Sunday, May 06, 2007

Heroes

You know how once in a while you'll get to participate in an event that is bigger than yourself? And it feels so good? Yesterday was one of those days for me. I got to participate in the Race for the Cure to help end breast cancer. I participated with four of my good friends:

Jayne, Bea, Me, Amy, and Diane

Jayne and Diane are two of my heroes. They are amazing women. They are both breast cancer survivors and I am a better person because of knowing them.

Here we are at last year's race.
Jayne is bald from chemo.
Diane's hair is barely growing back in.

They are both so young and healthy. It just doesn't seem like they should've gotten cancer. It has been a big lesson to me that you just never know. Both of these women are pillars of faith. They have really turned to the Lord through this trial. I should say that they have stayed close to the Lord because they were both faithful women before cancer came into their lives. Both of them were living their lives in such a way that they didn't have to make drastic changes when they looked in the face of death. But they have taught me about prioritizing--making sure my time is spent on things that are most meaningful and worthwhile. They have both been SO STRONG through surgeries, chemo, and relapse scares. They are amazing examples. They've also taught me that even when something huge like the "c" word comes into your life, you are still in control. You can't let the diagnosis run your life. I am so thankful to know both of them.

You can read more about Jayne's experience on her blog.

The race event is an inspiring experience. All of the survivors wear special pink t-shirts and it is eye-opening and scary to see how women are afflicted with this disease. When the race is over, they have a survivor parade and we get to cheer for all of them. It is a tear-jerking moment, even for this not-overly-emotional girl.

Look at all these women!
Eight thousand people participated in
the races--either a 5K (which we did)
or a one mile.
Hundreds of them were survivors.

This is one of the more sombering parts of the
day--a memorial garden for those who have
lost loved ones to breast cancer.

It wasn't all hugs and tears, though.
The race itself was a blast. The four of us walked
the first two miles and ran the last one.
It felt so good.
Here we are stretching and showing off
our huge muscles after we crossed the finish line.
It was so fun to just visit and laugh as we strolled
on a cloudy morning with a perfect temperature
for walking.

Thank you, Jayne and Diane, for sharing your life-changing experiences with me and for your examples. I love you guys!

8 comments:

Jayne said...

Aw, thank you for your sweet words. I'm glad that you had fun. Good conversations in the car, too!

sandy said...

Wow! What a neat experience -- thanks for sharing:)

Denny & Joe said...

Thanks for the inspirational post, Andi. Way to race for the cure!

Laurie said...

What a neat thing to do. I am impressed with these ladies! Wouldn't it be awesome if every woman in America got out there and supported these causes!

Natalie said...

Wow that sounds like such a great experience. Next time you do it let me know and count me in! Last year David and I ran a 5K in Raleigh for Breast Cancer. Loved it! Thanks for sharing.

Natalie

Ang said...

Good for you!

Amy said...

You're awesome!

Jayne said...

Except for the fact that she has made me sound more noble that I actually am, Andrea has done a fantastic job conveying the spirit of the event.

Knowing that Andrea has a number of blog readers who are young women, I'll take the opportunity to remind them that young women in their 20s and 30s DO get breast cancer.

Know that only a small percentage of breast cancer is genetic. A clear family history does not protect you.

Tragically, young women often have a higher mortality rate - partly they think that they are too young for breast cancer & get a delayed diagnosis.

Pay attention to your breast health. And if you ever discover something that's not right, don't let a doctor take a casual, "wait and see" approach simply because you are young.

(Off my soapbox).