3-Day Walk, Cancer and Family

by Cathy Miller

in 3-Day Walk for the Cure

Aunt Mitzi Forester 1929-2007

Aunt Mitzi Forester

You would think as I prepare for 3-Day Walk #12, it would be old hat by now. Far from it.

My contributors – some who have been there since my first step in 2003 – never cease to amaze and humble me.

They generously contribute and share their stories of loved ones they lost or those who battle cancer.

And that’s the thing. It is the rare exception when I encounter a person who does not know someone touched by cancer.

When I started this journey, no family members were diagnosed with cancer. Then that changed.

Family First

If you’ve read my story, you know my personal connection to the 3-Day Walk for the Cure.

My sister, Terry, received a diagnosis of breast cancer. Some unexplored connection to the 60-mile walk, coupled with my sister’s diagnosis, was all the motivation I needed to finally participate.

After my first Walk in 2003, I was hooked.

I met teammate, Sue, (a breast cancer survivor) on that first Walk. The following year, another teammate, Penny, was diagnosed with breast cancer. A few years later, Martina, another breast cancer survivor, joined our team. Suddenly, loved ones with cancer surrounded me. For my teammates are family, too.

Around the same time, my beloved Aunt Mitzi, was diagnosed with lung cancer.

Aunt Mitzi

As I write this, today is the eighth anniversary of my aunt’s passing from lung cancer. Her death is such a void.

Aunt Mitzi was the cool aunt. The one you wanted your friends to meet.

Few people lived life with more laughs, love, and generosity. Aunt Mitzi did things like sending Christmas cards through a special post office to get a North Pole stamp. Or one for Valentine’s Day (her favorite holiday).

And when she discovered Halloween was my favorite holiday, she sent a special collection of Halloween witches I still cherish today.

My dad passed in 2007. Aunt Mitzi and my mom were supposed to travel the world together. Cancer was not in the plans.

I took Mom to Maui in May of 2007. My dad’s birthday is May 2 and I knew the first one would be incredibly difficult for her. Aunt Mitzi insisted Mom go and enjoy Maui.

My aunt passed on May 4. If I know my aunt (and I am sure I do), she held on so she would not die on my dad’s birthday. She hung on as long as she could. We had one more day on our trip but we flew home, then on to Chicago for my aunt’s funeral.

Cancer does that. It does not discriminate. It does not care about plans. It touches families and lives.

Is it any wonder I cannot walk away from the 3-Day Walk for the Cure?

Walk on.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne Wayman May 4, 2015 at 1:02 pm

Love the pix of your mom, Cathy – tell her hi for me.


Cathy Miller May 4, 2015 at 3:05 pm

That’s actually my Aunt Mitzi, my mom’s sister. 🙂 But I will definitely tell Mom hi for you. Thanks, Anne.


Chad Forester May 4, 2015 at 4:56 pm

How great it is to come to your page and find your remembrance of my mom. Thanks, Kathy. Love you.


Chad Forester May 4, 2015 at 4:59 pm

Ooops. I meant CATHY. lol


Cathy Miller May 4, 2015 at 6:16 pm

You are most welcome, Chad. Your mom was one special lady. And, hey, just think of me as another ‘C’. 😀 Love you, too, Chad.


Lori May 5, 2015 at 1:53 pm

You resemble your aunt, Cathy.

And you continue to be an inspiration, hon. 🙂


Cathy Miller May 5, 2015 at 2:28 pm

I’ve been told that, Lori, (about my aunt) and I appreciate it. 😉 Thanks for the kind words, my friend.


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