Upcoming Events: May 21, 2016-- Beak & Skiff Orchard Run; October 9, 2016 The Empire State Marathon
April 26, 2016
BENEFITING: Remember Betty Foundation
EVENT DATE: May 21, 2016
So many times I have been asked, “Why do you do this?” “Why are you involved with this cause?” The answer is actually quite simple. I care and want to make a difference. I have seen what this disease does first hand. I have lived the sadness and heartache that goes along with finding out someone you love has breast cancer. My mom was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1995. It was my freshman year of college. I was away at school (with my mom’s blessing) while she underwent most of her chemotherapy and radiation treatments. When you know someone that has cancer all you want to do is rid them of the pain and suffering and show them you care. As I could not be there physically I relied on other ways to make sure she knew how much I loved her and that I was rooting for her. The things that have always meant a lot to her (a phone call, a visit, a card, or a special gift) were even more meaningful to her throughout this journey. She has always been strong willed, but no one can fight this disease on their own. She was grateful to those who took the time to let her know they cared. She needed the reminders of love and encouragement to help her fight. After enduring many rounds of chemotherapy, radiation, and suffering through the side effects she won her battle. Throughout the years she has followed up with her doctors, encouraged me to do the same—as much as I dread this every year, and to make healthy choices in hopes of decreasing the risks of breast cancer. I wish this is where her story ended. Just before the Holidays in 2014, my mom went to her routine yearly checkup. As it would turn out it would be anything, but routine. A shadow turned up on a few of the screenings. A few days later she went for additional tests and a few days after that… she was informed that she once again had breast cancer! When she sat me down to tell me I wasn’t sure what to do. I’m not even sure I heard her. My heart just sank. Initially I think we were all completely shocked! I mean I thought how can this be? There has to be some mistake?! Please let it be a mistake?! After all she had been cancer free for almost 19 years! She did everything she was supposed to do. Why? No one should have cancer once let alone twice in a lifetime. As you might imagine it was a lot to process. My mom quickly took matters into her hands and determine a course of action. She underwent surgery and started chemotherapy. It would turn out that it was stage 3 and had metastasized to several lymph nodes. After several months of treatments, countless doctor’s appointments, and of course enduring all the side effects that come with the disease I am happy to report she is in recovery!! Once again I found myself not being able to be with her during this time as I live several hours away. I had to ask myself-- what can I do? I turned to the “little things” that I know mean so much. A phone call, a text, a photograph of her grandchildren participating in a sporting event or just being silly, an impromptu visit, and anything else that I can think of to let her know that we are with her every step of the way. Many times I have heard her thank family members, friends, and acquaintances for their support. I thank you too. I wholeheartedly believe this is where her motivation to beat this awful disease comes from and that is why-- “I do what I do.” I wish more than anything that there was a cure. Until that day comes I will continue to focus my efforts on helping breast cancer patients and survivors, like my mom, in any small way that I can. Remember Betty is an organization that fundraises to ease the financial burden associated with the many costs of breast cancer so that patients and survivors can focus on recovery and quality of life. What some may not realize is they do so much more! Last year I was fortunate to participate in the 15 Project. I hand delivered a chemotherapy care basket to a woman who was in recovery. She was so appreciative that so many people contributed to the basket and that someone selected her to receive it. The basket was a message sent out of love, support, and encouragement and full of all “the little things” I know have a lot of meaning to someone fighting cancer. It was also this organization that inspired me to run my first full marathon last year. I continue to run representing Remember Betty in local events. I hope to recruit others to join me!! Your donations mean so much and I hope you continue to support me and my team members-- TeamBettySyracuse. I have seen the awful effects of this disease, but I have also seen the difference that the “little things” can make in providing support to others. Together we can keep the spirit of Betty Wood, for whom the organization is named, alive by helping those fighting breast cancer. #UntilThereIsACure For information or to join this team please follow @TeamBettyCuse on Twitter.