I just couldn’t let the month of October go by without doing a breast cancer post. One of my first posts for Birmingham Mom Collective was about losing my sister to the disease, and I always want to honor her memory any way that I can.
Next month will mark eight years since we said our last goodbye. In October 2012, just a month before she passed away, we participated in the Race for the Cure in downtown Birmingham. We did the one mile walk with a group made up of family members and friends. It was both fun and sad at the same time. I had no idea that would be the only one we would get to do together.
Since many breast cancer events weren’t able to take place this month due to COVID-19, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do to honor her memory, and that’s when I saw the American Cancer Society was having a virtual 35-mile breast cancer challenge. I knew I had to do it.
It’s perfect for me because I’m a walker, not a runner, and you get the whole month of October to walk 35 miles. I shared it on my Facebook page and have already raised almost $400. I initially set my goal for $250 but was blown away by donations from friends and family.
The American Cancer Society is committed to raising $100,000 in October. Every dollar raised goes directly to the American Cancer Society to invest in cancer research, patient support, prevention education, detection, and treatment.
So, every day, I spend time walking in my neighborhood, anywhere between one and three miles, reflecting on memories and wondering how different things could be if she were still here.
So much has happened since we lost her. What I wouldn’t give for her to have been able to meet my daughter, her niece who reminds me of her in so many ways. To see her daughter get married, to meet her first grandchild, to turn 50.
I began getting yearly mammograms not long after she passed, since we didn’t have a family history before that. I just got my latest one in September, and thankfully I got the piece of paper in the mail saying it was clear. That’s how hers was initially discovered, though, so they are extremely important and I always try to encourage those I know (and don’t know) to get them each year.
What I still haven’t done yet is genetic testing to see if I have the markers for breast cancer. Although I still think about it and may eventually do so, I just haven’t been ready yet.
If you or someone you love has been affected by breast cancer, I encourage you to find a way to get involved or give. There are also local nonprofits, like Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama, that raise money that stays in the state of Alabama. The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation is also a great organization that raises money to find a cure.
There’s still time this month to take part in some events and fundraisers listed here.