This little sticker, which I will put on my team shirt tomorrow, measures about 5×7. Last time I ran this race I wrote ‘My Aunt Patrice’ on my sticker. My husband at the time wrote ‘My mom’ on his. Both were, and still are, breast cancer survivors, and both will be on my mind tomorrow when I walk the 5km race with my team, Tanya’s Tigers. There is rain in the forecast, so I’ve hunted down an umbrella so that my eyebrows don’t wash off in the rain during the walk. Some things take a little more planning these days.
Walking with me tomorrow will be 70 or 80 people who include my children and ex-husband, my parents and my sister, friends, colleagues, students, parents of students. They have all joined this walk to show me support and I am certain many of them have their own personal reasons for running or walking tomorrow. For the first time, I have really given some thought to why I’m doing this walk tomorrow, five days into radiation treatment, six months post-surgery and one month post-chemo. I don’t know that I will have ever walked with more purpose.
I am walking because my eldest child has a beautiful grin and I want to witness that grin when he’s 20, 30, 50.
I am walking because I want to see how my youngest channels his crazy monkey-like energy as an adult.
I am walking because I want to meet their first girlfriends, or boyfriends, or whomever they would like me to meet.
I am walking because I don’t want their daughters affected by this disease.
I am walking because I want to be around when my Dad finally says it’s his last hunt.
I am walking because I want to continue to watch my Mom morph into her Mom, as I morph into her.
I am walking because I want to catch my boys drinking for the first time, and dole out the consequences.
I am walking because I want the time to fall in love again, and the time to do it right.
I am walking so that I can tell my girlfriends that maybe it’s time to retire the knee socks and cowboy boots, at about 60.
I am walking so that I can tell funny stories about my children, to their children.
I am walking because I have many more gardens to plant and vegetables to harvest.
I am walking because I want the chance to look up at my boys.
I am walking because I want to dance in my kitchen with old bones.
I am walking because I want to compare grey hair and wrinkles with my sister and sit looking out at water and talk about a long time ago when I had cancer.
I am walking for the women also fighting this battle – those who are sharing their stories and those who remain silent.
I am walking for those who aren’t around to tell their stories, and for those they left behind.
I am walking for the women who will share this story in the future, in the hope that their stories will be good ones.
I am walking because I can.