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Thursday, October 1, 2009

What it Means to Me - The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk

By MaryAnn X. Meddish
2009 INA Nanny of the Year

I'm involved with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer 3-Day and I want you to know what it means to me. I've lost family, friends, and a child I babysat to cancer. I have family members with tumors and cancer and we fight, pray, and wait. About two years ago my sister-in-law, at age 35, was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma. At this point, I had reached enough and I joined the fight against cancer. I went to, registered, lead and joined training walks, worked on fundraising, attended workshops, and prepared to walk 60 miles in 3days thinking, "How hard could it be?"

3-Day 2008: I was at the starting point at 6am and walked my first 20 miles, I arrived at camp, looked at my tent and asked myself how I was going to get down there, but once I did, I was sound asleep until my cell phone rang at 4am. My sister-in-law was being rushed to the ER and it didn't look good. Day 2: I crawled out of my tent on legs like jello and started walking the next 20 miles. That evening I walked into camp with an Ace bandage around my knee, a rash around my ankles, and a plan to take the Sag van to lunch the next day, leaving me only to walk the last 7 miles, if that. I fell into my tent exhausted again that night. My phone rang in the middle of the night, my sister-in-law was gone. I cried myself back to sleep and woke up the next morning on a mission. The medical team wanted me to take a van to lunch. I told them, "My sister-in-law had died last night and she was a fighter. People fight cancer every day; they never get to stop, neither will I." They took a step back and with that I started walking. I limped into the holding area for closing ceremonies with a full blown case of cellulitis, feet the size of shoe boxes, and the knowledge that I was the last to arrive, but I also knew I walked every mile. I had learned just how hard it could be!

I have met amazing people though the 3-Day Walk and I have learned that there are people that I already know who are fighters and survivors, they just don't usually talk about it. Breast cancer alone strikes 1 in 8 women so it could be affecting about a dozen at any nanny conference. Eat healthy, use sunscreen, and get a mammogram, it's worth it.

3-Day 2009: This year I wanted to smile during the 3-Day. Walking outside with a bra over my T-shirt, pinkies in the air, yelling, "Whooo hooo, hook 'em up ladies." and hearing people 'Whooo hooo' in response. That's the icing on the cake!

This article appeared in the September issue of the INA Newsletter.

Reprinted with permission.


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