Pink hats, pink ribbons, pink tights, pink shoes, pink tutus, even a pair of pink, furry leg-warmers were donned by one race official. The ubiquitous color of breast cancer awareness was everywhere. And smiles, smiles on survivors, on fighters, on family, on friends, and on spectators. Some people walked, some people ran, and some people raced; everyone hoping to find the cure.
The Susan G. Komen “Save a Sister” race is dear to my heart. My mother was one of the 1 in 8 women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. I was sitting in a parking lot just about to head into the grocery store when my mom called me to tell me. The words “I have breast cancer” had a kind of slow motion, palpable effect, it was as if a tectonic plate in my world had just shifted. I was stunned and shocked and heartsick. About a month prior to this news, my mom had detected a lump but because of it’s position, which was nearer to her armpit, she doubted it was anything to worry about. But when it began to cause her pain a few weeks later, she finally mentioned it to my Dad who took quick action. Thankfully my mom’s cancer was treatable. Her doctors called it the best case of a worse case scenario. She had surgery to have the lump removed, the cancer had not spread, and she was able to complete her radiation successfully.
I thought of my mom while I ran those 6 miles yesterday. I thought of her modesty and subsequent embarrassment in the many doctor’s visits. I thought of her having to explain to her third grade class why she would be leaving early every Friday from school for a while. I thought of the fears and pain associated with surgery, I thought of her tears, and I ran harder. Then I thought of her courage, her bravery, her resolve, and I ran even harder. There is a strength in women that is unmatched and unparalleled, I saw it on my own mother’s face and on so many faces yesterday. It is awe-inspiring. We support the fighters, we admire the survivors, we honor the taken, and we never give up hope. We run on for our mothers, daughters, sisters and friends.
Early detection is the best hope for a cure, and these are the most common signs of breast cancer: