Posts Tagged ‘Susan G. Komen’


Lessons Learned from Walking 18.2 miles…in the Rain…


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, in case all the pink surrounding you didn’t notify you of that fact already. In 2009 I chose to walk the Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk, in which a person fundraises a lot of money to walk 60 miles in 3 days. It is both the best and worst thing I’ve ever done in my life. As part of the training to prepare to walk that far, one does a weekend back-to-back walk of 18 miles one day and 15 miles the next day. My 18 mile day came when it was pouring down rain. To make it worse, my walking partner wasn’t able to join me. Here’s what I learned from that rather miserable day:

1. An additional pair of tennies would be handy for when you are on the opposite side of the track from your car which houses your rain poncho.

2. Anyone wearing a fanny pack on their bum is probably a 3 Day walker.

3. Start with Aleve, take a break with more Aleve, finish with Vicodin.

4. Having a hubby bring you protein at the 2/3 mark makes the final 1/3 much more bearable and him a hero of the nth degree.

5. You can listen to 450 songs on your iPod in 7 hours.

6. 18.2 miles is an excellent way to end constipation….for the rest of your life.

7. Your wet t-shirt (No, I wasn’t in some guy’s lame excuse for a contest…besides no one wants me in that kind of a contest.) doesn’t dry out in your car in 5 hours, no matter how carefully you drape it over the head rest.

8. 2 bottles of water, 2 G2‘s and a large sweet tea are necessary for hydration.

9. Axid taken several times keeps one from embarrassing him or herself while walking in public.

10. Flat feet will tell you all about their existence about Mile 12.

11. Shin cramps are just a 40 something’s body’s way of saying “Let’s warm up, shall we?”

12. If the forecast says, 40% chance of rain, plan on being wet…permanently.

13. People who walk/run the track backwards are annoying.

14. People who cannot control their dogs on the track make the people running backwards look intelligent.

15. A pair of dry sox is heaven.

16. Sunglasses make a good rain deflector.

17. If you bring the blister Band-Aids, you won’t need them.

18. If your hubby rubs your feet afterward, you’ll worship at HIS feet, if you can walk that far. 🙂

Friday’s Post: The next most stupid thing I’ve ever done…

You might also like: Lessons Learned from the Breast Cancer 3 Day Garage Sale, Lessons Learned from 2 and Lessons Learned from Attending Women of Faith


Lessons Learned from the Breast Cancer 3 Day Garage Sale…

yard sale

In 2009 I made the really faulty decision to walk the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Awareness 3 Day Walk. One walks 60 miles in 3 days and pledges to raise $ 2300 for breast cancer research. Many people walk in teams and I was no exception. I walked with 3 women who all wanted to support my dear friend, Kim, who was battling Stage IV breast cancer valiantly. While the walk was in early November, we were still approximately $ 2300 shy of the $ 9200 we needed to raise in order for all of us to walk.

We then made another faulty decision: to have a garage sale at my home in hot August. Did I mention that my garages are not air-conditioned??? I put up a Facebook event page and regularly let folks know the interesting items that were also regularly being deposited in our driveway each day.  We had so many clothing items that we eventually just made signs that said, “All clothing items $ 1.” We’d probably still be pricing items individually, if we hadn’t.

Tomorrow our little church is also endeavoring to raise money for good causes in our area by throwing a garage sale inside our church (where it IS air-conditioned). If you live in “my neck of the woods, ” do me a favor and drop by from 8 am to noon either today or Saturday, grab a few items you can’t live without, and help out some great children and people. Thanks! For those of us who have waged battle with “all things Garage Sale,” here’s what I penned in August of 2009:

  1. Start a year sooner. 
  2. Get another garage. Two double car garages aren’t enough.
  3. Sell all cars, Sea-doos, lawn mowers and lawn sweepers prior to garage sale.
  4. No matter how many times you sweep the floor of your spare garage, there will be grass clippings inside.
  5. You can make a merchandise display out of bricks, a skateboard ramp, sawhorses, a trailer, shoe bags, a dehumidifier, a microwave cart, a TV stand, and a TV.
  6. One rented round rack will hold 218 shirts.
  7. Unfortunately, you will need 3 round racks, 3 t-racks and 2 straight racks.
  8. Bags of clothes will multiply like rabbits and mysteriously show up on your doorstep before you leave for work at 8 am.
  9. To hang said bags of clothes, you will need 1 retired teacher hanging clothes for about 8 hours a day for 5 days.
  10. When she poops out, you will need 1 bank teller/teacher, 2 college students and 2 high school students to take over.
  11. Don’t show the retired teacher a newly discovered bag of clothes the night before a garage sale…she might pronounce it, well, you know, something I can’t say online.
  12. If the retired teacher won’t call it welllll….you know….something I can’t say online, the hubby will say worse.
  13. Someone other than Imelda Marcos can have over a 1000 pairs of shoes.
  14. To pick up a dryer, a mattress and box spring, a computer table and chair, an overstuffed chair, a dinette set, a desk, and a love seat, you will need the retired teacher, her husband, your husband’s colleague’s trailer, an aging Explorer, a Mercury sedan, a Ford Escape, your daughter, your son, the daughter’s boyfriend, a full tank of gas, a tarp, some tangled rope, some Boy Scout knots, 3 dollies, a peanut butter sandwich, a glass of milk and a trip to McDonald’s.
  15. You can completely outfit an apartment or dorm room from the “junk” in people’s homes in our little town…and nicely!
  16. Even if you say “No Early Sales”, there will be early sales. Just deal with it.
  17. Countrytime Pink Lemonade is not only festive…it’s downright tasty on a hot, Texas day.
  18. Don’t have a mega garage sale in Texas in August….let’s just say major farmer’s tan and the need for a lot of cool showers. (I think I physically wrung out my hair and shirt about 3 times per day.)
  19. Those new sneakers and fancy socks you bought for the 3 Day do not lessen your Aleve consumption at the end of the day.
  20. You can fit 2 mattress sets, 3 sofas, 4 tables, 15 chairs, 7 clothes racks, a TV stand, 2 desks, a laundry cart, and a lot of assorted miscellaneous all in our driveway. That is, unfortunately, only about 1/3 of what you have to sell.
  21. Hangers get thrown out a lot…but to those with 218 shirts on a round rack, they are more valuable than gold.
  22. There is a lot of humorous fodder for Sunday morning’s sermon to be found at a garage sale. See our pastor for more details.
  23. What you think will sell immediately will be what you have left at the end of the day. As a counselor, this may be a great topic for a dissertation some day.
  24. The surest way to get more shoppers is to consolidate all of your “remains” and make it impossible for your shoppers to get to all the leftovers in your garage.
  25. The only way to survive a hot August garage sale in Texas is to have a meal out, preferably not at McDonald’s.
  26. The Susan G. Komen organization is gravely mistaken about what is possible for fundraising purposes from 1 garage sale (They told us the max would be $ 1800… there!)
  27. Our little town takes care of its own.
  28. Our little town never fails to help those who aren’t their own.
  29. Facebook, a church newsletter, a church bulletin, an announcement at church, Craigslist and word-of-mouth are the cheapest, easiest and best ways to promote fundraising endeavors.
  30. The memories I have of this garage sale I took with me as I walked 60 miles in 3 days with 3 of the best ladies I know and then, forever after that. I was, and am, blessed.


The final amount raised? Drum roll, please….$ 2300 +!

Monday’s Post: Word of the Week time!

You might also like: Lessons Learned from Attending Women of Faith and Lessons Learned from Being the Rookie Parent


Lessons Learned Because of Kim…

woman's hat

Warning: Get 2 beverages first.

Special Note: Once again, I am editing this as I reel from the horror of what has happened to West, TX, just 81 miles from my home. Please pray for healing and all resources necessary to combat this tragedy.

Note: Today is a tough day for me. My good friend, Kim, used to celebrate her birthday on this day. Those of us who were privileged to know her and love her still miss her helpful presence in our lives. This was first written after her memorial service in early 2010, after Kim passed away from Stage IV breast cancer, at the age of 51 (It may help to read last Wednesday’s post first!):

You knew it was coming, so buck up, grab your hanky if you must, grab a beverage while you’re at it, and then read on…it’ll be okay.

1. 98% of women diagnosed with Stage I breast cancer survive for at least 5 years. That statistic went up 3% since Kim was diagnosed.

2. 15% of women diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer survive for 5 years. The average length of time a Stage IV breast cancer patient lives following diagnosis is 2 years. Kim lived 2 years and 3 months after diagnosis at Stage IV.

3. The Susan G. Komen organization has funded nearly all of the studies that have led to huge breakthroughs in breast cancer research over the last 30 years.

4. 410,000 breast cancer patients will die this year and every year and yet, breast cancer is not the # 1 killer of women. Heart disease is, but even though I have a personal vendetta against heart disease, it never took my best friend away from me. In comparison over 200,000 people passed away one time from an earthquake in Haiti. Just sayin’.

