This event, called “Bubbles and Bling” is a Breakfast at Tiffany’s inspired cocktail party featuring unique entertainment, an open bar, and hors d’oeuvres for everyone in attendance. There will also be a number of additional ways for you to support Komen Atlanta in all of the great work that they do here in Atlanta and as part of the larger network of Susan G. Komen for the Cure affiliates. Finally, one lucky attendee will find a one carat diamond hiding in the bottom of their glass of champagne (hence the “bubbles and bling” name)!
Interested? Excellent! Here are the critical details that you need to know:
Where: Mason Murer Fine Art- 199 Armour Drive, Atlanta, GA 30324
When: Thursday, February 6th from 7 pm – 10 pm (General Admission)
Tickets are $75 and include an open bar and hors d’oeuvres
If you would like to learn more about this event, you can read more on the Komen Atlanta website, here. And if I’ve already convinced you to join me at this cocktail party, you can buy your tickets here.
I know that I still owe everyone a recap on my first half marathon and an update on the results of my Running for the ROC fundraiser. Those posts will be coming, soon. But tonight, I wanted to talk for a minute about Bridget Spence.
Bridget, featured in an ad for Komen for the Cure
Bridget was a member of my pink family. I never had the privilege of meeting Bridget, but as part of the extended 3 Day family, I felt like I knew her. I think a lot of us felt that way. She was so open and honest in her blog, My Big Girl Pants, it was hard not to feel like she was an old friend. Today, we all received word that after a long battle with breast cancer, Bridget passed away last night surrounded by those who truly did know and love her best.
Bridget’s cancer was similar to my mom’s. As similar as a cancer can be, I guess, when it strikes a woman in her early 60s and a young lady in her early 20s. Both of their cancers were/are HER2+, a protein marker that we didn’t even know was a thing until the last two decades. The discovery of HER2+ cancers quickly led to the development of Herceptin, the drug that both my mom and Bridget credited with extending their lives far beyond what used to be expected for Stage IV metastatic breast cancer.
Herceptin is a different kind of drug. The HER2 gene causes cells to express extremely high levels of cell surface receptors that promote improper, aggressive cell division. Herceptin is an antibody that gloms onto those receptors, effectively blocking them from promoting cell division. Unlike other chemo drugs, which interrupt universal cell division processes (and therefore target ALL dividing cells in the body, leading to those side effects that are commonly associated with cancer treatments), Herceptin only affects the cancer cells that are over-expressing these receptors. As a result, it is tolerable for far longer than most chemo drugs. My mom was on Herceptin for the entire first 18 months she was being treated and has been on it continuously since her cancer came back in early 2010. From what she wrote, Bridget was on it for most of her 6+ years of treatment. Herceptin is not a cure in and of itself. Instead, Herceptin keeps the cancer at bay so that individuals like Mom and Bridget can live their lives. Herceptin turns metastatic breast cancer into a chronic condition rather than an immediate death sentence.
Herceptin first gained FDA approval 15 years ago. That’s not that long ago, as far as biomedical breakthroughs go. But scientists aren’t generally the sort to be contented with one breakthrough. Herceptin isn’t perfect. So scientists and the organizations that fund them started asking “What’s next?”. And what was next is TDM-1. TDM-1 is a new drug that is a hybrid of two cancer drugs that we already had: Herceptin plus a super potent molecule of traditional chemotherapy. On its own, that chemo molecule is too damaging to be used in medical care, even for metastatic cancer. It just wouldn’t be tolerable at the doses you’d need to give to get full coverage of a cancer that has spread throughout the body. But! Stick that molecule of super chemo onto a Herceptin molecule, and it’s the equivalent of adding a honing device to missile. Suddenly, the chemo bomb is delivered directly to the cancer cells. That means that far less of the chemo needs to be given to have the same anti-cancer effect. All of the potency, relatively minimal cellular collateral damage. This is what a I truly believe is the future of chemotherapy. And because of Herceptin, HER2+ breast cancer is the first one to have a specific antibody-chemo conjugate that targets it.
TDM-1 was approved for use by the FDA on February 22nd, 2013, when it was rechristened “Kadcyla”. It was in clinical trials last summer when my mom was told that the current treatment she was on might be the last one available to her once her cancer outsmarted it. These last few months have been stressful, wondering what would happen first: would Mom’s cancer would wisen up to the taxotere she was taking and become resistant or would TDM-1 get approved? Thankfully, the clinical trials were successful and the FDA, recognizing the potential in TDM-1, expedited the approval just in time. Mom’s cancer hasn’t yet outsmarted the taxotere. But a few weeks ago, the taxotere outsmarted her lungs and caused significant fluid accumulation, making it unsustainable as a cancer treatment.
