Monday, October 15, 2012

fight like a girl

Years ago, I briefly encountered a family friend in the midst of her breast cancer fight. Looking back, I thought so simply…so passively, “how unfortunate.”

About 5 years ago, I began working for a company, a leader in the cancer industry in regards to research and drug distribution for various types of cancer. Around that time, a friend posted a link to a Facebook page in reference to someone’s fight with breast cancer. Selfishly, I wanted to learn more, only to better understand the clinical side of that topic in more depth. So I clicked on the link. And transported to a world which I was rather oblivious to – the personal, the more intimate side of the fight.

It wasn’t until I read the written words of one’s most deepest thoughts that I was able to feel empathy. It practically leaped off the screen at me. Spare and direct. Honest and powerful. The images of her in the photos made her real to me. Caught in intimate moments – painting her toenails, putting on her makeup, her bald head being stared at walking down the street. Suddenly, she was every female I knew – my sister, my friend, my aunt, my neighbor…my daughter.

Despite her beauty, cancer isn’t pretty. The Chemo changes appearances – eyes hallow, cheeks puffy…and we’re all familiar with the loss of hair.

I cried crocodile tears. For someone I didn’t even know.

It’s hard to believe the warm light in her eyes no longer shines. 

On October 6th, my family walked/ran/crawled for Team Julie, honoring my friend, Julie, who’s currently fighting the fight. Julie possesses a true zest for living. Brilliant, compassionate and loads of fun -- she lights up the room. I won’t divulge her story here, but if she so chooses to guest blog for me in the near term, I would be elated to share her with all of you.

There exists the mantra(s) about “winning the battle” and “beating the odds,” and that’s what the majority of Komen Race for the Cute participation is about.

But not everyone beats cancer. There were swarms of pink signs adhered to the backs of walkers/runners, “in memory of…” I tried so hard to acknowledge every name. But there were….so many. Too many.

Sometimes, the sad reality gets lost in the pink of October. It’s rampant really. Everyone is wearing pink this month, from kitchen appliances to pro athletes. “Support the cause!”

I get it -- we need to raise awareness -- I'm all for that. The rhetorical question is, sadly, what are we aware of now?


Here are pictures from our day, mostly in iPhone quality. My apologies in advance.

Song: Learn to Fly   Artist: Foo Fighters


1 comment:

  1. Once again, you take my breath away with a heart touching story. Thank you for your words. xoxo


I am incredibly grateful for your comment! I will respond as soon as possible. XOXO, Mandi

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