This past weekend was a double header – 5k on Saturday and 5k on Sunday. So gear up for a couple posts in a row!
Saturday’s race was a special one – my mom and I participated in the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure 5k in Washington, DC. This was a big deal. Not only were we a part of a “Power Team” that raised over $12,000, we were part of a two person team that has been battling breast cancer off and on for the last 4 years.
My mom’s personal story is just that – personal to her. But, I can say we have tackled her first breast cancer diagnosis in 2008 and second in 2012 together. The first diagnosis was terrifying – no known history of breast cancer in the family, and she had just turned 50. Pretty darn young. We took a conservative approach, went with a lumpectomy and radiation… about 6 months of doctors, surgery and treatment before it was all behind us. And that’s where we left it.
Until January of this year. A regular mammogram found a reoccurance – same thing and same place. Totally sucked. We didn’t have a choice this time around and went for a mastectomy. The last 5 months have included doctor’s appointments, biopsies, waiting for results, surgeries, waiting for results, recovery and reconstruction. It has been a long road and we aren’t quite done. She will have one last surgery to finalize the reconstruction later this summer – so until then, we’re still on the road.
But, at least the road is cancer-free! And my mom is a two-time survivor – extra pink for her!
Saturday’s 5k was the first time we participated in a breast cancer event – I guess we figure we can’t ignore it any longer! The morning kicked off on the National Mall with gorgeous skies and perfect weather.
Mom and I checked out the survivor tent – it was a swarm of PINK! Hats and boas and pom-poms all around. We heard stories of the survivor of the year and the co-survivor of the year – who have been instrumental in raising awareness and funds for breast cancer research. The co-survivor was a man who had lost his sister at a young age to the disease and had promised her to continue her fight. Here I am fighting back tears at 6:45am!
Then, mom waived her pink flag high and proud during the Parade of Pink celebration, where all survivors were invited on risers by the main stage during a vocal performance. It was truly a celebration!
After collecting breakfast, the pink goodie bag and participating in the Parade of Pink, we went to find our team – In Motion for a Cure. Both fortunately and unfortunately, my mom has a number of girlfriends who have also had breast cancer. One of those women helped form the team and did a fantastic job at organizing us all, in the midst of 30,000+ people at the event!
We all gathered around for a team pic before taking off for the starting line. We we’re walking that bad boy! Who knew how long it took to walk 3.1 miles! Shoot – we got to mile 2 and I was like… whhaaa? Another mile! Thank god I am able to run!
After about an hour of walking (my legs were getting tired!) we made it to the finish line – together.
It was a morning full of positive celebrations and truly humbling to see all of those folks out together walking to fight breast cancer. I was so glad to spend the morning with my mom surrounded by people who are all in it together. Sometimes it is nice to know it’s not just the two of us against the world, but that we’ve got an army walking with us.