And have for the last thirteen years.
I went for a physical not long after my fiftieth birthday. During that visit, the doctor told me that he thought it time for me to have a mammogram. Before that he had said he didn’t believe I needed one, yet. When he said it was time, I shrugged and let them set everything in progress.
When the time came, I went in, filled out the paperwork and had the exam done. Did it hurt? Oh yeah. Dolly Parton has no worries where I’m concerned. I was told that since this was my first mammogram not to be concerned if I was called back in since they had nothing to compare. When the call came, I thought nothing about it and went in for round two. This was different, they did a scan, I sat outside the room, they did another, I sat outside the room, they did a third and told me to go ahead and get dressed while a doctor looked at the images. I sat out in the waiting area only to be called back for a different scan. I was then told to get dressed, my doctor would contact me. Strange but okay.
To make a long story short, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had a lumpectomy and radiation treatments. It was a journey I hope to never face again.
Shortly after that, I was introduced to Relay for Life. I had participated in various ways ever since.
In the course of life, I have lost family and friends to cancer. I have had many friends who have battled and won. Some still being the Warrior they are as they fight. Cancer took my brother from me. That alone, made me angrier and more determined even than my own diagnoses and battle.
Over the course of thirteen years I have learned a great deal about Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society. https://www.cancer.org/ The web site offers information on what is offered and what the ACS does. There is tons of information on staying healthy and working toward getting healthy.
Relay for Life, is the fundraising arm of the ACS. https://www.cancer.org/involved/fundraise/relay-for-life.html
The very first Relay event that I took part in, was an all night event. It was an odd, amazing, thoughtful, humbling experience to be walking a track at 2 in the morning. The night air cool, the night quiet but for the conversations and laughter of others along the way. Once an hour, there were events, crazy hat, pajama hour, dance..something. It was all to bring people of like mind together in a battle against a demon disliked by all.
Last year, thanks to Covid, everything was changed. Everything canceled.
This is another year. A local event has been scheduled. It isn’t an all night event, it is a three hour, summer afternoon spent fighting a demon that has stolen much from so many. I had not planned on taking a detailed part until I saw the date. July 24th, my brother’s birthday. The brother stolen from us by Leukemia.
I won’t lie, I have cursed and shouted into the night about this loss. Both of my brothers are my heroes, to lose one especially no older than he was, felt and was unfair.
So I don the armor, I pick up the shield and draw the sword of anger and determination. My battle plan is share information. My battle plans are to speak out on options. My battle plan, yes, will ask for donations toward the fight. To seek a cure, to seek medications, to research, to offer wigs, rides, information. My battle plan, go up against the demon that has taken so many of the people I loved. I participate in Relay for Life, for those who cannot. For those I love. For those I miss. and even, for me. This will be the only time I share this, but for those interested, here is my donation page:
Rebecca’s Relay For Life of Lincoln and Gaston Counties NC…