5. A real friend tells you when you aren’t thinking correctly.

6. A real friend reminds you that you are worthy of respect, honor and love when it seems like the whole world is against you.

7. A real friend loves your kids even when you’d like to smack one of them upside the head and reminds you why you love them, too.

8. It is a privilege, an honor and a learning experience of the highest order to be Kim’s friend.

9. I can’t drive down or up Hwy. 281 (the highway that led to our certification classes) anymore without bursting into tears.

10. I’ve permanently lost my I-ness. (This is something only she and I understand—sorry—you had to be there!)

11. You can solve all the problems in the world on a round trip on a Saturday morning to work on your mutual certifications.

12. The PH is the one to consult for the perfect prom dress.

13. I cannot walk past the Engineering Technology building at our local university without looking for my Scottish stiff upper lip. Unfortunately, my assigned GA parking spots are right beside it. Thank you so much, University Police.

14. Do not take 2 helicopter moms to Texas Tech for new student orientation.

15. I will miss “I need therapy” distress IMs.

16. Roasted red pepper hummus dip should be its own food group, as should homemade guac and Texas caviar.

17. If you want some AD deviled eggs at Thanksgiving, get there early.

18. If you want AS Derby pie at Thanksgiving, do the dishes and stick close to the dessert table.

19. Never introduce 3 husbands to another fryer.

20. No food is safe from the fryer when the above 3 are in the same vicinity.

21. Normally uncommunicative males will yak more than women when deciding what to fry for Thanksgiving. Cell phone bills will be demonstrably higher and they will blame that on their teenagers.

22. A USA and a USDA has nothing to do with a government or a governmental operation.

23. Our little town lost their “hostess with the mostest” on January 26, 2010.

24. You don’t love your family and friends..…you lurve them.

25. I now know that the women that Kim loved were all uniquely special women.

26. There is no family like the Big Family.

27. I should not cough in the presence of my Big Family Children…unless I want to catch up with my doc soon.

28. Cookies are not something you eat, but they’re just as sweet.

29. Hydrocolloid Band-Aids are my friend.

30. Moleskin and a pair of scissors are better than chocolate. (Yes, I said that.)

31. Snoozing on a bed of acorns can actually be therapeutic.

32. There is no garage sale like a Kim’s Krew garage sale.

33. My buddy, Peggy, can hang clothes faster than Superman.

34. The real steel magnolias live in my town and there’s a slew of them.

35. Kim’s daughter is meant to be a nurse…all you had to do was watch her interact with her mom to know that.

36. No one loves a mom the way my AS loves his mom and she knew it and loved that.

37. No one loves a woman the way Kim’s husband loved his wife.

38. A wife and mom can reduce two seminary-trained ministers to “reaching for adequate words.”

39. No one loves youth the way our former youth director loves “her kids.”

40. No one loves a daughter the way my  adoptive parents loved their daughter.

41. Your biggest problem when a family member dies in in our town is how to deal with overwhelming expressions of love.

42. The tears at her funeral are enough to make me seriously think about investing in Kimberly Clarke.

43. The PH  does know how to cry after all.

44. The eldest DS has a very long memory.

45. The DD identifies with her sister all too well.

46. The youngest DS would rather go to a funeral home than play percussion.

47. I am very angry…but not at God, as some might think, but at a disease that has the temerity, the audacity, and the insolence to think that it can take my buddy away from us and think it will survive much longer on this planet.

48. I look like heqq after I’ve cried for 24 hours straight. Yes, 24 hours straight.

49. I now know the importance of telling my friends I love them and overcoming my stoic Scot side to give them a hug.

50. Her death does not go unnoticed. From now on there will be donations and other forms of support for those I know who continue to wage war on this vicious disease.

51. Breast Cancer: You’re gone…you just don’t know it yet. Do not mess with me or those she loves. Do not mess with our Big Family.

Tomorrow’s Post: Poetry Day!


Just Because She’s Her…

Pink Ribbon

Warning: Get a beverage first.

Special Note: I am editing this as I reel from the news about the Boston Marathon. The tragedy that struck there should not deter us from doing good things for others. If anything, it should motivate us, even more, to do even greater works to counteract the evil in our midst.

