Back home in Albany, in the office at the top of the stairs, are certificates hanging from the wall signifying the completion of several New York City Marathons. Ever since third grade, the school year during which I realized I was definitely not a natural long distance runner, I have had the utmost respect for my father for completing those races. Every now and again while growing up I would look at those certificates and tell myself that one day I would run a marathon. This November, I have the opportunity to do just that. I will be running the New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 5th as a member of Team Bright Pink. Bright Pink is a national non-profit organization focused on the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women, mainly ages 18-45. Here are some statistics on breast and ovarian cancer that I found alarming:
-1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer
-1 in 75 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer, with two thirds of those diagnosed with ovarian cancer dying as a result.
I suspect that many of you have known someone diagnosed with breast and ovarian cancer and this disease is not a stranger to you. Before I tell you why I chose to run as a member of Team Bright Pink, I wanted to highlight that I have been blessed to have strong, smart, active and loving women in my family. Many of you know my mother and sister, both for whom I’d go to the end of the world, but most of you are less familiar with my grandmothers, who I hold in the highest regard. My mother’s mother, at age 94, not only continues to work as a therapist, but is still engaged in and supportive of the goals and endeavors of her 5 children, 12 grandchildren, and their respective families. My dad’s mother passed away at age 92 from both ovarian and breast cancer during my sophomore year of high school following a healthy life, which consisted of traveling and kickboxing well into her 80’s. These are just some of the traits that made these women immortal in my eyes. Some of you may be asking “I though Bright Pink benefited young women? Early 90’s isn’t really ‘young’.” I would agree with you and acknowledge that my experiences don’t align perfectly with Bright Pink’s initiative to educate young women. But because I always find it difficult to come to terms with mortality, I want to support an organization that not only helps prevent breast and ovarian cancer from taking away the immortal women in your lives before it is their time to go, but also allows for these important women to live to be vibrant older women just like my two grandmothers.
Some of my closest friends’ family members and some of my parents’ great friends have been diagnosed with breast cancer. As an observer of each of their experiences, I’ve learned that it not only takes a strong individual to have a shot at beating cancer, but it also takes the knowledge and familiarity of the risks faced, starting from prevention all the way through and beyond remission. Bright Pink tackles second obstacle by offering educational services to both young women and health providers so that they are better equipped to prevent, detect, and more confidently handle the risks associated with breast and ovarian cancers. I hope you all consider making a donation to Bright Pink via my fundraising page. Donations are tax deductible and gifts of any size can make a positive impact. Just $2.50 can empower education for one woman. To learn more about the organization, visit www.brightpink.org.
Thank you for your consideration,