When your parent is diagnosed with cancer and you are told that it will be okay, because there are treatments available, you are relieved. You probably don’t give much thought to the people who came before you, who tried all of those experimental drugs and surgeries before we knew what they would do. When you’re told there may not be any more treatments available, it is terrifying. You are obsessed with the clinical trials: who’s in them, what are they experiencing, is it going to work???
You almost never get answers to those questions. Because of Bridget and her honesty, I did. And more importantly, my mom did. That kept Mom fighting so that she would be here for the day that TDM-1 became a reality for her. That’s why Mom is still here, feeling strong and optimistic about this next phase of treatment.
Bridget gave me the greatest gift I have, and probably will ever receive: more time with my mom. That is a priceless gift. In her final blog post back in December, Bridget asked that we not forget her. I know that I absolutely never will.
Ultimately, while I’m bummed that my blogging has slid by the wayside, I think it’s probably okay. I really want to build this short term fellowship opportunity with the Injury Center at the CDC into a full time job and a life-long career in public health, so disappearing down a hole to really focus on my work for a bit is exactly where my primary focus SHOULD be right now. For those who are curious, it has been going well. My project is really starting to take off and I continue to really enjoy both the type of tasks I’ve been assigned (and in some cases voluntarily taken on) and the type of thinking required to complete them. It’s been a challenge, but one that I’ve found very motivating. And I L-O-V-E being a part of the CDC community!
This binder was my best friend for a while back in January.
I should also point out that while I haven’t been blogging, I haven’t completely given up my breast cancer activism either. Back in January, I spent a somewhat delirious week and a half absolutely buried in Komen AtlantaCommunity Grant applications, followed by a fascinating evening listening to really smart, engaged women discuss the merits of the various grantees. It was a great experience throughout and even though the final grantee list for 2013-2014 hasn’t been posted yet, I’m already looking forward to doing it again next year. I’ve also been attending committee chair meetings for the Komen Atlanta Race for the Cure that is fast approaching (May 11th – have you registered yet?). My committee work has been basically non-existant thus far (as Safety Chair, there isn’t much to do until closer to the race date), although that will change this month when my responsibilities really kick in. However, it’s been eye-opening to sit in and listen to the behind-the-scenes chatter of how all of the pieces come together for race day.
The other thing that has been eating up my time in early 2013 has been running. I have been running my butt off this winter. I’ve already notched two PRs and came dang close to a third one, all the while training for my first half marathon that will take place just 12 days from now (EEEK!). I’ve spent a little bit of time over on my Kristen Runs pages updating my race results thus far and I’m in the process of updating my 2013 race schedule as well. You can be sure that I’ll post a quick update once that’s all set, hopefully by next weekend.
All of which brings us nicely to what I HAVEN’T been doing and how I am about to rectify that, starting tonight. And that thing is FUNDRAISING.
Back in January, I had big plans for a post about New Year’s Resolutions and my personal training and fundraising goals for 2013. And then one thing (work deadline!) led to another (grant reviews are due!) led to another (I need to update the race results from last year first… ) led to another (business travel? what’s business travel?) led to another (the dog ate the furniture!)…. and it just never happened, despite having actually set my goals for 2013 weeks and months ago. I wasn’t honestly sure I was going to even dedicate a blog post to my goals this year, but then tonight I saw that no less than Dean Karnazes wrote on Runner’s World that for fitness goals and resolutions, March is the new January, so I’m taking it as a sign. Plus, I clearly need some public accountability since I’ve been slow to get off the ground with some of these. So, without any further fanfare, here are my 2013 goals for (1) Running, (2) Fundraising and (3) Advocacy:
Celebrating at the finish line of the Hot Chocolate 15K in January!
Sub-30 minutes 5K – Not to spoil the ending, but I’ve already done this TWICE this year after never breaking this barrier before!
10K PR – Because I’m SICK of getting slower at the Peachtree every year.
Weekly fundraising updates and monthly training updates here on my blog
At least two blog posts per month not related to my races or fundraising to continue to spread the word about the need for more cancer research funding and how everyone can get involved.
Volunteer with Komen Atlanta or other local cancer not-for-profits at least six times this year (beyond my Race for the Cure and Community Grants commitments). In particular, I’d really love to get more involved with the American Cancer Society.
