BENEFITING: Achilles International Inc.
It has now been six years since I underwent repeat spinal surgery (first one was in January 2005) in order to prevent paralysis in both my legs... six years! I remain ever grateful as I continue to walk, run, dance, and exercise, and I still continue to remind myself that I must never take my body's abilities for granted. Every year around the anniversary of my second surgery, I run a race to celebrate another year of good health and raise money for a cause that is important to me. I will be hitting the Central Park pavement for the fourth year in a row as a participant in the 2016 Achilles Hope and Possibility Race. The race brings together able-bodied athletes and athletes with disabilities to complete the 4 mile run side by side. I support the mission of Achilles International which is to empower people living with physical disabilities to participate in mainstream competitive sports in order to promote achievement and self-esteem and reduce barriers to living an enriched and fulfilled life. This year's race has taken on special meaning, as last year, I was diagnosed as BRCA positive. Education break! The BRCA 1 gene is an inherited genetic risk for breast cancer and ovarian cancer. If a woman tests positive for the gene, the decisions about next steps are guided by either: 1) entering surveillance until early detection of cancer or 2) having prophylactic surgery to drastically reduce the risk of getting cancer (remember when Angelina Jolie had a bilateral mastectomy?). I will be opting for number two in the very near future. As I mentally prepare for my third major surgery before I turn 30, I look forward to taking this day to REALLY acknowledge how meaningful this celebration of health will be for me. Enduring my spinal injury has made me sensitive to the challenges people living with physical disabilities face, and often I can't help but feel that I am just very lucky. I am doubly lucky going into this year's race that science has blessed me with the ability to identify as a PREVIVOR of cancer.. a term that when I ran last year's race, I had no idea would describe me just one year later. The race has become the single most important tradition in my life, and I so look forward to feeling inspired and empowered for another amazing race with some amazing people. I welcome you to join me in this year's extra special celebration of health with a small donation or as a runner if you are in the area. Even $5 will go a long way. Thank you all for continuing this health celebration journey with me! Love and more love, Madh