Friday, June 29, 2012

A Six-Letter Word

This week marks the anniversary of my receiving the news that I had breast cancer.  Cancer is a six-letter word that has much more impact than any four letter word that I know.  Of course, when you hear that six-letter word applied to yourself or one of your loved ones, more often than not, several four-letter words ensue.

I am very happy to say that I have been cancer free for nearly two years (that anniversary is July 30th!).  But I wanted to share a special event that I recently took part in – The American Cancer Society’s “Relayfor Life.”  This fund-raising event is a “relay” event that lasts 12 hours, with someone walking at all times. ACS Relays are held in towns throughout the United States.  The ACS provides support 24/7 for people affected by cancer.  They also fund a great deal of research.  In the past two years not only myself, but two sisters-in-law, my father, and four friends were diagnosed with cancer.  My father passed away.  I walked in this relay in honor and in memory of them.


I am not a fundraiser.  I hate asking for money.  But thanks to family and friends that supported me financially, and those that joined me at the relay, our team, named “Survival is NOT Enough… Find a Cure! raised more than $1,800.00!!  I was thrilled to have to keep raising my goal because we kept meeting it!  The “Relay” in Honeoye Falls, NY raised nearly $62,000.00. 


Our team "tent" with Matt, Chandra and Chris

The "Survival is NOT Enough" Team!
Front: Sue, Joan, Lisa, Chandra, Chris, Barb, Jo, Katie;
Back: Scott, Brandon, Matt, Kathy (Me), Bruce, Steve, Eric;
Missing: Kaitlyn and Tyler

My husband Bruce and daughter, Lisa, surprised me with team t-shirts.  I think they helped us win the “most team spirit” award.  That and my sister, Chris, and I played one of the games in which we were the only adults that took part – we kind of stood out as 50+ year old “youngsters” amongst the kids!  ;-)   

My sister-in-law, Sue, walked the “Survivor’s Lap” with me.  Quite an accomplishment considering that just a year ago her sacrum (the bone that connects the hip to the spine” was removed and she had reconstructive surgery.  My friend, Chandra, brought us chocolate-covered strawberries.  I think my son, Matt, had two strawberries for every lap he took!  Chandra kept track of the laps she walked and figures she walked about ten miles!! 


the luminarias in the staging area - this is only about half of them

At dusk we lit luminarias in honor of or in memory of family and friends, and then walked a candle-lit lap.  It was very moving.

Chris and Matt lighting a luminaria - what teamwork!
The reason we keep Matt around is because he can reach the top shelf (that and we love him)

only a few of the lined up luminarias
more luminarias

As I said in an email I sent to friends and family, I am sick of the slicing and dicing, the chemotherapy and radiation.  There has got to be a better way.  I think it is time to eliminate that six-letter word and find a new four-letter word… C U R E!!  Please consider supporting the American Cancer Society, either through support of a friend who is taking part in a “Relay for Life,” or by donating directly to the ACS.  If you wish to support the “Survival is NOT Enough” team directly, you can do so by visiting this website and entering either our team name or my name (Kathy Rosier) in the appropriate box on the right hand side.  If you’re not able to help financially (believe me, I’ve been in that boat!), support us with prayers, hugs, uplifting words, or even chocolate-covered strawberries.  It is all very much appreciated!

We all need hope.

Ladies, do your breast self-exams monthly and get your annual pap smear.  Don't be afraid to call your doctor and say "it's not exactly a lump, but it's different than normal."  The life you save may be your own! 

Okay, getting off my soapbox now and getting back to the regularly scheduled program.  :-)

PS Sorry about the weird picture layout. I keep trying to get more than one picture on a line (pictures side by side) but it messes everything up.  If anyone had suggestions I'll take them!

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