So those are my goals. Out there for everyone to see and read. I have always been a very goal-oriented person. When I set goals, I intend to do everything in my power to achieve them, even when things get tough and the world seems to be working against me. I WILL reach each of these goals, even those I’m already behind on.
Speaking of which… if you just read my goals, you hopefully just said to yourself, “Wait, if you’re trying to raise $1000 for this Capital Campaign thing by the end of March, why haven’t I heard anything about it???” Well, the reason you haven’t heard anything about it is because it took longer than I anticipated to get everything for that fundraiser up and running. But the good news is, I’m finally ready to kick off that fundraiser, which I’m calling “Run for the ROC“. And I’m doing it TONIGHT, in my very next blog post!
This weekend, October 6-7th, marks the 10th anniversary of the Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer and while it’s too late now to register for this year’s event, I’m here to encourage you to head out for a few hours this weekend and do what my pink people do best: cheer each other on!
The Atlanta 2 Day, which markets itself as “the kinder and gentler breast cancer walk” is put on each year by a local Atlanta 501(c)(3) organization called It’s The Journey, Inc. It’s the Journey was founded in 2002 after the Avon Walk left the Atlanta area as a way of raising funds that will stay entirely within the local area, supporting Georgia breast cancer patients and breast health programs. Officially, the mission statement of It’s the Journey, Inc says:
It’s The Journey, Inc’s mission is to strengthen Georgia’s breast cancer community by raising money and awareness for local organizations that focus on breast cancer education, early detection, awareness and support services, as well as the unmet needs in the breast cancer community.
Over the past nine years, It’s The Journey, Inc has funded 169 grants totaling $8 million to various Georgia and Atlanta-area breast cancer programs and organizations. That’s a huge amount of money for a relatively small group to be investing in breast cancer programs in my adopted home city and I am sure that every single cent is very appreciated by their grantees. More impressively, to my knowledge, the vast majority (if not all) of that money was raised by the participants of the Atlanta 2-Day; I don’t know of any other major fundraisers that It’s The Journey does. So when I say that these 2-Day walkers deserve the support of the greater cancer advocacy community, I really, truly mean it.
As for the specifics, the Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer is modeled after endurance events like the Komen 3-Day for the Cure and the Avon walks. For this event, participants walk 30 miles over two days and “camp out” on Saturday night at their host hotel, which for 2012 is the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. Participants have the option of walking both days, or walking only Saturday (20 miles) or only Sunday (10 miles). As with other multi-day walks, walkers are asked to meet a fairly significant fundraising minimum just to participate. In this case, that means $1000 for 2 day walkers, $750 for Saturday-only walkers, and $500 for Sunday-only walkers. It really is an event that lets you choose exactly the right level of participation for you. They don’t call themselves the kinder, gentler breast cancer walk for nothing!
So, if you have a few free hours this weekend, I highly suggest that you come out and cheer on these walkers as they take on this challenge (perhaps after you’re done with the Making Strides event in the morning!). Opening Ceremonies will take place at 7am on Saturday morning, out on Peachtree Street in front of the Hard Rock Cafe. Following the conclusion of the ceremonies, the walkers will head out on the route. You can view the Saturday morning route here and the Saturday afternoon route here. In general, though, you’ll be able to find the walkers heading east towards Agnes Scott College in Decatur in the morning before turning back towards to downtown after lunch. Official cheering stations are planned throughout the day on Saturday and will probably be the best option for catching the walkers on the route:
Cheering Station 1: Fishburne Parking Deck, Emory University (free on Saturday), 1672 N Decatur Road, Atlanta, GA 30322 from 8:45am – 10:30am
Cheering Station 2: Downtown Decatur, at the intersection of Church Street and Sycamore Street from 10:00am – 12:30pm
Cheering Station 3: Candler Park Village, at the corner of McLendon Avenue and Clifton Road from 1:00pm – 4:00pm
In addition, you can cheer for the walkers as the return back to the Marriott Marquis after a long day of walking as well. The hotel is located at 265 Peachtree Center Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30303. It’s The Journey asks that you cheer on the Courtland Street side of the hotel. They expect walkers to be returning between 2:30 and 5:30pm.
Sunday’s festivities will also kick off with Opening Ceremonies, this time at 7:30am in the Atrium Ballroom at the Marriott Marquis downtown. From there, the walkers will be walking north from their hotel up to Atlantic Station. Closing Ceremonies are planned for noon on Sunday at Atlantic Station. You can view the complete Sunday route here. There are no planned cheering stations on Sunday besides at Atlantic Station as the walkers are finishing.
