Archive for 2011

As I write this, it has been exactly two weeks since Jane and I finished walking SIXTY miles in three days in the Chicago version of the Komen3Day for the Cure.

We were both thrilled to have finished, exhausted and blistered, but happy and proud. The walk’s closing ceremony, held just outside Soldier Field as a thunderstorm approached, was inspiring, but, truthfully, I just wished I could sit down.

Sixty miles is a long way. I was really tired.

Two weeks later, though, it’s not really the mileage and the physical part of the walk that has stuck with me.  My blisters have healed, and I no longer stagger when I get up from a chair.

What I remember most are the stories.

I can see the face of the woman who, on the last Sunday of the walk, was exactly three years out from her last chemo treatment. Walking next to her was her 14-year-old daughter. We didn’t have to ask why she was walking.

I met another woman who told me one evening as we both waited for some expert stretching by volunteer chiropractic students about how her best friends hadn’t really wanted to talk about her doing this walk. How she felt as though they thought her breast cancer (she is a two-year survivor) might still be catching. I can still see the hurt on her face.

I remember the guy in the shiny pink satin bra (really) who had already done two of the “3days” this summer; there are 12 altogether. I never heard his connection to breast cancer, but he always had a smile and a topic of conversation to focus on,

even when the going got tough.

Jane and I caught up on her job, my job, her husband, my husband, her daughter, my son. We laughed. We trudged. We slept (in pink tents). We didn’t sleep (it was really hot). We enjoyed all of the wonderful distractions that the towns we walked through put out for us, from cute cops in pink uniform shirts to popsicles and stickers and cookies.

I was particularly touched by a lone woman who sat on her stoop on Foster Street in Chicago and threw rose petals at us as we walked past. “Thank you, thank you,” she said. “You should be walking on rose petals.”

And the crossing volunteer at a busy downtown Chicago lakefront intersection telling perfect strangers on that brilliant last afternoon, “See these women? They have walked almost 60 miles, and raised more than $5 million for breast cancer. I am so proud of them.”

That’s right: 1,900 walkers in Chicago raised $5.1 million for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which will fund everything from support groups to advanced research to targeted genetic therapies to mastectomy rehab. That makes me really proud.

What I am most happy about, though, is that women with breast cancer now have hope. They have therapies to try. They can talk about their anger, their fear, their chemo. Even with perfect strangers.

When my mom was first diagnosed, it was sometime in the 1970s, before Betty Ford talked about her mastectomy, and long before survivors in pink boas wore t-shirts that crowed, “Save the Ta-tas” and danced together to “We Will Survive.”

We didn’t really talk about mom’s breast cancer. I don’t know to this day what kind she had, or what she did about it. I don’t really even know how old she was when she was diagnosed. When she died, we were so young. We’ve missed so much without her.

But what I DO know is that my walk and the money it raised, thanks to so many of you, means that we can keep moving forward in the fight against breast cancer. Altogether, with your help, I raised $3,635! That means more women will join that survivor circle, and more daughters will be able to celebrate graduations, grandchildren and all of the other milestones that make life so sweet. Together.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your support, your gifts and your belief in what I did in Chicago two weeks ago.

No Comments | Category: Uncategorized

7″ />Finally, we are less than a week away from the start of the Komen 3Day for the Cure, the 60-mile walk for breast cancer research and awareness than Jane and I are taking on in Chicago. I did my last long walk yesterday — 10 miles — and I am more than ready to get going. Andy and Tomas are eager for me to get going, too. Last week Tomas said, “Mom, do you think you are overthinking this?” Gotta love that kid.

I probably am, from the stuff I need to take to how I’ll pack to whether I’ll be in good enough shape to finish without misery. Here are a few things I’ve been thinking about.

First, I have really enjoyed having a big, audacious goal — like walking 60 miles — to train for. Not that smaller, incremental goals aren’t great (hey, I help run the St. Mary’s Annual Fund, after all), but I have realized that a certain kind of motivation for me has always come from thinking about doing something I wasn’t really sure I could do. Like help run the St. Mary’s Annual Fund (now that I think of it). Like trying out for field hockey in college. Like singing a solo in church on Sunday. I enjoy a challenge, obviously. But I am surprised how much I enjoy a BIG challenge.

