Sunday, October 19, 2008

Race for the Cure

There is one annual event that never ceases to amaze me: Race for the Cure.

I have been participating in Race for the Cure for 7 years now and my best estimate is that I've participated in about 10 of them from Los Angeles to Temecula and everywhere in between. I used to participate in them with my sorority sisters from Theta Omega of Zeta Tau Alpha, and after I graduated I started participating in them with two of my best friends: Cristina and Denise. Every year I wear a placard that tells people that I walk in celebration of my Grandmother. I am grateful that I don't have to wear any placards that say "In Memory Of..."

At one of my first Race for the Cure events at the Rose Bowl, I was participating as a volunteer at the Zeta Tau Alpha booth. At this booth, we supplied safety pins, markers, and placard bibs that said "I walk in memory of _________" (if you've lost someone to breast cancer or "I walk in celebration of ________" (if someone you know is a survivor). It was at this booth that I experienced something that I will never forget.

A man came up to the booth and picked up three bibs that said "I walk in memory of _________" and three markers. It was then that I saw the other two people with him: a young boy about 7 or 8 years old and a little girl that couldn't have been over 4. I kept it together as I began to watch them write. First I saw the toddler girl scribble something on the paper but I couldn't really read it. Next I looked at the boy and was able to discern that he had written "mommy" and finally I looked at the man's card which simply read "my wife."

It took everything in my not to burst into tears, but as the tears came into my eyes I started to look around. I looked at the thousands of people being affected by cancer. I looked at the sea of pink shirts that the breast cancer survivors wear every year. I saw the mass of white shirts of the participants. That's when I saw her. She called herself "the angel of hope" and a smile beamed from her face.

She wore a floor length pink satin prom dress and pink feather wings that had a span of at least three feet. On top of her bald head was a cropped hot pink wig (like the kind Britney Spears wore when she lost her mind). As if her prom dress and Nike's weren't striking enough, she had collected every pin and ribbon she could get her hands on over the years and placed them all over the pink satin. She was a walking beacon of hope, covering herself in support from head to toe. And what was covering her back and most of her skirt? Our placards. Many said "I walk in memory of _________" but the majority said "I walk in celebration of ______________." She is still my angel of hope.

I haven't seen any of those people again, but every year I see someone new.

I see women in pink wigs on their head.
I see women with pink hats on their head.
I see women with pink bandanas on their head.
I see women with no hair on their head.
I see dogs in pink tee shirts.
I see female survivors.
I see male survivors.
I see old survivors.
I see young survivors.
I see mothers.
I see daughters.
I see sisters.
I see friends.

Breast cancer, whether you want to admit it or not, is right next to you. If it hasn't found you or your loved one yet, consider yourself blessed. Your opportunities are everywhere to make a difference, and I encourage you to donate.

Susan G. Komen
Dove Chocolate
M&M's
Nike
New Balance
Sutter Home
Yoplait
and even the NFL

This is just a short list of organizations and companies that have products or ways for you to help with breast cancer awareness and research.

So thank you to everyone that came today, whether you walked with Team Ta-Ta's or you just volunteered or walked alone. You've made a difference.

Team Ta-Ta's 2008

2 comments:

alconl said...

What Kippyskippy so humbly omits is that Team TaTa's existed because she had the persistence to make it so. We all get the inspiration to walk for many reasons, but it take one wonderful individual to pull us all together. Thank you.
ScooterDude

kippyskippy said...

Yes, it was the persistence of Cristina and I to bring the team together and raise money for the cause. I do this because one day, it might be me. I can only hope that if that day comes, someone would walk in celebration of my life and my battle.