I promised you a bit of my own story, beginning with the question ~
WHAT POSSESSED ME – AT AGE 51 – TO WALK
60 MILES IN 3 DAYS?
While I’ve played sports most of my life, I assure you, I never attempted anything like the 3-Day Walk for the Cure.
- Had I lost all sense of reasoning?
- Was this some sort of mid-life crisis?
- Just what was I thinking?
Recently, I had the opportunity to share my story with the Idaho Statesman in their Pink Edition in honor of breast cancer awareness month.
The following is my story.
Pink Edition: Fight Like a Girl – for allBy Cathy Miller
My journey started more than 12 years ago when my mom called to tell me that my oldest sister, Terry, had breast cancer. With half a continent between us, it was easy for my sister to keep her diagnosis a secret until after her surgery and the start of her chemotherapy.
The news rocked me. I felt helpless and sad that I had not been there for my sister. That was all the motivation I needed to fulfill a promise I made to myself (and my sister).
I was living in San Diego, which was one of only three cities in 2003 to sponsor the 3-Day, 60-Mile Walk for the Cure. I signed up in honor of my sister and never looked beyond that first 60 miles. Little did I know what an impact that decision would have on my life.
On the second day of the event, I met the first of three women who would later form our team of 14 women, a team known as Fight Like A Girl. Each teammate walked right into my heart.
That first year, Sue, a breast cancer survivor, was walking with her sister, Diane, and her best friend, Penny. In the second year, Penny was diagnosed with breast cancer. Later, another breast cancer survivor, Martina, joined us on our 60-mile walk.
Before my sister’s experience, I did not personally know anyone who had breast cancer. Now, I had three teammates, plus my sister, who were survivors, and endless stories were shared through 60 miles and three days of blisters, tears and laughter.
Like a 16-year-old girl who walked in a floor-length pink prom dress with her best friend to honor her battle against breast cancer. Sixteen years old. Or the San Diego news anchor I shared my morning coffee with who reminded us that, yes, men get breast cancer, too.
And the sad stories, like the crew member who drove one of the sweep vans. With tears rolling down her face, she thanked the walkers and told us her cancer metastasized, but we gave her hope. We each knew what her absence the following year meant. And we cried.
We walk for my sister. My teammates. And all the lives touched by breast cancer and all cancer. We want you to know you are not alone. We admire your courage and your strength, as we share the power of the human heart.
In November, my Fight Like A Girl teammates and I celebrate our 10th anniversary of walking 60 miles in 3 days. I did not look beyond the first 60 miles. Now, I simply cannot walk away.
As long as this 60-year-old-plus body supports me, I will continue to walk to honor and remember the lives of all who have been touched by cancer. Walk on.
Looking for a Happy Ending
In addition to my participation in the 3-Day Walk, I observed the incredible courage and unending positive nature of my beloved Aunt Mitzi as she battled lung cancer. She lost her battle in 2007.
Each Halloween as I unwrap another of her many Halloween witches she sent me (she knew Halloween was my favorite holiday), I think back and smile at the happy memories shared with my Mom’s sister. I miss you, Aunt Mitzi, and love you always.
I look forward to the day we find a cure for cancer. And I do mean – we.
Each one of us will play a role in the cure.
- As cancer survivors
- As those lost to cancer
- As family and friends affected by cancer
Whether you walk 60 miles in 3 days – participate in another run or walk – donate for research – or experience cancer first-hand – we all have a stake in this battle.
Why not take the journey together? Walk on.