Next, I am awed and touched by the number of my friends and family who have supported me by donating to my walk. As I write this, I have exceeded the required fundraising goal by more than $1,000 — I am currently at $3,410, thanks to all of you. (Click HERE if you’d like to add your support to my Donor Honor Roll.) I know that what you support with your money says a lot, and I am truly grateful for everyone who is “with” me on this walk. (Including Buster Caywood, our dear friends Mary and Dave’s golden, who was the very first donor!)

I have realized in the last few weeks that as people ask about the specifics of our walk, I have left out a key piece of information: We will be SLEEPING IN TENTS every night. Yep, after we walk 22 miles on Friday, we’ll pitch our pink Komen tents, head off to the showers they set up for us in semi-trailers, and sit down at picnic tables for our hot dinner. My race credential, which I downloaded Friday, has my “tent address” on it. So the challenge of this event is as much the camping as the walking. Above you’ll find a (not very good) photo I found of the tents at a past event. I can hear you all laughing at the thought of Jane and me sharing one. Me, too.

My last thought for the day, before I head off to round up the last of my event equipment: I sure do miss my mom. I don’t think about her every day any more, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think of her often, and getting ready to do this event has brought me close to tears — again — much more often than usual. She’s been gone more than 23 years now, but some days it still seems like last week. I have SO many questions I wish I could ask her, from the silly — was I as goofy in 7th grade as Tomas sometimes is? Should I spend the money to fix my front teeth? What should I make for dinner tonight? — to the profound.

Breast cancer has taken SO many good women and men too soon. Each week I hear about someone else who is fighting — Rachel, I am thinking of you — and I feel like doing this walk, raising this money and awareness, might make a difference for them.

More details before we hit the road … and maybe some photos of the intrepid walkers themselves. Thanks again, everyone, for your support.Rich Text AreaToolbarBold (Ctrl / Alt + Shift + B)Italic (Ctrl / Alt + Shift + I)Strikethrough (Alt + Shift + D)UnderlineUnordered list (Alt + Shift + U)Ordered list (Alt + Shift + O)OutdentIndentAlign Left (Alt + Shift + L)Align Center (Alt + Shift + C)Align Right (Alt + Shift + R)Insert/edit link (Alt + Shift + A)Unlink (Alt + Shift + S)Insert/edit imageEdit CSS StyleInsert More Tag (Alt + Shift + T)Insert Page break (Alt + Shift + P)Toggle spellchecker (Alt + Shift + N)?
FindToggle fullscreen mode (Alt + Shift + G)Show/Hide Kitchen Sink (Alt + Shift + Z)Insert Poll
Font sizeFont size?
FormatFormat?
Paste as Plain TextPaste from WordRemove formattingInsert custom characterPrintSelect text color?
EmotionsSuperscriptSubscriptInsert / edit embedded mediaUndo (Ctrl + Z)Redo (Ctrl + Y)Insert/Edit AttributesHelp (Alt + Shift + H)

Finally, we are less than a week away from the start of the Komen 3Day for the Cure, the 60-mile walk for breast

cancer research and awareness than Jane and I are taking on in Chicago. I did my last long walk yesterday — 10 miles — and I am more than ready to get going. Andy and Tomas are eager for me to get going, too. Last week Tomas said, “Mom, do you think you are overthinking this?” Gotta love that kid.
I probably am, from the stuff I need to take to how I’ll pack to whether I’ll be in good enough shape to finish without misery. Here are a few things I’ve been thinking about.
First, I have really enjoyed having a big, audacious goal — like walking 60 miles — to train for. Not that smaller, incremental goals aren’t great (hey, I help run the St. Mary’s Annual Fund, after all), but I have realized that a certain kind of motivation for me has always come from thinking about doing something I wasn’t really sure I could do. Like help run the St. Mary’s Annual Fund (now that I think of it). Like trying out for field hockey in college. Like singing a solo in church on Sunday. I enjoy a challenge, obviously. But I am surprised how much I enjoy a BIG challenge.
Next, I am awed and touched by the number of my friends and family who have supported me by donating to my walk. As I write this, I have exceeded the required fundraising goal by more than $1,000 — I am currently at $3,410, thanks to all of you. (Click HERE if you’d like to add your support to my Donor Honor Roll.) I know that what you support with your money says a lot, and I am truly grateful for everyone who is “with” me on this walk. (Including Buster Caywood, our dear friends Mary and Dave’s golden, who was the very first donor!)
I have realized in the last few weeks that as people ask about the specifics of our walk, I have left out a key piece of information: We will be SLEEPING IN TENTS every night. Yep, after we walk 22 miles on Friday, we’ll pitch our pink Komen tents, head off to the showers they set up for us in semi-trailers, and sit down at picnic tables for our hot dinner. My race credential, which I downloaded Friday, has my “tent address” on it. So the challenge of this event is as much the camping as the walking. Above you’ll find a (not very good) photo I found of the tents at a past event. I can hear you all laughing at the thought of Jane and me sharing one. Me, too.
My last thought for the day, before I head off to round up the last of my event equipment: I sure do miss my mom. I don’t think about her every day any more, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think of her often, and getting ready to do this event has brought me close to tears — again — much more often than usual. She’s been gone more than 23 years now, but some days it still seems like last week. I have SO many questions I wish I could ask her, from the silly — was I as goofy in 7th grade as Tomas sometimes is? Should I spend the money to fix my front teeth? What should I make for dinner tonight? — to the profound.
Breast cancer has taken SO many good women and men too soon. Each week I hear about someone else who is fighting — Rachel, I am thinking of you — and I feel like doing this walk, raising this money and awareness, might make a difference for them.
More details before we hit the road … and maybe some photos of the intrepid walkers themselves. Thanks again, everyone, for your support.
Path:

No Comments | Category: Uncategorized

When I tell people I am going to walk 60 miles in a couple of weeks for breast cancer research and awareness, they often shake their heads. Maybe it has to do with the fact that it’s been near 100 degrees in Memphis for the last few days (I walked 10 miles yesterday morning before it got too bad), but sometimes you can tell people think the whole idea is sort of goofy. Like, what am I trying to prove, anyway?

I don’t know Diana Nyad, but I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t think that.

You see, Nyad is a world-record-holding marathon swimmer, who, after 30 years out of the water, is about to attempt a swim she failed at when she was (much) younger — 103 miles from Cuba to the Florida Keys. Without a shark cage. It’s going to take 60 hours. The best part: Nyad is 61. (That’s Diana’s little arm, stroking out of the water, on one of her training swims, from a photo that ran with the New York Times story about her quest. Her training swims last NINE hours. I love this photo.)

I am completely taken with Nyad’s challenge, and have been thinking about her nearly every day, as I drag myself out of bed at dawn to walk.

“Why would she want to do that?” asked Tomas today when I told him about her. I guess it is pretty difficult to explain why someone wants to do any endurance event,

even one as (relatively) tame as walking 60 miles for breast cancer.

But here’s why: To prove that you can still do great things, even when you are 61 (or 51, as the case may be). To get yourself in shape, to feel your body respond (I actually felt pretty good this weekend as I cruised over the Auction Avenue bridge at the end of my long walk, pouring sweat). To have a goal that doesn’t involve checking things off a work to-do list, or remembering someone else’s soccer cleats or homework. To be forced to spend time inside your own head, figuring out the big questions that are easy to avoid during regular life.

I hope Nyad will accomplish her goal, and climb out of the sea at Key West, into the arms of her friends. For some reason, I feel like she has a much better chance at 61 than she did on her first try, though maybe I’m just taken with her fascinating blog, and all of the details of this major undertaking.

I know one thing: I will be rooting for you, Diana, to be strong, and swim past the sharks, the jellyfish, and the doubters. I’ll be walking right along with you.

No Comments | Category: Healthy Self

Every day when I pick him up, it’s the same: “How was camp?” I ask. “Great!” he answers, still sweaty from the pickup project payday reviews football/soccer game he and his pals have just been paydayloansusca.com playing.

Camp these last two direct payday lenders weeks has been Future Builders, the everyone-can-come version for middle schoolers of Bridge Builders, which is something high schoolers need to apply for and be sponsored to do. I am always on the lookout for places for Tomas (and me, too) to meet people

payday loan today

who ace payday loan are different from him, racially, economically, socially. I mean, this is Memphis, after all. But in 2011, we payday loans no credit check all need to paydayadvanceusca.com know how to do that.

With Future Builders, we hit the jackpot. What a terrific program.

As with everything these days with my rising seventh grader, I sometimes have to wait for the good stuff. The other night over payday loans no credit checks dinner, I tried again: “So, what do you payday loan direct lender talk about at camp?”

Well, racism, he said, and began to tell me how sometimes people “stereotype other people,” and think they know about them just because of how they look. He was obviously quite clear about it, and eager to explain how it happens.

“Are you a racist?” I asked him at one point. It’s a tough question, and one I heard the great Lucius Burch once say everyone ought to consider.

“Sometimes,” he said. You could have knocked me over with a feather.

It took moving to Memphis, a city in which I am a minority, for payday me to finally understand the corrosive power of the snap judgments we make about people because http://paydayloansnearmeus.com/ of their race, their politics, the way they look, where they live. I am so grateful that my son, a Memphis native, is able to http://paydayloansusca.com/ learn how to ask the tough questions at the tender age of 11. And isn’t fazed one bit by whatever answers he comes up with.

Thanks, Future Builders.

No Comments | Category: Parenthood

I think I’ve passed some kind of milestone in my training for the Komen 3Day, a 60-mile, three-day festival of pink that my sister Jane and I are planning to walk in Chicago in August.

I no longer worry that I won’t make it — I’ve been clipping off 17-minute miles, which is not that much slower than I run. I’ve become comfortable with being soaked in sweat by the time I get to the end of my street, a logical by-product of training in the summer in Memphis. I haven’t lost much (any?) weight, but my clothes are beginning to fit noticeably better. I’ve read much more about what this event entails, and when I found out that the end of the walk — the 60th mile — will be at Soldier Field, I started really getting excited.

(I’m almost halfway to my fundraising goal, too. Here’s a link to my Personal Page if you’d like to help me get a little closer.)

What’s different is that I have begun to use my walks to think, really think, about why I am doing this. And what comes into my head are the faces of women I knew when we were younger, much younger, and everything was about possibility. We were studying to be doctors, lawyers, journalists, engineers, English professors, physical therapists. We had no doubt we would be changing the world, or at least that we’d have all kinds of options. And we were having FUN. If you don’t believe me, look at those faces in the photo with this post. (That’s Pledge Night at Theta at Northwestern, circa 1979. I’m happy to say that I still know most

of the women in this photo. That’s me on the far left.)

My mother’s breast cancer changed all that. I ended up being a journalist after all, but I was no longer that carefree girl in the photo. The moment she died, on Good Friday in 1988, my childhood was over. I knew it as surely as if someone had turned a calendar page, or turned off a light.

Don’t get me wrong: I still have fun. And I have been incredibly lucky to have a terrific husband, a wonderful son, great friends and good work. But I am only now beginning to realize how awfully YOUNG I was when she died, and how much I needed her experience, advice, and unconditional love. How much I still need it.

And that is why I am walking. All the way to Soldier Field.

No Comments | Category: Healthy Self

Please download the latest version of Adobe Flash Player, or enable JavaScript for your browser to view the video player.

Party Line photos

Miss the Party Line photos that were once featured in this space? Visit the GoMemphis Parties section to see photos, video and more!

iDiva Newsletter

Never miss a blog post, read The Diva's weekly column before it's in the paper, and other cool stuff: Enter your e-mail below to subscribe to the weekly iDiva Memphis newsletter.

Events