In the past, I’ve expressed my hesitation in promoting and encouraging It’s The Journey, Inc and the Atlanta 2-Day. It really bothers me that It’s The Journey positions this great walk as a competitor to the 3-Day and other multi-day breast cancer walks, rather than as an additional walk. I thoroughly believe that there are plenty of passionate advocates that will fill up however many walks we need to have in order to raise enough money to finally cure cancer. There is no need for cancer organizations to compete with each other. If your organization is doing good work (and I think It’s The Journey ultimately is), people will take part in your events. I really wish It’s The Journey would figure that out and change their marketing going forward. Regardless of if they actually do make changes, the walkers that take part in the Atlanta 2 Day aren’t doing this walk to spite some other organization (I hope!). They’re doing it because they want to contribute to the fight against breast cancer. And seriously? $8 million dollars for local breast cancer centers and patient support programs? That’s AMAZING. These walkers deserve everyone’s respect and encouragement for their hard work. They’ve earned it, regardless of my feelings about how It’s The Journey chooses to promote their walk.
So, with that, I say:
GO ATLANTA 2 DAY WALKERS!! TURN OUR CITY PINK THIS WEEKEND!!
With Breast Cancer Awareness Month right around the corner, the number of “pink” events taking place here in Atlanta and all over the country is growing by the day! One series of events that kicks off this weekend is the Young Survival Coalition’s Tour de Pink bike rides to raise money for their outreach, education, and advocacy programs. I’m planning to attend the ride here in Atlanta this weekend as a spectator and I’m hoping that I can convince you to as well!
About the Young Survival Coalition
The Young Survival Coalition (or YSC) is, per their website, the premier global organization dedicated to the critical issues unique to young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer. YSC was founded in 1998 by three women who had all been diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 35. Recognizing the relative rarity of their situation and the unique issues facing young women with breast cancer, YSC was born. YSC is head-quartered in New York City and currently has affililiates in 30 cities across the United States.
The primary goal of YSC is to improve and increase both the quality and quantity of life for young breast cancer patients and survivors. To achieve this, YSC focuses its efforts on three fronts:
Advocacy – YSC advocates for increased research attention focused on the unique issues facing young women with breast cancer, including higher mortality rates, body image issues, and survivorship questions about things such as fertility and early menopause. Through their “Reach Up and Speak Out” programs, YSC is working to empower and unite the voices in the young survivor community to shine a spotlight on a much needed area of increased research.
Education – Breast cancer in young people is not the same as breast cancer in post-menopausal women. YSC provides educational information and leads seminars to help highlight these differences and educate young women with breast cancer so that they can make informed choices about their own care and treatment. Moreover, YSC dedicates considerable efforts to increasing awareness of breast cancer in younger women, emphasizing that this is not a disease that limits itself to older women.
Community building and patient support – The community of young breast cancer survivors is relatively small, leading these women to often feel out of place or overlooked at traditional cancer patient support groups. YSC and its affiliates regularly host networking and social events as well as an annual conference specifically targeted at young cancer patients and survivors in order to help young women find and support each other through their cancer journeys and beyond.
About the Tour de Pink
The Tour de Pink is a series of bike rides at various locations across the country that serves a dual purpose as the YSC’s primary annual fundraiser and as a wonderful celebration of the YSC community. Or, as YSC Board President, founding member and three-time breast cancer survivor Lisa J. Frank puts it (much more artfully):
Tour de Pink was created to empower young women diagnosed with breast cancer. Our participants create an incredibly strong community that one wishes they could experience every day. Combine that with the inspiration everyone feels when they watch a young woman climb on a bike to reclaim her body after being diagnosed with breast cancer and you truly have the experience of a lifetime.
The Tour de Pink was first started in 2004 with just five riders, who rode 200 miles from the Boston suburbs to the NYU Cancer Institute in New York City. That inaugural event raised $26,000 for YSC; with more than 1400 riders expected to take part in at least one Tour de Pink ride in 2012, that number only promises to grow.
