My Reason For Participating:
“For a number of years, I’ve been trying to put a Team Survivor Milwaukee together for women cancer survivors interested in athletics as a way to be healthy. A former Rare Chair Affair committee co-chair and WBCC board member, Patti Mahon, did the Danskin Triathlon with me a few years ago. I’ve decided I want to volunteer in support of breast cancer in another capacity. I love painting furniture, so I decided creating a chair for the Wisconsin Breast Cancer Coalition’s Rare Chair Affair as a Survivor Artist would be the perfect thing for me to do.”
I was in the midst of planning a special celebration for my 50th birthday: a month of bicycling and hiking in Bali! Then, I was diagnosed with breast cancer just before my 50th birthday.
I was convinced that cancer would not get me, what concerned me more was that a cancer diagnosis would end my plan. With the help of my surgeon and chemotherapy schedule, I went ahead with the plan between my 2nd and 3rd chemotherapy sessions!
I felt fabulous during the entire trip. I was convinced that heavy exercise saved me psychologically, emotionally, and who knows, maybe physically as well. I have since become involved in more triathlons (I will participate in my 3rd half ironman this summer), the Danskin Triathlon for Susan G. Komen, and running events from 5K to marathons.
Last summer, I was invited to join the Team Survivor in Juneau Alaska. It was one of the most amazing athletic experiences I have had! We had a team of 10 women, most of whom were cancer survivors. We participated in a running relay from Skagway, Alaska to White Horse, Yukon Territory: a total of 110 miles. We came in 3rd to last in crossing the finish line, (about 14 hours), but the excitement, empowerment, and thrill of putting our cumulated energy together and going beyond what any of us thought we could do, is unbelievable.
For me, my cancer diagnosis meant a loss of control of my own body. Marathon and triathlon training have empowered me, and given back that sense of control. I feel that my destiny is back in my own hands. I believe cancer was a gift. It has taught me to experience everything and never shy away from something intimidating!