Thursday, May 10, 2012

Those that "Bleed" Pink

This is the kind of a morning when you could sit outside on the patio with a cup of coffee and just reflect on how beautiful the world is. Flowers on the white lilac perfume the air, the breeze is a distant memory, the sun growing increasingly bold as it raises in the sky. But I am here on the computer, writing this post. Why?

Well you see I am one of those that "Bleed" pink. Because of that I think about the pink things I should be doing on such a fine day as this. Walking of course. After all the average 3 day walker will walk 585 miles in training prior to the 3 day. This means a lot of juggling of work and personal life to fit it all in. Today will be the kind of a day it would be a shame not to fit in a good long walk. But wait... I have more to do....

Many of us who "bleed" pink feel the calling to build awareness. Maybe that is why we have a closet that is 70% pink after 3 walks. Maybe that is why so many of us write blogs. It is why there are countless "groups" on Facebook that connect us. There we share our fundraising ideas, our training progress and hash out what to say to donors and family and friends about what and why we are so ... gosh darned PINK.

For those of us who walk the 3 day, there is a certain level of pink commitment that goes above and beyond. Our fundraising minimum to participate is higher than other events. The Komen 5k has NO minimum. But this 3 day 60 mile walk is a test of your pink commitment in the dollars you raise and the miles you walk. It makes logical sense then if you have this commitment, you find when you walk in this event, you have found a new family. A family where they "GET" it. And you are so very proud to walk along side people who will put all of themselves toward this great and noble goal, to end Breast Cancer in our lifetime.

I have gotten to know many of these folks. Like Jim, 14 3 days last year alone. Boobgirl Staci, who is walking 3 events and stalking 3 more. Jay, who is a mad man when it comes to his personal bat out of hell walking style that needs to decide to walk super slow or double back in order to not "Miss it" at the 3 day. There are people who struggle to make their minimums and bake cookies or cut hair or babysit kids for donations. There are people who hold jewelry parties or make CDs to sell or put on incredible PINK events like http://www.pinktiniandpopcorn.com/ I read about their events like a big Wine FUNraising party in N. Virginia and wish I could just pop in. When you meet any of these folks live, it is like meeting an old friend. There is no need to explain what brought you there, but usually it does get around to the WHY do you do this crazy pink thing?

In my own team those answers are walking right next to me. For me, I look over and see my friend who was diagnosed in 2009. I see my daughters who have a greatly increased risk of developing Breast Cancer, because I had it. I see a high school friend who walks for friends who lost their battle with Breast Cancer. I see a dear friend whose Grandmother was a survivor. I see college friends who have lost people to not just Breast Cancer but one whose father was lost to skin Cancer and one who is our "sister" who will be walking with us in support of those she knows who fight and those she has lost. And I see a young mother, with 3 small children, who comes from a family that Cancer has targeted. I know her story of her diagnosis after the birth of her daughter and how the daughter at the age of 2 was diagnosed with Brain Cancer. I walk with them and watch as they heal and as they take their lives back.

I have said before what an incredible gift it was to me to stand in the survivor circle at the DC 3 day. It was like putting everything I had done up to that point in bold font. By looking out over the sea of tear streamed faces, and watching as the names of those lost are lifted to the heavens, I realized that each of those people had their own stories for why they "bleed" pink. I held hands in the circle with survivors whose stories were familiar yet very much their own. A three time survivor on the right, a one year survivor on the left. Mothers, daughters young and old there are things that make us different, but this pink blood in our veins makes us all the same tough and determined family.

Whether it is me, or one of my pink brothers or sisters who are asking you to help them reach their goal remember what it is they are asking you.

Do YOU believe "everyone deserves a lifetime?" Do YOU believe a mother deserves the right to dance with her son at his wedding? Do YOU believe that together we can and will create a world without Breast Cancer? If you do please donate, or walk, or crew but please do something. Because unfortunately the other part of this bleeding pink has been seeing people you have met, who have been brave warriors, lose their fight. You can feel them as they become the angels who sit on your shoulder as you solider on. You watch as their names are added to the banner of those lost. You cry pink. You bleed pink. You walk on in their memory.

PS I want to thank everyone who has supported this passion of mine and ask that you understand, I will never give up until this is a world without Breast Cancer.