I have to say that I have avoided writing this for two main reasons. The first reason is because this is still something that weighs heavy on my heart and I knew it would be a difficult process... The second is because I wanted to make it clear that while I am running the Pittsburgh Half Marathon, and I am running for my cousin, Sasi... I am not raising money for the marathon, I am just hoping to raise money in memory of her and for every single individual who has been affected by cancer in one way or another. We lost Sasi December 30, 2015. One of things she and I had briefly discussed before she passed was raising money for the American Cancer Society or a charity for Endometrial Cancer. I have since decided I want it to be specific to her life, so I opted to find a charity for endometrial cancer. Let me tell you, it was really hard to find a charity that specifically supported that type of cancer! There were a lot of causes that supported breast cancer awareness, or ovarian cancer, but not endometrial. After some searching, I came across the Foundation for Women's Cancer, which was specifically targeted awareness for various types of gynecologic cancer. There are so many types of gynecologic cancer... take a minute to research it and don't be afraid to talk about it.
My goal is to raise $500 to donate to this charity. $500 does not even begin to signify how much this woman meant to me and in reality, is not much money. But it's for a good cause, it's in her memory, and it's for me. She played a tremendous role throughout my entire life and has equally been a tremendous loss... so, I need to create some good out of it.
My cousin was kind, beautiful, thoughtful, and supportive. She could be direct & bossy, but it was always with love. Two main characteristics stand out to me when I think of her. Sasi had this amazing ability to make me (and I'm sure anyone who came into contact with her) feel welcome, ,and at ease the moment I was in her presence. She was just so easygoing and could carry on a conversation about anything. This is definitely not a skill everyone has and I loved that about her. The other trait that stands out is just how caring of an individual she was. Sasi took care of everyone, thought of everyone, and was there for everyone... She was a caretaker.
I think one of the things that makes this hard is that she was always a constant in my life. She was there from the day I was born until she wasn't. There was a point where my family lived with hers. She was closer than the word "cousin" sounds to me. She was part of my second family, the oldest of my 3 cousins, and the one who got to sit at the adult table when the rest of us didn't. We didn't see each other all the time, but to have that time and those opportunites taken away from me has been painful. I think about her on a daily basis and I am so grateful (and continue to work on focusing on being grateful) that she was in my life for 33 years and that I got to call her my family.
I run today with her in my heart and in my mind, as she usually is when I run... :)