Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pink Me Out

(The following post first appeared in my column “On the Outside Looking In” at Yes, I am walking in the Susan G. Komen 3 day for the Cure walk.  This post tells why and provides a link at the bottom for those of you who can find it in your heart to help sponsor me.) 

I spent a few weeks mulling it over. I spent a few days talking myself into it. I spent less than 10 minutes filling out all the requisite forms. Basic stuff like name, address and a promise to waive liability. In the second it took to click my mouse and hand over the $90 registration fee, I moved myself from the realm of an observer into the world of a hopeful participant.

There’s no backing out now. I am officially registered for the Susan G. Komen-3 day for the Cure, 60-mile walk. Of course, I still have to raise the $2,300 before I can participate in the November event. Right now I have nadda, zilch, zero sponsors. (Baby steps, my dears, baby steps.)

I picked the 3-day walk for the Cure as my first activity to launch “On the Outside Looking In.” Or, rather, I decided to launch “On the Outside Looking In” as a way to force me to walk the walk instead of just talking the talk.

I suppose it was a combination of things that pushed me. One of my teacher hall monitoring buddies is walking the walk. (Gee, I thought, isn’t that great.) I read a rather poignant piece from Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts about the loss of his mom and why he was finally walking the walk. (Wow, I thought, what a great column.) I have colleagues who have stared this killer in the face and survived (What amazing women they are, I said.).

And then, I ran into a colleague at the state high school journalism convention. I hadn’t seen her in months. We stood in the empty hallway. She with her ball cap on, light sensitive eyes and hope for the future and me with only my guilt for not knowing she was in an all-out fight against breast cancer.

It nagged at me for weeks… how I had become so wrapped up in my life that I hadn’t heard about her battle for her life.

I am no stranger to cancer. In less than three years, I buried both parents. My mother lost her battle against lung cancer and my father lost his fight against prostate cancer. There have been others as well.

Still, my self-absorption with my life tugged at me. I hope to make up for that with the 3-Day for the Cure walk. My walk will be a different walk. I walk to apologize to Lori for not knowing, and I walk to celebrate her life. I walk with joy for all those sisters who survived their battle with breast cancer. And yes, as odd as it seems, I walk with joy for those sisters who fought the fight, but lost because I believe we honor them by remembering how much they enriched our lives.

And finally, I walk with joy simply and thankfully because I can.

(To help me on my way, please consider making a donation, so that I will qualify for the walk. Donations can be made by going to, click on "Donate," select “search for a team” and then input my team name, Pink Me Out or you can simply click here and it should take you right there.)

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