It's getting to be that time of year when there are lots of 5K and other runs, walks and various events happening. As a casual runner, I've always liked doing these races, and usually do a couple a year. I always did them more for the fun of it and as a motivation to reach some kind of running goal, but they always have some kind of charity tie-in which a portion of the entry fee goes to (and which the organizers encourage runners to vigorously fundraise for).
Of course, I now have a renewed interest in the charity tie-in part of all of these events, and there are many that benefit breast cancer groups.
One in particular is the 5K Revlon Run/Walk for Women which takes place in New York City every May. I've actually done this race for the past 3 or 4 years. At first, a friend and I ran it together, and then about two years ago, my office decided to get a team organized and we all did it together - some running and some walking - with outside-the-office friends joining too. The race starts in Times Square and ends up in Central Park and I've always enjoyed running it (when else would the streets of Times Square be closed so I could run without fear of getting run over by a cab!).
Although the charity aspect was always secondary in my mind - really I was running it for fun and exercise - I always would get one of those "I'm running in remembrance of..." signs to pin to my back with my grandmother's name written in (she died of breast cancer when I was 2 years old).
This year, of course, it means so much more. This year, when I registered, I checked the box to indicate that "I am a cancer survivor." I never in a million years thought I'd ever have to check that box, but here I am. I even debated in my mind of whether I really can be considered a survivor yet - after all, I haven't beaten cancer yet; I'm still fighting. But there was no "I am fighting cancer" box to check and I figured I am a survivor so far, so I went ahead and checked the box. This year, I'll need two signs to pin to my back - one for my grandmother, and one for my own fight.
The Revlon charity actually has even more meaning for me than just raising funds to fight breast cancer. As regular readers of this blog know, I am on the drug Herceptin, a drug which has proven extremely effective against Her-2 positive breast cancer. Back in the late 80's/early 90's when Herceptin was being developed, the drug company stopped its funding at one point, and the Revlon charity stepped in and provided initial funding to keep the research going.
This drug is quite possibly saving my life as we speak, so supporting the charity the helped research continue suddenly has a whole new meaning for me. Who knows what other drugs are in development now that my donation - however small - might help further along and save the lives of other cancer patients 5, 10, or 15 years from now? So, I'll be participating this year with a whole new perspective.
And since taking part in this event this year has a whole new meaning not only for me, but for those that know and support me, my office decided to take it one step further this year. Instead of merely organizing a team to take part in the Revlon Run/Walk this year, my co-worker Kristin had the great idea to do a happy hour fundraiser to help raise money for the charity!
It will take place from 6:30-9:30pm on Tuesday, April 20th, at Libation, a bar located on 137 Ludlow Street here in New York (between Rivington and Stanton Streets). $40 at the door includes 3 hours of open bar and a donation to our team. If you are in NYC, I invite you to come and bring friends - the more the merrier! It will be a great night for a good cause. And a huge thank you goes to Kristin for organizing it!
If you can't make it to the fundraiser but would still like to donate, you can do so by making a donation to my fundraising page here or to our "Hawkettes" team page here.
I've been truly humbled by how my fight with breast cancer has inspired friends to get involved too. Two of my friends - Lori and Bernie - have decided to participate in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer taking place in New York City in October. This is no simple 5K - it's 39 miles over two days, and there is a substantial fundraising requirement that you have to commit to when you sign up.
Lori and Bernie have started a team for the Avon Walk called Emily's Entourage. Anyone who's interested in joining their team or making a donation can visit the team page here.
My sister and several of her friends in the Washington, DC, area, have also started an Emily's Entourage team for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure taking place in June in DC. They're even getting Emily's Entourage t-shirts made! Their fundraising page is here.
And my friend Dana is participating in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure in Philadelphia. She will be walking 60 miles over 3 days to raise money for breast cancer research. Her page is here. And Dana's sister Debbie who lives in Atlanta just signed up for the Atlanta Race for the Cure - we're blanketing the East Coast!
The fact that my friends are willing to make these commitments to run, walk and fundraise in my honor is truly amazing and means so much. I cannot possibly thank them enough!