Kicking Cancer to the Curb: What We Can Do

So a little late, but this is my latest post from TNGG, originally published here.

Son, daughter, mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, friend, or neighbor, we all know someone (or many someones) who has been diagnosed with cancer.

A cure to cancer will come one day because society as a whole wants it and supports it — and young people have taken action and will continue to do so. We are going out and trying to kick cancer’s butt. Millennials all over the world are going out running marathons, walking miles, writing letters on end and raising money for all forms of cancer.

Emily Jasper, a blogger, wants to “make a meaningful difference in the fight against cancer” and she’s not the only one putting up a fight and trying to help fund finding a cure.

Relay for Life is a team event that raises money for the American Cancer Society (ACS) and involves at least one member of a team walking the entire night, or longer, as some relays may be. These events are held all over America and beyond (even in Australia). Lately, due to the amount of interest, they are popping up at college campuses everywhere thanks to grassroots organizations like Colleges Against Cancer.

Another way Millennials are supporting ACS is through Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. In Boston, the MSABC walk is full of young participants and volunteers. Co-eds of both genders, though mostly females, wake up early in masses to participate in this event every fall. Last fall, Katelyn D’Eramo, 25, was just one of the many participants, walking for her Nana Barbara. According to D’Eramo, “the best part of doing the Making Stride for Breast Cancer this year was this feeling that all 40,000 walkers, all walking 5.7 miles, wearing pink, smiling, were working together for a cure.”

Perhaps part of the reason so many are supporting a cure for breast cancer specifically is because every three minutes, one more woman in the U.S. is diagnosed with breast cancer. It was this statistic that caused me to walk 39.3 miles in two days for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer a year and a half ago. I agreed to raise $1,800, which I thought would be hard in a tough economy, but it wasn’t. Support poured out from around the world, mostly from my friends, all Millennials.

Carrie Bishop, 25, has walked the Boston AWBC multiple times for her aunt, a two time breast cancer survivor. She says she is “lucky to be able to participate and help those who are less fortunate and raise money to find a cure.” She “was raised with the value of giving back, and will always keep that and pass along to [her] children” — this value, and Carrie’s personal reason for doing it, is one that is all too familiar to many.

We’re not only out there searching for a cure through purely physical means. Those who can still be found on a college campus generally like to stay up late. Though Up ‘til Dawn, you stay up all night writing letters to friends and family to support the patients at St. Jude’s Research Hospital.

College students sacrifice sleep for many things, but even those who need a solid 8-hours a night are willing to give up one night a year to help support this great event that so many campuses host. It’s easy — all you need to do is the addresses of all your extended family and you’re sure to have enough addresses for the bigletter writing party.

Whether our feet or hands are doing the walking, we’re all heading in the right direction. Cancer has already significantly affected our generation. We’re so determined to prove to the world that we can be better than they expect and that we have a social conscious, it’s only a matter of time before one of our own is the one to fine the cure.

Walking miles on end or writing letters all night not your calling? How do you help support the cause?

thanks for your support!

Dear friends and family,

Thank you for supporting me in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer — New York. Not only did your contribution help me beat my own personal goal, but it really does make a difference; it will go toward funding access to care and finding a cure for Breast Cancer. Just two weeks ago my friend Kate and I walked across the finish line next to the USS Intrepid with 4,000 other people who walked for such a great cause. Walkers consisted of mothers, daughters, fathers, brothers, friends, family and most importantly many survivors that have all known someone who has been struck by this disease. With your help, we were able to collectively raise more than $9.5 million dollars and raise awareness about this disease worldwide.

While I spent 5 months training for the walk, I also spent 5 months learning more about this disease and how it affects people in our country. The first statistic I learned about breast cancer during my training was that every three minutes another woman in the United States is diagnosed with breast cancer. This fact seemed to stick with me throughout both my training and the walk. What really struck me was that from the time I began walking and the minute I crossed the finish line, over 600 women were diagnosed with breast cancer. It was this statistic along with others that helped keep me and so many others going through our training. I’d gladly walk any distance to help these women and bring an end to breast cancer.

The walk itself was amazing. We had great weather and I was able to see New York City in a new light. All the people I walked with were high-spirited and such a great group of people who kept motivating others to keep going strong. There were also groups of wonderfully spirited people at cheering stations along the way to keep our spirits high along with pit-stops and breaks to keep us fully energized, rested and hydrated. After Saturday’s portion of the walk, we ended on Randall’s Island for showers, a great dinner and some Yoga before camping out to tackle day 2. While waking up on Sunday was a bit rough and took plenty of energy, it didn’t take long for everyone to acknowledge that blisters, cramped muscles and sore feet are nothing compared to that which people with breast cancer have to deal with on a daily basis.

While I could write a short story about my experiences through the walk; I experienced something that no amount of words could do it any justice. I heard inspiring stories from survivors and their friends and families. I saw men and women push themselves past their physical abilities.

Thank you again for your support. You rock!

If you’d like to see some pictures taken during the walk, you can check them out here on Facebook.

I’m walking 39.3 miles in 12 days!

As some of you know, I like to do crazy and adventurous things in life — simple doesn’t usually explain my way of doing many things. As you may know by now, my next large task is coming up in less than two weeks. I have spent the last four months training for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. It’s taking place October 10-11 in New York City and I’ll be walking a marathon and a half over these two days with my friend Kate and hundreds of other women.

Did you know that every three minutes, another woman in the United States is diagnosed with breast cancer? I didn’t, and I was shocked to learn how prevalent this horrible disease has become in this country.

I am eager for my walk and in addition to having a strong finish to my training to make sure I’m prepared for the walk, I want to finish out my fundraising with a bang and I need your support! I have pledged to raise money for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer as part of my participation in the walk. Your contribution will help to support medical research into the possible causes of and cure for breast cancer, education and early detection programs, and clinical care and support services for women with breast cancer in communities across the country, especially those here in the New York area. There is a special focus on helping medically under-served women, the poor, minorities, the elderly, or those with inadequate health insurance.

It is faster and easier than ever to support this great cause – you can make a donation online by simply clicking on this link to visit my personal page. While I understand that times are hard right now, whatever you can give will help! I truly appreciate your support and thank you in advance. Plus, in addition to your financial support, I could use all your prayers for myself and the other women as we come into the final stretch of preparation before we partake on this wonderful journey.

Thank you for your support; you really do make a difference. You rock!