Saturday, March 13, 2010

Breast Cancer.

Breast cancer has caught on as the (for lack of a better term) "trendy cancer".  I honestly think that this is because it effects mostly women and those effects are relatively visible (i.e. a mastectomy) and they have the potential to effect the woman's sense of womanhood and femininity and self.

I am somewhat discouraged by this because while I think that breast cancer research is important, I also think that research on ovarian cancer or cervical cancer or any kind of cancer, for that matter, is equally important.  BUT...  if they find a cure for breast cancer, a cure for other cancers will not be far behind, so I support this.

Regardless, I do have to say that breast cancer has had a positive effect on my life.

I have not had breast cancer.

Nor has anyone close to me had it.

But I had the opportunity in 2006 to participate in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, and I can say, without doubt, that it changed my life.

My friend, Summer, had decided that she was going to do this thing.  Avon hosts walks all over the country, and we would be walking in DC.  You have to raise $1800.00.  Just to walk.  The registration fee is $50.

In my current financial state, this is something I can barely fathom, but then, when my husband and I were both working, I just figured if I couldn't raise all the money, I'd just pay the difference personally.  I ended up having to pay a little (you know, like $500 - again, something that boggles my mind today), but I got to walk.

I could re-count the entire event to you, from the first steps where I was frustrated that we were moving so slowly to the last few steps of the 22 miles I walked (the goal was approximately 40 miles over two days - I made it 22 the first day, and then called my husband to pick me up and take me home because I could no longer walk up steps without using my arms to lift my thighs over each one), after which I collapsed into the medical tent, barely walking and apparently a little hypothermic, but that's not really the point of this post.

The point is that it was the first event to which I had ever been where I felt the power of women and what we could do if we stopped competing with each other for a few minutes and actually worked together for a common goal.

It was the first time in my life, in that sea of pink (there were several thousand women walking, maybe a couple of hundred men), including cancer survivors and patients and sisters and mothers and grandmothers, that I said to myself, "Wow.  Women are awesome."  And I meant it.

I was pleased and proud to be a part of that 50% or so of society.  It was truly powerful.

I have not participated in the walk since 2006, though Summer continues and manages a fairly large team, but I have attempted to support the cause since by baking brownies for her bake sales and recently, agreeing to paint two torso castings of local women.

One of the castings is of me.  My torso.  Including my stomach, breasts, part of my back...

I have almost finished the first casting, and both will be auctioned off by a real live auctioneer to support the Thanks for the Mammaries Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Team.  It will be the first time anyone has had the chance to buy my art, which is scary and thrilling all at once, not to mention the fact that one of the torsos actually belongs to me.

I suppose what I want to say is that this research project - this breast cancer research - I think it is so popular a cause because of what it has done for the female psyche.  This is something tangible that we can get behind, together.  No competition.  No petty arguments.  No gossiping behind one another's back.  This is right out in the open.  Truth telling.  This happens to women.  This happens to people.  It causes pain.  We can do something about it.  And...we are.

1 comment:

Annabelle Larkins said...

Oh Miss... this is amazing! You are going to make me cry. I cannot wait for the auction to happen. I think we have some pretty cool things planned for that night! :)


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