For the 2012 season, interested participants have the choice of a number of events depending on geographic location and riding ability. The two primary events in the Tour de Pink series are each three day, 200 mile long rides that are similar in nature to the Susan G. Komen 3 Day and Avon Breast Cancer Walks. Riders will ride a set distance each day and will “camp” together overnight in hotels. Riders who register for the entire weekend are challenged to raise a minimum of $2500 in order to participate (again, similar to the 3 Day or Avon). There is also a one day option for riders who prefer a shorter challenge. One day riders are asked to raise $250. The dates and locations for these Tour de Pink rides are:
West Coast Tour de Pink (October 12th – 14th): Riders will start in Thousand Oaks, CA and end in Foothill Ranch, CA.
Each of these events is limited to just 200 riders and I’m not sure if registration is still open for either of them. However, if you live along the route (you can double check the east coast route here and the west coast route here), please take some time to head out and cheer on these riders. Not only are they taking on a tremendous physical challenge, but they’ve also been working for months to raise lots and lots of money for a good cause. Give them a supportive car honk, pass out water bottles, whatever seems right for you. As a fellow endurance event participant, I can testify that community support goes such a long way!
In addition to these two multi-day events, there are two other single day Tour de Pink events that folks can take part in:
The Indoor Tour de Pink (Columbus, OH): If you live in or are willing to travel to Columbus, Ohio, you have the option of taking part in an indoor, two hour stationary bike team relay event on October 27th (so basically like a giant spin class where teammates take turns on the bikes). Participants in this event are asked to raise $125 for each half-hour that they plan to ride. If you are interested in taking part, you can register here. There was a similar event held in Seattle on September 23rd, which you can read about here.
The One Day Tour de Pink Atlanta: If you live in or are willing to travel to Atlanta (my neck of the woods!), you have the option of taking part in a single day, outside Tour de Pink bike ride (or simultaneous 5K family run/walk). For more details on this event, jump down to the next section.
Finally, if you can’t make it to any of these events and aren’t satisfied by just donating to YSC and really have to get on your bike, you can always register as a Virtual Rider for any of the above Tour de Pink events. More information on that can be found here.
About the Atlanta Tour de Pink Event
This coming weekend, over 600 riders, walkers, and runners will be taking over the northern suburbs of Atlanta and turning it pink in Atlanta’s only bike ride for breast cancer, the Tour de Pink. The festivities for this one day event kick off at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in northern Atlanta at 7:30am, with riders then heading out into the streets along four courses of various distances. Riders will take on either a 20 mile, 40 mile, 65 mile, or 100 mile course before returning to the Verizon Amphitheater for Closing Ceremonies. If running or walking is more your style, once the riders have begun their journeys, a smaller 5K run/walk will commence from the Amphitheater grounds as well. Throughout the day, there will be entertainment, food, and family friendly activities for supporters and participants to enjoy. The last riders are expected to finish around 5pm. You can find details on all of the days activities here.
If you live in the Atlanta area, I highly encourage you to come out and support YSC and these awesome riders as they tackle the Tour de Pink. As with the other Tour de Pink events, these riders (and runners and walkers…) have each raised $125 just to participate in this ride. They are working hard to support a cause they believe in. Even if you can only spare an hour, please stop along the route or at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater and cheer on these riders!
If I’ve managed to convince you to check out the Tour de Pink Atlanta this weekend, you can find directions to the race site here and a detailed schedule of events here. You can also download the courses here. For similar details for the East Coast, West Coast and Indoor events, please click on the links above.
Thanks for reading about this great cause and I’ll see you out there as I cheer on the Tour de Pink Atlanta riders!
Video of the 2011 Tour de Pink Atlanta, courtesy of the Young Survival Coalition
PS – Much like with the 3 Day or the AVON walks, registration for all of the Tour de Pink events begins months prior to the event dates. Keep your eyes open for a follow up blog post about how to register to take part in one these rides in 2013 sometime in mid-spring!
As I mentioned back in this post, on July 21st, Piedmont Park (the Atlanta equivalent of Central Park for you non-ATLians) played host to not one but TWO separate events promoting breast cancer awareness and women’s health. Even though I opted not to take part in either event (for a number of reasons), I was able to spend some time at both events, getting a nice dose of pink spirit in the middle of the long, hot summer.
The Pink Ribbon Walk
While I spent time with both groups, I focused most of my time on the Pink Ribbon Walk. While this was actually the 9th time that this event was held, I only became vaguely aware of it last summer when I was driving to meet friends for a 3 Day training walk and passed by all the walkers. While I had every intention of looking up more about the Pink Ribbon Walk and the Sisters… By Choice Inc group, in all honesty, I completely forgot about it until a few days before this event when I saw a passing mention of it on Twitter. And man, am I glad I saw that tweet because this event was FANTASTIC!
