Sunday, May 22, 2011

Walking for breast cancer research

I recently signed up for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day 60-mile walk in Seattle September 16-18. While I'm usually not a joiner however much I support a cause, these walks are designed to raise awareness as well as money, and they offer great community spirit across the country. Eleven years ago my friend Ellen and I walked for our college friend Lucy, who died at 49 after 11 years of dealing with breast cancer.

Since then other wonderful friends have died; even more have been diagnosed and/or are living with the effects of breast cancer. My good friends Harriet and Lisa, who live in Seattle, decided to walk in honor of our dear mutual friend Mary Catherine Lamb, who died in 2009. And then earlier this year, Lisa was diagnosed. Fortunately her early stage and fast surgical response mean she is now cancer-free. So I decided to join them in gratitude for Lisa's survival and in memory of M.C.

In my life, more women I know have died—or lived—with breast cancer than any other threatening illness. These wonderful women are now gone from my life:
Ellen Olinger Longsworth
Jennifer Lovejoy

I'm walking for them, and equally important for friends who continue to survive, and thrive. Thanks to major advances in research and treatment, there are millions who do. Some of my friends in this camp:

A generation ago the number of those diagnosed who lived a good life after a breast cancer diagnosis was dramatically smaller, treatments were more extreme (and caused plenty of other problems). There's been a lot of improvement, as this post by a male breast cancer survivor attests. And as you might expect, around the world, treatment does improves with income and education (see data guru Hans Rosling's explanation).

All of this gives me determination to help more. I'll update now and again here on my progress. Here's my personal donation page on the Komen site where you can support me/the walk. (Don't forget corporate matching!)

One more thing regarding Komen: Charity Navigator gives them a 4-star rating (most income goes to program activites, not administration & overhead).

Thank you so much for your support.