When Sarah and I decided to participate in this year’s CIBC Run for The Cure, I didn’t even think about writing this post. It was up until this point, not even something I considered. I mean, who wants to click on their local food blog to see a personal, and for the most part, off topic thread. Yet, after some consideration, and maybe a few tears, I realized that my blog would be yet another great way to reach out. After all, if food is the fuel for life, and cancer can rob us of this, why not combine the two in hopes we find a cure.
Every time I donate money now or volunteer my time, my thoughts go straight to my mom. A wonderful mother who could fill even the most depressed friend with inspiration, she spent her life dedicated to the aging masses as a geriatric nurse. To say I was devastated on Christmas of 2005 would be a massive understatement. Stage 4 Terminal Cancer. Best case scenario 18 – 24 months, worst 6 – 12. This is a situation as you can imagine, I never want to hear. My world filled overnight with everything from tears to questions. Why. Why now? Why my own mother, who’s spent her life caring for people? Why so young? Why ever?
The first month was a daze. For everyone involved. Coming from a tiny family meant it was easier to see that a terrible circumstance like this means some people step up to the plate, or step out. It is, I discovered, a fight that some choose to avoid almost all together. As the days turned into weeks, things only ever got worse. I think the day my mom had a central line inserted in her chest (for her constant chemo), we all took a deep look inwards. And then the debates began. A longer life would mean a steady supply of discomfort. While a shorter life would maybe help live a few more dreams. My mother never got to see Europe, a place she’d always dreamed off. She never saw me graduate from university. She never met Sarah. She never saw, or did, plenty of things. Still in her fifties, my mother passed away on the morning of February 28th, 2007. Just 14 months after being diagnosed.
I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the love and lessons I was able to absorb. From baking cookies on Saturdays, to going for walks in the park. My mom could make me laugh, my friends laugh, heck even the old folks who seemed so stodgy to me would laugh. She created a loving and open home for everyone who needed it. From classmates who couldn’t go home for Christmas, to friends who were had a few too many ryes; my mom was there to take care of them. I miss her everyday. I’ve carried a token of her on me everyday since that fateful Christmas, and I’ll continue doing it. Which is what makes me so happy about Run for the Cure. Maybe 30 years ago, cancer was a different beast. You knew someone who’s third aunt was diagnosed. Not anymore. Today, plenty of men and women are diagnosed with cancer every day. We need to make a difference, and we need to find a cure.
If you, or someone you know, can spare a few dollars, please don’t hesitate to donate – here. It’s a great cause, a great event, and something I hope allows others to avoid the same terrible situation I went through. Oh, and I promise to run the 5K with serious dedication…I wonder if I can get a pink leotard.