Recently, my older daughter has been so excited since I announced that she was allowed to express her creative side by making her own poster and banner to display her support for awareness and also celebrate survivorship during the upcoming Annual Breast Cancer walk.
This will be my 4th year participating in the cancer awareness walk, which means it is now an accepted period where I get to drag my entire family with me. Come rain or shine! So by now, I’d figured they were used to it and are immune to community-based activities. Well, till now…Hmm!
So, to my utmost surprise the other day, my 8-year-old-son asked ‘Mommy, why do you walk? You don’t have cancer anymore! It was like a light bulb flickered on in my head! I needed to get my facts right to be able to convince and inspire this young man so he can continue to carry the torch of selflessness in service and spirit of humanitarianism, even when I am long gone…
I looked at him, went down to his level and held his hands “I walk and raise money because I believe that I am supporting an organization that helped save your mom because of their awareness campaign, commitment to fund community education and early diagnosis.
I walk because I have encountered the success of early detection, I walk because I have been on both receiving ends of a diagnosis.
I walk because I feel the pain a family goes through when they are informed about a diagnosis of cancer. I will continue to walk to honor and fight for the people who have died from cancer, or un-aware of how to go about receiving treatment, I will continue to walk to support cancer awareness, treatment and research.
During the WALK, hidden away from everyone around me, I usually get all teary but inspired by the end of the line, I get to meet over 1000 people cheering me on and I get to feel like a celebrity. Awesome!! As I walk through the finish line wearing my survivor medal (which my daughter made for me). Random people hug me, but most importantly – the finish line symbolizes a closure to pain and the beginning of a new life which is my contribution to getting closer to abolishing cancer – in all its forms.
As we get closer to the WALK day, I pray someone will seize the opportunity to find a reason to put everything on hold and join the WALK to support and raise a platform of awareness. To WALK not for recognition and not to make light of the disease, the struggle, or the loss. But to celebrate life and have people express their joy in surviving and living.
And as we all come together to WALK, let’s have in mind that we are making a HUGE difference in the one way we can. In the end, we feel like one community that is doing something extra ordinary. The experience of seeing the survivors walk into the closing ceremonies and the power and strength of those people is a life-altering moment and I feel blessed to be able to be a part of it – every year.
Written for: American Cancer Society.
Written for: TUMBLR Book Club – ‘Real Life Conversation with Yinka.