When I was 11-years old, I have a vivid memory of sitting in the Greenville Public Library, scanning books on medicine, believing that one day, I would help find a cure for cancer.
The impetus behind that decision was that, at the time, my beautiful Godmother, Aunt Carolyn, was battling breast cancer and her prognosis was not good. Even though I was child, I had already lost a young friend to leukemia and I knew that cancer was an awful, ugly disease that robbed people of life and it needed to be eradicated.
And somehow, I would help.
But life goes on, as it often does, and my mission to cure cancer was sidelined by things like high school. And friends. And, watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show 75 times. College. Marriage. Career. Parenthood.
Within a very short span of time, cancer struck my Uncle Bill, and then my friend Julie, and then my sister, and then my friend, Deana, and suddenly, something ignited in me that had been laying dormant for 27 years.
One day, I will help to find a cure.
Based on my current career trajectory, it appears unlikely that it will actually be me in the laboratory concocting the potion that will decimate rapidly developing cancer cells. But I've come to the conclusion that there is nothing to stop me from helping fund the research that eventually will lead to a cure.
So, I try to sponsor as many people as I can when they do fundraising for cancer charities. I have a certain percentage of my paycheck automatically withheld and donated specifically to organizations that are on the leading edge of cancer research. I have a Visa debit card (with matching checks) that donates a percentage of every sale to The National Children's Cancer Society. And perhaps most importantly, I have vowed to participate in at least one cancer fundraising charity event, every year. Because participation in these events is a way of actively remembering those people that I've lost to the disease, and those who are courageously fighting it.
To honor my vow for this year, last month I registered to participate in the Susan G. Komen, Race for the Cure, this coming weekend in Washington, D.C. It's not a marathon or a 60-mile walk ... it's a gentle 3-mile course because that is precisely my speed at this point in life.
In addition to joining forces with thousands of pink wearing people that are all on a quest to end cancer, what makes this walk especially exciting for me is that our children will be participating in a Race for the Cure event specifically for kids.
They've got little Race for the Cure t-shirts and bib numbers and they conducted their first fundraising event this past weekend. Unlike previous events where I've been required to raise several thousands of dollars, our fundraising event this time around was a "mere" $125.00.
To raise the money needed for the event, we borrowed upon past experiences and set up a lemonade stand. Within two hours, we accepted $166.47 in donations. (We're still accepting them, so if you're interested - please let me know!)
While the fundraising is important and every dollar counts, what makes this event so special for me is that I'm doing it with three of our children. (Henry can participate next year.) At six-years-old, the kids are developing an understanding of what we're attempting to accomplish and I can see that they have a passion for this, that is beginning to mirror my own.
Or, maybe they just like to dress up in pink wigs?
Whatever the case, it's truly a fabulous sight.