Note: I first wrote this in February of 2009 after making a rather huge decision for my own life. Later on in the week, you’ll understand why I chose to re-post this now. At the bottom, I have provided an update. We are the selfless acts we perform for others:

I met her in 1993, a few short months after moving to our little Texas town. At first she intimidated me, honestly! She didn’t smile often and she was ALL business. We met in Sunday School, back when our kids were tots and very soon, I realized why everyone talked about her. I encountered her next as President of the Young Homemakers, a group that does community service around talking to each other about how challenging it can be to be a mom of little ones.
Next I encountered her as President of the elementary PTO. I noticed a trend–when she ran a meeting, they were done in an hour and productive. Few others seemed capable of such a feat, considering that the Board was composed of 27 very talkative, very opinionated, very stubborn women.

Then, she came down with thyroid cancer. While I wouldn’t say I knew her well at this point, something compelled me to visit her hospital room while she recovered from surgery to eliminate the cancer. I think she was a little surprised and stunned to see just an acquaintance visiting her. I was a little surprised myself. To this day I don’t know why I did it…but I think it had something to do with how she would eventually influence my life.

She was there, like many others, when I had my own crisis a few years later…those sudden heart attacks I often talk about. I don’t even want to know everything she did for me then. Let’s just say I felt her presence.

Next, she subbed as secretary of the church while I was drowning in church financial paperwork. As usual, she was competent in every way and I so wished she would just stay to do the job right.

I wound up working at our local university and one day not much later, so did she. We decided to do a certification together that would require us to get up at ridiculous hours on Saturday mornings to go to a town an hour away. I decided that I didn’t want anyone but her seeing what a grizzly bear I would be at that time of the morning. I knew she wouldn’t hold it against me! We solved the world’s problems then and talked about what we hoped our children would do later in life….the stuff that Moms talk about. And in those car rides, a friendship–an undying friendship was born.

Next stop was visiting colleges together with our eldest children. It was both a time that brought a lot of giggles to our faces and a time of complete and utter frustration–watch 2 moms try to counsel 2 very stubborn children on how to be independent…yeah, that’s really what I said…let’s just say 4 people were all very upset with each other and yet, we still came out on the other side loving one another even more intensely.

About this time the hubbies starting buddying up, too, and that’s a rarity…when you not only have a friendship, but your spouses do, too. Pretty soon I found myself loving her children as my own, for not only were they wonderful people in their own right, but they often interceded to make my children’s lives better, too.

One fall she and her daughter got it in their heads that our family and another should be invited to their Thanksgiving Dinner. That was one fun, crazy day and a tradition was born. What’s more…a new family was born…the infamous, wonderful BIG family.

One day the local “momma mafia” started emailing, calling and texting asking me if I had seen her lately. I hadn’t–many of our convos happened over instant messaging! But, soon I did and I knew why I had been contacted. Something was drastically wrong with Ms. Competent and we were gearing up for “Iwo Jima” to make sure she got herself looked at…that’s the momma mafia for you!

The exams confirmed our worst fears…Ms. Competent was dealing with Stage IV Breast Cancer…it was ravaging just about every part of her body. And yet, despite our collective tears, worrying, and overzealous attempts to help her family, she persevered and got herself back to the point where she could work part-time and be that mom again.

Soooooo….because she’s her, because she’s my buddy, because she’s the second mom to my kids, because she’s Ms. Competent, I’ve decided to send her a little “Get Well card” by walking the Dallas Breast Cancer 3 Day Walk next November in Dallas.

We’ve started a team…Kim’s Krew. The eldest DS consented to be my personal coach and chauffeur during those 3 days. See you there!

Update 2013: Kim’s health took a “nose dive” in the fall of 2009. Kim’s Krew completed the 3 Day in early November 2009, raising more than $ 10,000 in donations. Kim was there, even though she had just endured yet another painful round of chemo. (And even though we told her it would be just fine if she didn’t attend.) Unfortunately, Kim lost her battle with breast cancer in early 2010. We still miss our Kim…a LOT.

Point to Ponder Challenge # 1: My second cousin, Deb Cottle, is now battling breast cancer and was diagnosed at age 30 in 2011. A benefit spaghetti dinner will be taking place to help offset her substantial costs in fighting this nasty disease this coming Saturday from 3 pm to 7 pm, local time. If you’re in the Scottville, Michigan area, would you please do me a favor and eat some spaghetti and donate what you can? If you want more details, let me know an email where I may reply. I cannot attend (prior commitments, unfortunately), so you’ll make me one happy woman if you can attend for me!

Point to Ponder Challenge # 2: If that’s not possible, then do Deb and Kim a favor and sign up to run or walk in a breast cancer event in your area. Every little bit helps and many lives have been saved because of such selfless actions in the past. You are their heroes. Thanks!

Tomorrow’s Post: Slam Jam Session…