Now what?

I went from never running a mile in my life to running a marathon (ok, make that plural for technicality’s sake)

And then after that was dared to complete the Triple Crown for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Did that.

As part of the training for the Triple Crown, I joined the Maniacs. Part of their requirements was to complete three triathlons a year… did that.

Now what?

As I sit back and contemplate on the personal PHYSICAL milestones that I have achieved in this short time, I have to wonder if my personal EMOTIONAL and SPIRITUAL milestones were met as well. And don’t kid yourself… I’ve also asked myself the question “What’s next?”

Yes. My relationship with God and myself has become quite intricate and intense. I would love to say that I’ve always had a closeness to God and was pretty good at knowing myself… but these last two years put me at a level that I never thought possible. After speaking to Derek a short while back, I was reminded of my purpose.

Have I completed my PURPOSE?

No. I don’t believe so.

I went back to the picture that fell on my foot that Sissy had intended to give to me but passed away before she could.

The first line grabbed me once again.

Life in not a race but indeed a journey

“Life is not a race — but indeed a journey.”

You see, it’s not about the races that I complete… it’s the journey that I have taken along the way. It’s the people that I have met and befriended. It’s the obstacles that I have overcome. It’s the way I have looked fear eye to eye and took that step forward anyway. It’s about all I have lost and all I have gained. It has nothing to do with the medals hanging on my office wall. It has nothing to do with my PRs and splits and what I weighed on the scale before and after. It’s much bigger than that. MUCH MUCH BIGGER THAN THAT.

It’s about the people that I have helped. It’s about the hope that was generated. It’s about relieving someone else’s family from debt. It’s about taking the worry away from a family wondering how they’re going to get transportation to MD Anderson or San Antonio. It’s about providing housing and utilities and copays during chemo treatment. It’s about getting people to realize that there is a problem, a serious epidemic here and it seems to be getting worse. It’s even more than just a cure. It’s about PREVENTION of this ever happening again to another family…. selfishly, it’s also about doing all I can to make sure it doesn’t happen to MY family ever again.

I had made mention of being asked to be a panel speaker in a previous blog post. I was leary of being a part of this movement because I live in an area where anger and ignorance thrives. We take a mistruth and spread it around like gospel. We call it “chisme” (pronounced cheese-meh for my Spanish-slang novices out there). It is really hard to get a donation from our residents so when you GIVE them an excuse NOT to give… oh ya… they’ll run with it by saying “I’m not going to give because all these races you do are cancer fundraising scams!!!” “I’m not paying for your vacation” “None of this money even goes to help cancer patients!” or that local spin… “None of this money even goes to help LOCAL cancer patients!”

I was so afraid that if the ignorant got word of this, they’ll spread it around and we’d never get anywhere!

I did, however, attend and gave it a chance. I’m glad I did.

I was a little disappointed in the number of people who showed up who were actually touched by cancer. There were more politicians running for election there than those who had or had had cancer. But if they can help create/change policy here locally (i.e. impose smoking bans regionally or remove chemicals from our locally grown agriculture, etc.) I can see why they were there. The handful of people who were there that had been touched by cancer stood out. Not in a bad way. It’s like they lit up the whole theater. I’ve met people like that before. You know… you can tell they’re going to be big, really big, but no one knows who they are yet. That’s the kind of shine they had. Momma had that light. Everyone she met could see it. We as humans gravitate towards people who have that light.

The movie played in that freezing cold theater and while I completely agree with the ultimate message they were intending, I still saw so much bitterness and … oh, I really don’t want to use this word but can’t think of any other word that describes it… hate towards big corporate business.  I do not believe that all big business is bad and greedy. The undertone sure made it sound that way especially when the leader boasted that they did not take donations from ANY big business. If I owned a big business and knew that 1 out of every 2 men  and 1 out of every 3 women would be touched by cancer, I would certainly take a good look at my workforce, calculate those stats and jump in full force to do something for my employees. Big or small business, that’s just the right thing to do.

I guess my background in economic development has given me an understanding of social and economic balance and need for both the big box and the mom-and-pop or sole-entrepreneur in this country. So the tone that was set from the get-go was like nails on a chalkboard to me. The women who were interviewed were all angry and bitter. They were all stage IV breast cancer patients.

My mother was first diagnosed in 2006 with stage IV cancer and never once showed anger or bitterness to the world (although I know she must have felt it at some points – she never showed it). She told me over and over again that she was not “battling” cancer. She was DANCING with it. Cancer would take a step and she would take a step back and then she would take a step and cancer would take a step back. She smiled when she said that. ALWAYS. She danced with cancer for 6 1/2 years. It was when the death of her sister, the death of her son and the overwhelming worry of expenses stole that smile from her face that her condition worsened. It was when she was UNHAPPY that cancer finally gained control over her.

She didn’t “market” herself that way. She simply WAS that way. Always smiling. Always happy.

She taught me to be like that. By example. It’s not some marketing ploy.

So that was the only other part of the movie that I didn’t agree with… and took offense with. *But that’s another topic

Bottom line: I hope that all those miles I put in and all the money I helped raise are not in vain. I run for organizations that my mother said helped her. I know there are organizations out there that have profited off of the breast cancer awareness movement. There will always be greedy people like that in the world. Let God deal with them when their time comes. In the mean time, don’t make it any easier for them. Think before you buy pink.

Pinkwasher – a company or organization that claims to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribbon product, but at the same time produces, manufactures and/or sells products that are linked to the disease.

Critical questions for conscious consumers

* How much money, if any, goes to a breast cancer organization?

* What organization and programs will your money fund?

* Is there a maximum donation and has it already been met?

* Does this product put you at an increased risk of breast cancer?

Donate directly to a breast cancer organization of your choice if you are concerned about where your money is going.

If you are local to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas and would like free movie passes to see the last viewing of Pink Ribbons, Inc., I will gladly provide them to you. It will be showing on Sunday, October 27th at 2:00 p.m. at the Historic Cine El Rey Theater (311 S. 17th Street, McAllen, TX) A Question and Answer panel with discussion will follow the film.

My personal note:  I don’t care what kind of cancer you have or what kind of issue you have, once you let anger get the best of you… it has already won.  Do not let it control you. I highly recommend watching this movie but please disregard the bitterness. Just think before you pink.

Critical pinkwashing questions to ask when donating or purchasing pink ribbon items.

Critical pinkwashing questions to ask when donating or purchasing pink ribbon items.

Speaking about the toxicity of our environments and our need to not just focus on finding a cure for those who have been hurt by cancer but also  PREVENTING cancer from the rest of the world. Discussing cancer priorities

Speaking about the toxicity of our environments and our need to not just focus on finding a cure for those who have been hurt by cancer but also PREVENTING cancer from the rest of the world. Discussing cancer priorities

Talking about the points in the Pink Ribbons Inc documentary that stood out most to us.

Talking about the points in the Pink Ribbons Inc documentary that stood out most to us.

So in conclusion… now what?

LET THE STORY BE TOLD. Momma and Sissy had a message. The world needs to hear it so that it doesn’t happen again. Not just deal with it and “slice, burn and poison” it… but NEVER allow it to happen again. This is beyond a much needed cure that is accessible and affordable to all. This is now about prevention for the next generation.

Oh! and ya… I’ll keep running and getting others to run with me (or tri, too).

Advertisements

Leave a Reply. I enjoy reading your feedback. Your support fuels me.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: