Not Alone

8 Feb

Many of you may have heard of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Or perhaps you’ve heard of the Komen Race for the Cure which takes place in cities all over the U.S. each year. At the very least, you have probably come across some of the pink Komen merchandise (water bottles, watches, kitchen utensils, etc.) displaying their running pink ribbon logo. Seems like it’s on display everywhere.

Komen is big. But I wonder how many of you know the story behind the Komen name. Or the sisters…

Susan G. Komen fought breast cancer with her heart, body and soul. Throughout her diagnosis, treatments, and endless days in the hospital, she spent her time thinking of ways to make life better for other women battling breast cancer instead of worrying about her own situation. Moved by Susan’s compassion for others and commitment to making a difference, Nancy G. Brinker promised her sister that she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer.

Though Susan lost her battle with the disease, her legacy lives on through the work of Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, the organization Nancy started in her honor. Komen for the Cure is the global leader of the breast cancer movement, having invested more than $1 billion since its inception in 1982. Komen’s promise is to save lives and end breast cancer forever by empowering people, ensuring quality care for all and energizing science to find the cures. (

For the past few years, my family and I have participated in the Komen Race for the Cure in Boise. This incredible annual event:

  • raises significant funds and awareness for the fight against breast cancer
  • celebrates breast cancer survivorship and honors those who have lost their battle with the disease
  • promotes awareness, education, and early detection of breast cancer

The first Komen Boise Race for the Cure was held in 1999. Over 6,500 people participated — the largest participation level ever for a Komen first year race. Last year, over 16,000 people participated in the race, making it the largest in the Boise’s race history. This year, it is anticipated that even more people will participate. My family and I plan to race with them on Saturday, May 7, 2011.

Komen’s Boise affiliate asked me to write an article for their newsletter. It was published in their February issue. I’d like to share it with you.

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Not Alone

When I turned 40, I went in for my very first mammogram. It was just routine. I had no lump, no pain, no symptoms whatsoever — but I soon found out that I did have breast cancer. It was invasive and we had not caught it early. That was pretty much my worst birthday ever, but if I hadn’t gotten that mammogram, it probably would have been my last.

I remember feeling scared and lost and alone. My husband, Dan, had heard about the Komen Race for the Cure. He insisted we go and began gathering donations. I wanted no part of it. Dan practically had to drag me to Boise the morning of the race. While he ran, I stood on the sidelines and watched. Tears filled my eyes as countless survivors, both young and old, passed in front of me. These amazing women, surrounded by family and friends, did not look the tiniest bit scared or lost or alone. I wondered if I could ever have the courage to be like them.

Today I am a four-year survivor. Each year Dan, our three children, and I participate in the Race along with thousands of other people. The Race allows us to encourage and support each other. It helps us cope and heal. It gives us hope that perhaps our daughters will not have to go through what we have experienced. And, most of all, it reminds us that we are not alone in the fight against breast cancer.


2 Responses to “Not Alone”

  1. Janet Lea February 9, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

    Dear Friend, You will never know how many people in your life are part of your journey. Some you know and some you don’t. Anyone who has been there or has someone who is or has been is part by association and will remember your blog & your helpful/cheerfulness. Love you!

  2. writergirldreams February 18, 2011 at 8:11 pm #

    I sure love that photo of you and Hubby. How blessed you both are to walk together through this life. What a handsome couple you are. We sure did take “in sickness and in health” to the Nth degree, didn’t we Jill? Every day, I am thankful if it had to be somebody, I’m thankful it was me. I don’t think I could handle it if he had been the one with cancer. Weird, to regard that as a blessing, but I know you understand this Jill.

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