At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. ~ Albert Schweitzer
My Mom has participated in the “Race for the cure” in Palm Beach, Florida for at least the last 12 years. Her sister (my aunt) died of breast cancer about that long ago, so there is a deeper connection she has to the cause. This past January 20th, I felt an unusual compulsion to walk in it for the first time. From the minute my alarm clock went off to the moment we arrived at the site and got my t-shirt, my heart was pumping with a positive excitement to get involved in a great cause.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. Thousands of men, women and children of all ages were participating in this incredible event to walk in support of finding a cure for breast cancer. From survivors to relatives of survivors, they all made themselves known with pink signs posted on their backs. It was incredibly moving and I now understood why my mother always looked forward to doing it.
The jazzercise women on stage warmed the atmosphere up and got us all going. Many teams were cheering proudly, dogs walking and a spirit filled the air that was electric! It was hard not to notice the pink signs that were pinned on the back of shirts which said: “In Celebration for…” or “In Memory of…” Some people had one or multiple names, and many signs said “In Celebration of ME”. How great is that!
When we got back from our walk mid-morning, thousands were assembled near the stage. It all leads to this moment. Ten o’clock… the time when the emotions are brought full circle and the reason we are all here.
Nancy Brinker, the founder of the Komen Foundation spoke eloquently to us about how far they have come with relentless research after 25 years. It was incredibly moving to hear her story of why she started it all for her loving sister that died of breast cancer, to her unwavering cause and determination to help others. She introduced the next segment and it was nothing short of an awakening.
The Survivors Celebration had an amazing power that could make the strongest men cry and strangers hug. The pink caps and pink shirts scattered throughout the crowd now began to come forward. I had no idea what my emotions were in for next, and then I understood. Through the cheering crowd, they were given an open passage to walk through and towards the stage. As many as could fit, walked up the steps.
They just keep on coming, hundreds upon hundreds… so many survivors! As my eyes were filled with cheerful tears, my mother leaned to me and said, “it’s truly amazing how many more survivors there are now, compared to when I first started walking.”
A week later, while in the Doctor’s office with my mother… she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
January 2010 will be my forth year walking in Race for the Cure with Mom, and Mom’s third year of being cancer free. My attitude of gratitude multiplied after my first experience walking in the event, surrounded by a powerful energy called, “life”.
Our day to day worries, struggles and complaints truly mean nothing in the big picture of life. There is always another way to look at a situation. Mom and I did that before her first radiation after her lumpectomy. Although I had to be in California while she started her treatment, we spoke every day.
Just before her first appointment our conversation went like this,
“Hi Honey, how is California”. “It’s great Mom… you ready for your first… VITAMIN THERAPY?” She didn’t miss a beat, and played right along with me… “Why yes I am!” And from that conversation on her radiation became known as her “Vitamin Therapy”. Call it the placebo effect or just a better way to look at a situation.
It is a choice to have an attitude of gratitude, to see the sky mostly sunny and the glass half full. Life is a choice. And it’s all good! In our lifetime we will see a cure. Imagine a conversation one day like this…
“Hi honey, how’s everything?”
“Oh hi, Mom… everything’s great. I just woke up with this silly little breast cancer this morning. I’ll get those vitamins for it later.”
“Okay dear, glad to hear you’re doing well. Speak to you soon. Love you.”
“Love you too Mom!”
In Our Lifetime!
Keep the Faith, hope and gratitude for life every day.