I have wanted to participate in the Breast Cancer 3-Day (benefitting Susan G. Komen for the Cure) ever since I first heard about it a few years ago. I don't know exactly why walking 60 miles in three days appeals to me... Actually, anything in the name of breast cancer awareness always catches my eye. Not only do I love that pink ribbon, my family has witnessed one of our own battling breast cancer.
Nancy is my mother's sister, and she's always made an effort to be close to my family despite the 3,000-mile distance between us. We're both the youngest of three siblings, so I felt I had more of a right to her than either of my sisters when we were growing up. Certain birthdays meant extra-special gifts for us: for example, a week's vacation visiting her when we each turned 13. She even spent a year learning how to bake and decorate cakes, so that she could make a beautiful one for my wedding.
The 3,000 miles separating us felt like about double that when she was being treated for breast cancer. We were extraordinarily lucky—not only is Nancy a proud survivor, she has been for almost six years! Health facts, like the benefits of antioxidants, come up in conversation more often than in years past but otherwise she's still who she's always been: family. Just with battle scars.
To be perfectly honest, it's a little scary having this disease as part of my family's medical history. I've really hit the genetic jackpot: heart disease, diabetes and now breast cancer. At age 27, I'm just starting to take an active interest in taking care of myself. My sisters have set the bar high—they have worked out regularly for years, eat organic food, and truly respect their bodies and their physical (as well as mental) health.
Well, I'm on my way. I've been a member of Curves for a year now, and am about to hit the 100-workout milestone! I've also logged 36.5 miles in pre-training to prepare myself for the rapidly approaching 24-week Training Program for the 3-Day—mostly on the treadmill, but also outside in Michigan's temperamental winter. I am eating more healthily now than I ever have in my adult life. I work on portion control, eating more of the right foods, and drinking lots of water. It's interesting how much I've learned about my body in the process. I'm much more aware of how food and exercise (or lack thereof!) affect how I feel throughout the day.
I'm going to walk in the 3-Day because I want to contribute something—the money I raise will go to breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment. But that's not the only reason I signed up. I'm walking for my Aunt Nancy, to honor her achievement of remaining cancer-free for almost six years. I'm walking for my mom, Linda, who has been participating in The Sister Study, a long-term national study to learn how environment and genes affect the chances of getting breast cancer. I'm walking for my sisters, Mollie and Annie, who also have to include breast cancer in their family medical history. I'm walking for me, so I can get in shape and take better care of myself. And I'm walking for you, because everyone deserves a lifetime.
Sixty miles over three days. Needless to say, I'm scared out of my mind.