When I first walked up to the group, I was blown away by the turn out. I consider myself pretty plugged into the breast cancer awareness community here in Atlanta so I assumed that if I hadn’t heard about this until a few days before, well, I wasn’t expecting much. I am happy to say that I was very wrong. Even the Atlanta Falcon cheerleaders and the mayor of Atlanta himself, Kasim Reed, turned out for this event. The energy level before the runners/walkers took of for their 5K was palpable. There were a number of community and business groups taking part that gave the whole thing such spirit. I’m really hopeful that I can convince Hubs’ office to sponsor a team for this next year as part of their community support work.
One of the best parts about this event was the “expo” area. While most of these types of events feature tables from their sponsors and information about the sponsoring organization (in this case, a local group called Sisters By Choice… Inc), this expo was unique in that it featured tables from a number of other cancer organizations as well. As a cancer advocate, I think this is really great because groups like Living Beyond Breast Cancer, the Young Survivor’s Coalition, the Georgia Breast Cancer Alliance, the American Cancer Society, and Komen Atlanta all focus on such different aspects of the larger fight against breast cancer. I get very discouraged when these organizers are positioned as competitors to each other rather than as co-advocates, so to see them all proudly represented at one event was fantastic.
Pictures from the Pink Ribbon Walk Expo
I cannot speak highly enough of the organization and energy around the Pink Ribbon Walk and I’m really looking forward to running in the 10th annual event next summer!
SheMoves Atlanta 5K
When I first got to Piedmont Park on Saturday morning, I almost immediately came upon the women of the SheMoves Atlanta 5K lining up for the start of their event. The group was a bit smaller than I anticipated but the race organizers were energetic and really got everyone going for the race. Unlike the Pink Ribbon Walk (which focused on runners and walkers), the SheMoves 5K was pretty much solely runners. Also, while the Pink Ribbon Walk went out into the streets around the park, the SheMoves course was entirely within the park boundaries. I suppose that reflects the goal of each event. The Pink Ribbon Walk was designed to get people talking about breast cancer awareness while the purpose of the SheMoves 5K was to provide a fitness event to motivate women to make healthy decisions for their families and themselves. As a result, the SheMoves 5K was a more low key, intimate affair.
The one thing that these two events did have in common, though, was that they both had great post-race expos. The SheMoves 5K expo, which was held at Park Tavern, was really focused on celebrating women’s health, with champagne, flowers, and beautiful race shirts. It reminded me quite a bit of the post-race area for the Atlanta Track Club’s Women’s 5K. All in all, it seemed like a great, supportive environment for a race. The SheMoves Atlanta group hosts a number of these types events over the course of the year so I’m going to be keeping my ears to the ground in the hopes of participating in one of their other runs.
All in all, it was a very pink-filled morning in the park and I loved soaking up every minute of it!
To see all of my pictures from both the Pink Ribbon Walk and the SheMoves Atlanta 5K, please click here.
Tomorrow morning, there will be not one, but two separate 5K events focused on women’s health and breast cancer awareness taking place at Piedmont Park tomorrow. I’m not planning to run in either race (I have a volunteering commitment later in the day), but if you need a hit of the pink spirit, I highly encourage you to check out one (or both!) of these events tomorrow morning:
8th Annual Pink Ribbon Walk/Run
This 5K is the primary fundraiser for a local breast cancer organization called Sisters… By Choice, Inc, which was founded here in Atlanta in 1989 by breast surgeon Dr. Rogsbert F. Phillips-Reed. The goal of SBC is to remain an innovative leader in breast cancer education, awareness, and resources for women diagnosed with breast cancer. In particular, SBC is currently working on an initiative to establish and operate a full-service Mobile
Breast Clinic, which you can read more about on their website, here. I love supporting local organizations doing good work for our community like Sisters… By Choice!
As for the event itself, onsite registration begins at Piedmont Park at 7am. Registration is $35 per person with free registration for kids ages 6 and under. The race itself will begin at 8am and is 3.1 miles in length (which is a 5K). You can find out more information at Active.com.
SheMoves Atlanta Piedmont Park 5K
While not specifically a breast cancer organization, SheMoves Atlanta is a local group that looks to empower women by providing the support and events necessary to engage in an active, healthy, balanced lifestyle. Since exercise and healthy eating have been linked to a reduced risk for breast cancer, I think we can all agree that this is one awesome mission that is well worth supporting!
