One of the last things my mom told me was "I beat cancer 4 out of 5 times. I think that's a winning record."
And while I've always admired her bravery, I can't help but think, "What if it had been Nancy Wood -1, Cancer -0?" What if her breast cancer had been knocked out permanently, instead of coming back as secondary, then metastasizing and spreading into her ovaries, stomach and bowel?
How many more years together would we have had? Would she have been there to see me marry the love of my life? Would she have had the chance to watch her eldest granddaughter grow into the amazingly talented young woman she is? Would she have been there for the birth of my son and seen herself in his goofy charm?
Honestly, I don't know. And I hate it. I hate that time was taken from all of us. I hate that there are women right now, going through the same things she went through. I hate that there are families worried about their mothers, wives and daughters.
But mostly? I hate that I've taken this long to act.
I don't have much to give beyond a decent set of legs and a stubborn streak a mile long (inherited from the amazing woman above ). So, on June 20th, 2016, I'll be setting out on a 400+ mile/8 day trek through Wales, England and Scotland, tackling the highest peaks in each country, as a fund raiser for Breast Cancer Now, the UK's largest breast cancer research foundation. It's going to be a hell of a challenge, but I WILL finish this run, I'll finish it for her, for my friends working through their own struggles, and for anyone else out there facing down breast cancer.
All I ask is that you give what you can, and help Breast Cancer Now even the odds.
Let's go kick some ass.
People ask me why I'm embarking on this journey with Mark. I am at high risk for Breast Cancer. Having a large number of cases on my mother's side, and finding my first lump at 23 - benign and glandular, was terrifying. Removal of my uterus and cervix 3 days after my 30th birthday for cysts and prevention due to my family history also breathes life into fear. So far, so good. But I've considered the genetic studies and preemptively cutting these bad boys off if the results turn up poorly. I don't even worry for me, but mostly for my kids, and my daughter especially. I've been given some athletic gifts (or plain insanity) in this life, and I'm gonna put them to good use.
So, I want to help my friend raise money in his mother's memory. I want to help Breast Cancer Now develop a CURE. So I run to support my friend, and to honor those friends (and people we've never met) that have faced this struggle. Frankly, I want to give cancer the finger on each peak, and scream EFF cancer into the world. Please help us do this, contribute what little or lot you can...it goes a long way (like us). Lend moral support or some goodhearted heckling. Send us a name to journey with us, give us those names to dedicate each mile to daily. And share this page, please.
Now I better actually get running. Crap.