What an amazing weekend! I have not said much here about the Booty Run as I posted a lot about it on Facebook. The Booty Run was my best friend Louise’s event to honor me and all colon cancer patients. She, with the help of extraordinary friends, organized a 5K run/walk to raise awareness for colon cancer. She wanted to do something for me from the beginning but I couldn’t really assign her any tasks as I have been truly blessed with all the “help” I needed. I am fortunate to be in a good place despite my diagnosis and this is why it was important to me that any money raised go to benefit others who needed it. Louise has been working really hard all year long to organize this 5K with the help of many extraordinary and fabulous friends. Sandy, Michelle, and Tish amongst others and Teresa, Debbie, Laurence, Barbara and Angela who joined later on. I have been involved in the background, mainly wrapping up loose ends and helping to connect people. The event was a total success. We were told that for a first race, between 75 and 100 participants would be considered a “good turnout”. We ended up with 298 runners!!! We had the most beautiful day and for Florida, it was a cool evening, just perfect for the race. My boys have been obsessed with Captain America and we decided that our family would all dress up as Captain America – colon cancer’s color is blue so it worked out perfectly. We have all been fighting as a family, my kids and my husband have been amazing so I thought superhero suits would be the way to go. After all, Captain America’s body is said to produce a “super-soldier serum” that gives him his strength and endurance, lets hope that our bodies continue to produce that serum too, as we all have fared pretty well this year! The biggest surprise of the day was my brother and his family coming down for the race (all the way down from Connecticut!). They surprised me at a local restaurant for lunch the day of the race, I was very touched and moved by them coming down to support me. My fellow fighter friend from Tampa also came with her family and we all had a wonderful weekend together. Right before the race started, my friend Louise gave a little speech about me and my battle and everybody cheered me on. It was a very empowering feeling and as people passed me during the race, many (strangers) came up to me to give me words of encouragement. I felt truly blessed and really loved, I have so much to fight for!
As the dust settles, I will start on my goal to increase resources for other people battling cancer in our community as I have come to realize that there were very few services here. In my post “Navigating the land mines”, I discussed how receiving a cancer diagnosis is like “being thrown out of a helicopter over a guerrilla war zone with a parachute, but with no compass, no weapons, no map, and no training in survival”. This is so true. Your medical team will tell you what to do “medically” but then you are left to your own devices to figure what to do and where to go when your hair starts falling off, what natural supplements can benefit you while undergoing treatment, what exercise could benefit you and so on and so forth. You are left with the daunting task to do your own research. Having all the resources on a webpage could be helpful, a printed booklet would be nice too but as businesses come and go, it is often easier to posts things online. This said, being involved with the organization of the race made me realize that I needed to become involved as an advocate for colon cancer. There are two things that I am very passionate about. The increase in colon cancer rates in young people is alarming. Both the general population and doctors need to be aware so that people don’t go misdiagnosed. There are many stories of young people not getting colonoscopies because their doctor would tell them they were “too young” to have colon cancer. Colon cancer is treatable when caught early and sadly young people tend to get diagnosed when the cancer has already reached advanced stages. The other topic that I am very passionate about is having more psychological resources for cancer patients. Living with cancer brings a lot of anxiety and depression. The signs and symptoms need to be recognized by the oncologists so that people can be appropriately referred for treatment. This is actually one of ASCO’s (American Society of Clinical Oncology) guidelines for this year. I have some ideas and will write more on this later.
Thank you to all who made the Booty Run such a memorable evening and thank you to Elvis and Deluxe Mojo for entertaining us!