I must start this story off with my own story. On March 26, 2010 (a date I shall never forget) I woke up to realize I was having a stroke. Lots of denial there, I was in my early 40's, the baby of the family, the healthy one with a clean bill of health, it couldn't be happening. Well it was. I am very blessed to basically have no lingering side effects. Just one very mild one, sometimes I can't remember things. I can live with that.
Almost a year post stroke and I was beginning to feel strength back in my body and mind, ready to chart the course for the next chapter in my life. Then on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 2011 that all changed. My sister Karen was diagnosed with breast cancer. We come from a stock of VERY good genes on both sides of the family, barely any medical history to speak of with all our relatives living well into their 80's and beyond. Karen's diagnosis came as quite the unbelievable shock to all of us. I am now aware of more statics and realize we shouldn't have been so surprised. However, at this time we were taken back.
Less than four months later in July 2011 my other sister, Pat, was diagnosed. Less than a month later our Mom was diagnosed and a within a couple of weeks my Aunt Dot was diagnosed! Crazy, I know! They had all been having regular check ups and mammograms. To say that all these diagnosis overwhelmed my family and myself is a major understatement. I don't know how I got through it.
(l-r) Me, My sister Pat and my sister Karen. I attended chemo treatments with my sisters as my schedule allowed but I made sure to clear the calender for Pat's last chemotherapy treatment.
On top of ALL of this, as if this wasn't enough, my son was moving away from home to become a freshman at college and my niece was moving to New Zealand! These two major events happened the same week my Mom received her diagnosis. As I write this I am wondering how I got through that week. I think at that time my mantra was "one day at time" with a smile and a laugh. What else could I do?
"At the heart of challenge lies grace." -Elayne Kalila Doughty
My two sisters, my Mom and my Aunt Dot showed an incredible amount of grace through this journey. I am beyond grateful for the joy we were able to share with each other during this time. I have learned so much simply by being by their side.
I have appropriate understanding x four!
I am walking 60 miles in Boston on July 26, 27 & 28. The first day I will walk for my Mom and my Aunt Dot. The second day I dedicate to my sister Pat. The third and final day I will walk for my sister Karen. Each day representative of the difficulty of the breast cancer journey traveled.
(L-R) Karen, Mom and Pat attending an Expressions of Love art exhibit. Look closely at the photo to the left. It is an entry they created for the exhibit. It shows them with their bald heads (always smiling) and then with their hair grown back.
Then I began to doubt my ability to raise the required amount of donations. I work alone, from home. I don't know if I know enough people to raise that much money. BELIEVE. I had to come back to my word. BELIEVE. Well I do BELIEVE. I will get there. I will walk. I will do it. And the best part....my two sisters have decided that if I walk they will join the crew! That is no small task. The crew provides e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. the walkers need on their journey. See how they show up for me when I am trying to show up for them! *** GRACE***