We’re finishing out the week with the story of someone who spends today (Mother’s Day) every year honoring the memory of her mother and aunt. Happy Mother’s Day to all of you magical, magnificent moms!
HOW DO YOU SPEND MOTHER’S DAY EACH YEAR?
I do the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PARTICIPATING IN THAT EVENT?
This is I think the 9th year. We started in 2006 when my mom was first diagnosed.
SO YOUR MOTHER HAD BREAST CANCER?
Yes. She was diagnosed in 2006. She underwent treatment for about 18 months. She was doing fairly well, and then in 2009 it came back. She passed away in June of 2010.
I’M SO SORRY. HOW DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED WITH THIS EVENT AFTER YOUR MOM WAS DIAGNOSED?
My aunt actually had breast cancer as well. It wasn’t my mom’s sister. It was actually on my dad’s side. My dad’s first cousin, but we all called her an aunt. She had passed away in 2003. She was only 35 years old. It was a real blow to both of my parents, to the whole family really. She had become involved herself when she was undergoing treatment. It’s a name you hear all the time now, even if you don’t have cancer, or even know anyone who does. But back then it wasn’t quite so prevalent. She met a woman in treatment who was fundraising for her team and she told my aunt about it. I remember her telling the family that she wanted to participate and get a team together. Team Linda was the first team we ever had in the family. I wasn’t a physical part of it back then. The team had about 5 people on it.
CAN YOU TELL US WHAT IT IS EXACTLY, WHAT IT MEANS TO PARTICIPATE?
Well, Susan G. Komen is the largest breast cancer foundation in the country. It started in 1982 by Nancy Goodman. She was the younger sister of Susan Komen, who died of breast cancer in 1980 at the age of 36. There are so many efforts and events all over the country, but the Breast Cancer 3 Day and the Race for the Cure are probably the best known. The foundation has been under some scrutiny over the past few years, but pound for pound they still raise more money for research and patient support than anyone else. I do it because it makes me feel like I am honoring my mother’s memory, and her name.
SO WHAT ARE THE DETAILS OF THE EVENT?
It takes place every Mother’s Day. This year it is Sunday May 10th. It starts at Eakins Oval, right in front of the art museum (The Philadelphia Museum of Art). I think they’ve changed the route slightly but we run Kelly Dr. all the way down across Girard Ave. and back up MLK Dr. It’s a 5K run. There is also a walking version.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR TEAM?
Our team has grown! We’re up to about 30 participants now. It started as myself, my sister, my mom, my (other) aunt and her friend. After my mom passed, we added my dad, my uncle, a few of our neighbors, and some of her friends and co-workers. People have come in and out over the years. The core of us has always been there though. If it weren’t for this event, this day, I think Mother’s Day would be absolutely horrific for us all.
ARE YOU A MOM YOURSELF?
I am. I have 2 girls. My husband brings them to the race. They don’t participate yet. They watch mom. They charm strangers. They participate in kid’s stuff. Someday they’ll be walking or running along with us.
DO YOU WORRY AT ALL, HAVING LOST TWO FEMALE FAMILY MEMBERS TO THE DISEASE?
Naturally I worry more than the average person does, I’m sure. I must have more frequent mammograms and I live a very healthy lifestyle. They talk about all sorts of genetic factors involved. I worry more about my girls I think. But I try to never let it get the best of me. My mom would have hated that. She would have been furious knowing that her contracting this disease had caused me to live my life in fear or doubt. That is not how I want to honor her. I want to honor her by living, by doing everything that she would have wanted to do, her and my aunt, if they were still here.
GOOD LUCK ON THE RACE! HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!
Thank you! Happy Mother’s Day to you too!
Happy Mother’s Day!
Michelle & Noelle
JFK Plaza Photo Courtesy of Nakashi and licensed under Creative Commons License 2.5