Race day registration for the SheMoves 5K will begin at 7am at Park Tavern, which is located on the corner of 10th Street and Monroe Dr. As with the Pink Ribbon Walk, registration for this race is $35 and the race itself begins at 8am. This 5K will take place entirely within Piedmont Park and there will be a post-race event expo in the finish line area. You can find out more information about this race at the organizer’s website or at Active.com. Please note that this race is for women only.
So what are you waiting for? Get out your sneakers and help these two fantastic groups turn Piedmont Park PINK!!
As you may remember from last year, my friend Joel plays on the Pink Cadets softball team here in Atlanta, a team committed to more than just playing softball. As they state on their Facebook page, the Pink Cadets are a community of athletes who have come together to couple their passion for softball with their drive to combat Breast Cancer. Even though Breast Cancer is often thought to be a distinctly female cause, we are committed to heightening awareness among men and women and raising money to fight the cause. Branded in PINK, we have come to play ball against Breast Cancer, promising our grandmothers, mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, nieces, cousins, and friends a brighter tomorrow.
Sounds like a pretty great group, right?
As one of their primary fundraisers last year, the Pink Cadets hosted their fellow Hotlanta softball players and whole host of colorful characters from the Atlanta drag community in one of the most interesting softball tournaments that I’ve ever attended. I mean, just check out some of these pictures from last year’s Bats-N-Rouge tournament:
All together, the Pink Cadets raised $4300 for Susan G. Komen for the Cure last year and they’re looking to raise even more than that with this year’s tournament. If you would like to help support the Cadets, the Bats-N-Rouge 2 Drag Softball game will take place THIS Saturday, May 14th from 12-5pm at Piedmont Park here in Atlanta. While it is certainly free to attend, you are strongly encouraged to buy tickets in advance from one of the Cadets for just $5.00. To contact the Pink Cadets about buying tickets for yourself and your whole group of friends, you can email them at email@example.com or through the Facebook page for the event, which can be found here.
I cannot encourage you enough to try to stop by this fantastic event. I had an absolute blast watching the games last year plus the whole thing is in support of cause we can get behind – finding an for breast cancer!
PS – If you’d like to read more about the 2010 Bats-N-Rouge tournament, you can find that post here. Additional pictures from last year’s event can be found here.
This Sunday, I woke up bright and early for the second day in a row to head out to a breast cancer related event. This time, I was off to take part in the Breast Cancer Network of Strength’s National Walk to Empower in Chastain Park!
The Team Village area at the Walk to Empower
After the loud, organized chaos of the Atlanta Race for the Cure on Saturday, this event was a welcome change. While the Network of Strength has been hosting Walk to Empower events for years, this is only the second or third year that the event was held here in Atlanta. Because of that, the event was still on the small side with only a few thousand people taking part. While the crowd was on the small side, it was the biggest group they’ve had to date for a Walk to Empower event in Atlanta, suggesting that the event is starting to gain some public recognition.
In a lot of ways, this event was like a lot of other cancer awareness events. There were the standard registration tables where everyone checked in before the race, turned in their donations and received their event t-shirt if they raised enough money. (I didn’t, but I knew that going in.) There were also vendor and sponsor areas all along the area. One sort of unique aspect was the Team Village area that featured tables and tents assigned to the larger teams where they could meet up, share snacks and water and display photos of those they were honoring. It was similar to the tent areas around the Relay for Life, although on a smaller scale. Even though I wasn’t on a team, I took some time to wander through the tables and get a feel for the teams involved.
One of the larger teams prior to the walk.
The event itself kicked off with a short Opening Ceremonies hosted by a pair of radio DJs from 94.9 The Bull here in Atlanta. The Ceremony featured some short remarks by the organizers and a beautiful performance of Mariah Carey’s song “Hero” as a tribute to the survivors. After a really lame gag by Ronald McDonald of all people (McDonald’s was a sponsor), we were on our way! We walked just over 3 miles through the gorgeous Chastain Park area of Atlanta, mostly on a paved greenway that is part of the Path Foundation. I had never walked up in this neck of the woods, but I will definitely be coming back. The walk we did was so peaceful and beautiful – a great way to spend the morning. In fact, I liked it so much that I stayed after and did another loop around the route as part of my 3 Day training for the day.
Heading out on the Path in Chastain Park.
