When I was fourteen years old, my Mom, Molly Fitzgerald Shotwell, was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer. She was thirty seven years old.
Over the next seven years, she struggled with this disease. She fought every day for us. During that time, she had numerous biopsies, tests, a mastectomy, a reconstructive surgery, chemotherapy, and many other drugs. Then, a break, and she had a year and a half where the doctors said it was gone.
But it came back. When we discovered it again, three years after her first diagnosis, it was metastatic stage four breast cancer in the liver. More drugs, more pain. This time it changed us all. Something changed in each of us. They gave my Mom a year and a half to live.
She just wanted to see me graduate from high school. And she did. My Mom fought for four more years. She laughed, gardened, tore apart and rebuilt our house. She was the best. But seven years after being diagnosed, my Mom passed away peacefully in our home in August 2005.
This year I have decided to fight against cancer. I have decided to participate in the Susan G. Komen 3 Day For the Cure. It is a walk where thousands of men and women walk for 60 miles over the course of three days this August in Chicago. All of the proceeds go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation which helps community-based breast health programs and breast cancer research. The research funded focuses on decreasing breast cancer incidence and mortality in the next decade to help find a cure so that no one has to suffer.
This August I walk for my Mom. I walk for her seven years of fighting. But I also walk for her thirty seven years of life without cancer. I walk because she inspired me to be a better Mom and person. She inspired me to laugh and have fun. She gave me life. I walk because I miss her every day.
I also walk for me. Breast cancer is hereditary and there is a chance that I may have the gene. There is a chance that I could have breast cancer. I will fight now, walk now, so that I don't have to fight later. I walk now so I don't have to fight with chemotherapy, surgeries, and the pain. I walk now so my family doesn't have to feel what I did growing up. I walk so my son will always have me.
Over the next year, I will be fund-raising and training for the 60 miles we will walk. Each participant is asked to raise $2,300 for the Foundation. If you could please donate to this cause, I would greatly appreciate it. If every person donated what they can afford, it would be a great help. Payments can be made online at www.the3day.org or by check (made out to Susan G. Komen Foundation) and can also be stretched over a payment period. If you are interested, I would also love to walk with you. You can also email me if you’d like to join my team.
I will be writing about my experiences on a facebook group here, so you can check it out! I will write about my training, milestones, and stories in between. When I am finished, I will have many pictures and stories to share as well. When the walk is finished, I feel like I will be one step closer to being healthy, being safe, and always staying cancer free.
I truly appreciate your generosity.
Love to you all!