often without saying a word about it - she just did it.  I've always wanted to be more like that.

This time it's my turn to get the job done.  But I can't be quite about it. I need  to tell anyone and everyone about what I am doing because while I can't bring Chrissy back, I can help ensure that someone else doesn't have to endure what she and her family did.  I'm walking these miles in her memory, but also in celebration of the person she was and for the people who will beat this disease in the future. For her kids - so they know that while losing their mom was heart-breaking and unfair it was not in vain, as something good just has to come out of this.

This spring several of Chrissy's girlfriends got tattoos in her honor and memory (she had wanted one).  This is mine (sorry, only photo I have was taken immediately after getting it done).  I chose the symbol for strength to remind me not only of who Chrissy was but also to reminder myself that I, too, am strong and that it's my job to continue to fight.  I know she will be with me the entire 3 days of this walk (probably coming up with strategies on how I could improve my time...) and she will share her strength with me just like she always did when she was here. 

Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk requires each participant to raise a minimum of $2300 for the cause. Though my dad may disagree, I've never been good at asking for money (which has  hindered my work in non-profit and sales just a bit!) so I'm just going to put it out there now. If you feel compelled I would be grateful for your your support as I take this amazing journey in the fight to end breast cancer - any amount is appreciated.  

(BTW, you can read more about Chrissy here and here). 


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