In eight days, i will be joining thousands of other people to walk and/or run through the designated streets of downtown Phoenix, raising awareness and funding for breast cancer.
Earlier this week, my T-shirts and participant numbers arrived in the mail. It was a bittersweet moment. I was excited to be receiving a pink shirt that recognizes me as a “survivor” … and then i realized i am not sure if that is actually true. Back when i signed up for the race, i checked the box on the form that identified me as a survivor. At the time, i had just finished with radiation, and i had no idea whether the cancer cells were completely gone; i decided to check the box anyway, thinking to myself, “By the time this race comes around, i’ll know for sure whether the cancer is still here. If it’s not, i’ll wear the pink shirt; if it is, i’ll wear the white.” I was supposed to be able to get a PET scan in late July, to check on the status of the cancer cells. And then the incisions split open … and the wound got infected with staph … and i was hospitalized three times … and now here it is, three months later, and i still can’t get the PET scan because i am still dealing with this open wound. Yeah, yeah, i know – i’m supposed to be working on my patience.
Then something else about the T-shirts hit me. 9,048. The white shirt came attached with Participant #9048. That’s a lot of effin people. Did i mention that i will be speaking before the race starts? Um…yeah. A spokesperson for the Susan G. Komen Foundation contacted me two weeks ago and asked me if i would be one of three speakers at the event. I agreed to write an 8-minute personal story about how my experience ties into the importance of community involvement. AT the time, i was NOT aware that over 9,000 people had signed up to walk/run in this event … not sure i would have agreed had i known that, but it’s too late now! Tomorrow i meet with Meghan Finnerty, a professional storyteller and AZ Republic journalist, who will help me fine tune the draft i wrote. An audience of thousands … professional writers critiquing my work … no pressure there, right?