I honestly had no idea what to expect when I headed out to this walk. While I very much support the wonderful work of the Breast Cancer Network of Strength, this was the first time I had participated in any of their events. I was pleasantly surprised by the calm, easy nature of the whole thing. It strongly reminded me of the start of Day 3 on both of my Atlanta 3 Day walks. A little sleepy and a little chilly, not much chit chat. Just a contemplative walk through a beautiful neighborhood to get the day started. I’m thrilled that this event is getting more recognition in the Atlanta area and I can’t wait to come back next year. Since I couldn’t be with my mom this year, it was the perfect way for me to spend the morning of Mother’s Day.
A mother and daughter team at the Walk to Empower
If you would like to see more pictures from the Walk to Empower, please visit this album on my Picasa page. I have also included a slide show of my pictures at the bottom of this post. Please pardon the quality of the second half of the pictures. I had to switch to my cell phone after the batteries died in my camera. Otherwise, there would have been a lot more pictures of this very pretty walk!
For those who aren’t familiar, the Breast Cancer Network of Strength (formerly known as the Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization) is a national non profit organization with the mission to ensure through information, empowerment and peer support, that no one faces breast cancer alone. Unlike Susan G. Komen for the Cure, this organization does not raise money for research. Instead, it provides immediate emotional relief for anyone touched by breast cancer.
At the heart of the Breast Cancer Network of Strength is their 24/7 breast cancer peer support center and hotline, YourShoes. Through YourShoes, breast cancer patients are put into email or phone contact with peer counselors and breast cancer survivors who are there to help them make educated decisions about their treatments and to provide comfort in a time of need. In addition to YourShoes, the Breast Cancer Network of Strength also provides newsletters and publications help provide breast cancer patients and their families with information and support. Local affiliates provide a number of support services as well, including support groups, early detection and teen workshops, wigs and prostheses for women with limited resources and advocacy on breast cancer policies. To learn more about the Breast Cancer Network of Strength, please visit their website, where I found most of this information. You can also learn how to get involved in their various outreach programs here.
Marcia, the angel of the Mag 5 family and the Relentless Optimism 3 Day team, learned that her breast cancer had returned in January 2007. Just a few short weeks later, my mom first learned that she had breast cancer as well. Marcia reached out to my mom immediately, recommending an oncologist, talking through treatment options and going out for ice cream dates on rough days. The two of them accompanied each other to an endless array of doctor’s appointments and chemo treatments. They talked on the phone all the time and commiserated about yet another unexpected side effect of treatment. They were each other’s rock through out their personal battles with the cancer demon.
Watching Mom and Marcia, I have seen first hand just how important it was for my mom to have someone to talk to who just “got it” without having to explain anything. I could listen to Mom and comfort her, but it wasn’t the same as the understanding that she got from Marcia. And I know that Marcia felt the same way about my mom.
No one should have to go through cancer treatment by themselves. The work that the Breast Cancer Network of Strength is doing is so important for just that reason. So many women and men facing a diagnosis of breast cancer don’t have a Marcia to turn to. They don’t have anyone to recommend a good place to buy wigs or the best way to tie a scarf. Helping the Network of Strength do their work is one way that we can all be a Marcia for someone else.
This Sunday, on Mother’s Day, I will be walking in the 3 mile Walk to Empower at Chastain Park here in Georgia to help raise money for the Breast Cancer Network of Strength. There are 13 other Walk to Empower events taking place at the same time in cities all around the country. If you would like to take part in the Walk to Empower here in Georgia, you can find all of the information here. Information about the other cities can be found here.
There is no registration fee for this event. They simply ask that you do your best to help them raise money using their online tools. I have set up a fundraising page that can be found here. While I haven’t been actively fundraising for this event, I have been supporting the Breast Cancer Network of Strength through their BeeWell for Life collaboration with Bumble Bee. I have been logging all of my training miles for both the Atlanta Race for the Cure and the Susan G. Komen 3 Day for the Cure on their website every week. In return, Bumble Bee will donate $0.15 to the Breast Cancer Network for Strength for every mile logged on their site from now through the end of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, up to $200,000. Since I started logging my miles two weeks ago, I have already raised over $13 and I’m hoping to raise a lot more in the coming weeks.
If you would like to support the great work of the Breast Cancer Network of Strength, I highly encourage you to start logging your miles at www.beewellforlife.com as well. And come out and join us for the Walk to Empower this Sunday. My mom was lucky enough to have someone to share her cancer journey with the first time. This year, I will be helping to ensure that other breast cancer patients around the country have someone to face their battles with as well by supporting the Breast Cancer Network of Strength. What a great way to spend Mother’s Day!