The “Battle to Save the Boobies”!

The “Battle to Save the Boobies”, A.K.A. Komen Race for the Cure, was run in Ocean City, Maryland for the second year in a row this morning.  Unlike last year, this race day was  beautiful, crisp morning air, clear sunshine with the race route offering a spectacular view of the Atlantic Ocean.

The “BAKED” team included myself, my husband, my sister Shelly her children George and Stevie and my daughter Sophia.  We ran the race in celebration of our mother, Shirley, who is a breast cancer survivor.  In large part, our Mom’s healing and recovery were directly related to her religious monthly self exams, annual mammograms and regular check ups which allowed her cancer to be detected at a Stage I.  Because of early detection, her medical team was able to excise her tumor without need for chemotherapy or radiation.  Thank God, our mother has been cancer free now for almost 5 years.

Unfortunately, not everyone’s breast cancer story has as happy an ending.  Our dear friend Suzie, who also chaired this years Komen Race, lost both her mother and aunt to this deadly disease.  Suzy has turned her heartbreak into a heartfelt passion to be part of finding a cure for breast cancer in honor of her loved ones and so other’s hope for survival is realized.  I am so very proud of her and grateful for her efforts, in addition to her team of volunteers who tirelessly work to make events like these successful….raising money for research and increasing public awareness regarding prevention is critical.   

As you can imagine, our emotions were running pretty high to start and then we began the race alongside of a woman who had just finished her chemotherapy regimen two weeks prior.  She was slight of frame, had no hair and was visibly struggling to keep pace.  She stayed with us the whole way, sometimes we slowed down, sometimes she ran faster to catch up.  We were so honored and inspired to cross the finish line with her!   Her broad smile and sense of humor in spite of her circumstances was simply amazing.  Her courage and stamina, her will to defy and survive incredible!

This “warrior” of a woman was a bold reminder that the “Battle to Save the Boobies” is just that, a battle.  It’s a battle that too many women face.  It’s a battle that requires our support, one that is desperate for reinforcements, foot soldiers, state of the art weaponry.  It’s a battle that requires we all be educated about the enemy so that one day very soon, we can prevent, conquer and cure breast cancer.Image

 

 

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Racing for the Cure….

Today, Komen Race for the Cure came to Ocean City, Maryland.  Despite the wind and driving rain, more than 2,000 men, women, children, babies, people of all races, shapes and sizes, ran/walked/strolled the race to help find a cure for breast cancer.  Did you know that the Eastern Shore of Maryland has some of the highest incident and mortality rates?

Myself and Suzie Taylor of Ayer’s Creek Adventures volunteered several months ago to help with operations and recruitment of sponsorships and teams.   Unfortunately, sponsorship opportunities are not very affordable for most small businesses so, in Berlin, we decided that joining forces was the way to go.  We organized sponsorship “Historic Berlin, Maryland” which included 14 local businesses, everything from coffee and thrift shops, to bakeries and hotels, restaurants, B&B’s and spa services.  This was a huge success!  Together, we supported a great cause and hosting a table in the race village allowed us to introduce our town to hundreds of people who didn’t even know that Historic Berlin, Maryland existed.

This event is personal to both Suzie and myself.  My mother, thank God, is a breast cancer survivor thanks to regular breast exams, early detection and access to great health care.  Suzie’s mother, Joann and her Aunt sadly lost their battle with this disease.  It doesn’t get more personal than that.  As a matter of fact, it seemed very personal to everyone in attendance.  If not, I can’t imagine that we wouldn’t all have rolled over this morning and hit the snooze button instead of  crawling out of bed and weathering the coastal storm that, today, decided to target the East Coast.  I know we need the rain!

I have “raced for the cure” before in D.C. and get very emotional when the “Survivors Parade of Pink” starts.  Today was no exception.  I can’t help but marvel at the courage and strength of the women and men presented and of course, those souls and their families who lost the battle before the cure was found.  Personally, I would love to know how much money is spent each year on determining the various causes of breast cancer.  When my mother was 50, she didn’t know one person with breast cancer.  I just turned 50 and I know handfuls of friends and family with this disease.  Why, exactly, are some areas experiencing higher incident and mortality rate?  I could go on and on.

Suzie’s sister Shelly and I ran together.  We were perfectly matched for our pace.  For the first leg, down the boardwalk, the wind was hitting us head on and then we rounded the corner both figuratively and literally.  There were lots of supporters along the way, standing and cheering us on.  This made me think about what this world would be like if we all had people in our lives acting as personal motivators cheering “You can do it”, “Great job”, “Way to go” .  We were passed by some who made it look easy, but there were also people behind us who scratched their way to the finish line,  everyone proud that they completed the course.

The "cutest team" award!In all it was an exceptional day!  I realize that there is often some controversy with organizations such as Komen, but if you only focus on that you’ve missed the point in my opinion.  In addition to raising money to help find a cure, races such as this one, allow for a community of people to come together as one family.  Being amongst that crowd, knowing that we all support the same cause, running/walking for or in memory of a loved one was, for me, both uplifting and spiritual.  I know that I was not the only one who felt that.  To me it reinforces the fact that we’re never alone if we care enough to reach out to one another, we need to live in this moment and spend time with the people we love.  Most importantly, I know that, like today’s race, when people come together great things are possible!