Three plus years ago my life changed. Instead of being the spouse of a healthy young man, I became the spouse of a cancer patient. Many of you know what I am talking about. Your whole world gets turned upside down. You go to sleep at night wondering what the next day will bring for you and your loved one, or if it will be just you that will wake up the next day wondering how you will get through the rest of your life without that part of you.
Three plus years ago, I didn't know what my life would be like without my husband and I was determined that I wasn't going to find out. I was determined for both of us.
Most of you read my story last year about the plight of my husband, Eddie, who was diagnosed with cancer - not once but twice. I was participating in the Avon Breast Cancer 3-Day. Although my husband did not have breast cancer he did have cancer, and the three day wasn't just about making more women aware about breast cancer it was about making everyone more aware about what cancer can do to an individual, a family.
For me the 3-Day walk proved to be a life changing experience and it helped me to understand more about what my husband had gone through. I experienced pain in walking when my ankle would no longer hold me. I experienced sickness when I woke up on Day 2 of the walk with hypothermia; with residuals on Day 3. But I experienced joy beyond words because I knew that I had overcome all the obstacles that I faced and walked in to the arms of my husband who was there to cheer me in. I felt like Eddie has said to me countless times, " a year ago I couldn't even walk a few steps without pain just look at me now". Today he can run over a mile on the treadmill without hurting.
So some of you may want to know why I am returning. Hadn't I accomplished what I had set out to do last year? Yes, I did. I wanted to make a difference and understand more about what Eddie had gone through. Well I'm returning this year not just for Eddie but for a number of other reasons. One of which is because the fight against cancer hasn't ended. We haven't won yet but we have advanced a little bit farther than we did last year. Last year more than 4,000 individuals participated in the 3-Day and raised $7.5 million dollars for breast cancer and cancer research. We were told we had raised the largest amount of money ever by one group of people. I'm proud to say that of that $7.5 million, I was able to raise $5,000 for the cause.
Another reason why I am returning is because cancer has touched some very special people in my life. The wife of a good friend of mine from work was diagnosed with cancer shortly after Eddie had almost completed his radiation treatment. Her name is Jane. When Eddie and I were told that we could not have children due to his cancer treatment, it was Jane and Ken who opened up their hearts and their lives and gave Eddie and me new hope that our plans to have a family were not over. They shared their personal experiences and let us know that they were there for us if we needed someone to talk to. They let us know we had a friend. When Jane was diagnosed, my heart broke - Eddie and I prayed for her and their family. A few months ago, Jane lost her battle with cancer and left behind not only a wonderful husband but a beautiful daughter as well.
In addition to returning to the 3-Day because of Jane, I have a friend from Johannesburg, South Africa. Her name is Yolanda. Yolanda wanted to pledge towards the cause but due to the distance, she offered prayers for Eddie instead ask me to pray for her friend, Joanne. Joanne was diagnosed with four inoperable malignant brain tumors. She was five months pregnant at the time. Yolanda wrote me recently to tell me that not only did Joanne lose the baby, but she herself lost her battle with cancer.
Another reason for returning will be for my uncle who is dying of cancer and for my Father who was just diagnosed with prostrate cancer, three weeks ago. So you see, my battle with cancer has not ended with Eddie, but continues to rage on for all those who have lost or who are battling it everyday. The people I have mentioned are just a few, but there are hundreds of thousands of people who have lost, coped and have even survived cancer everyday. It is for them that I go back again.
For those of you who may not know much about cancer - (many people don't know that 175,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and the numbers are rising and that more than 42,000 will die), breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women and the leading cause of death among women between the ages of 40 to 55. Currently, one million women in the United States have the disease, but don't know it and they probably won't know about this potentially fatal illness for another five to eight years.
So how can you make a difference?
As much as cancer challenges millions of women, men and children in the U.S., I am asking for you to take on the challenge to help make a difference and be someone's hero. What I hope is that you will find it in your hearts to agree to sponsor me for such a worthy and challenging cause.
Sponsorship does not mean hundreds or thousands of dollars even though it couldn't hurt. But sponsorship can be as little as $1.00 or as great as $1,000 or more. But for those of you who would like to actually have something for your sponsorship, Hair Boutique* has once again agreed to donate a portion of the proceeds from products sold in my name towards the Avon Breast Cancer 3-Day.
I hope that many of you who do not know my story will take the time to read it and for those of you who have read my story and wanted to pledge or sponsor me last year, will do so again this year. Last year you shared an incredible journey with me and allowed me to be your hero, this year I'm asking that you'll be mine.
*Editor's Note: HairBoutique.com donated a percentage of their Marketplace profits to sponsor Tricia Brown in 2000 and have pledged to again provide a donation in 2001.
To make a donation in Tricia's name or to make a pledge for her walk to Avon's Breast Cancer Fund go to: Avon Three Day Walk For Breast Cancer Awareness. Tricia's walker number is: 6008. Enter it into the Walker Number and continue.