This past year, one of my best friends D lost her childhood best friend K to breast cancer. Though I didn’t know K, I felt like I did after D shared pictures, letters, and notes from their years growing up together.
I can’t imagine what K went through, or how her husband and children are coping with the loss of their beloved wife and mother. I do, however, know a fair amount about what D went through. Watching her roller coaster ride of optimism, despair, and ultimately, her grief, was heartbreaking. I did my best to support her, but truthfully, I felt—and still feel—powerless. I’ve learned through my own personal experience that each person’s grieving process is different and you just have to let it take its course. D needs to feel what she’s feeling for as long as she needs to feel it, and as her friend, I plan on doing whatever I can to support her.
K’s death was a chilling reminder that we’re all fair game when it comes to cancer. In fact, one in eight women is at risk for developing breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. I don’t know about you, but I’ve got way more than eight important women in my life and those statistics absolutely terrify me.
I’ve been thinking about how I could do something positive with that powerless feeling I have, something that would honor the memory of K and also show my love and support for D. For years, I’ve heard about the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and haven’t participated. But after D’s experience, I know that I can’t fall back on “maybe next year” anymore, because I’m no longer sure what next year will bring. Next year it could be me battling breast cancer, or heaven forbid, my mother, my sister-in-law, or one of my friends.
If you want to join me, I’ll be participating in San Francisco’s race on Sunday, September 23, 2007 at 7:30 am along the Embarcadero near the Ferry Building. For more details on the San Francisco race, visit the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Web site. Or you can visit the national site to find information on a race in a city close to you.
Anyone can participate, whether you’ve lost someone to breast cancer or you just want to help find a cure. If you can’t make it, you can always help financially by making a donation. Everything helps.