Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cancer...think pink...and FOCUS.....your help needed

"Ten years of climbin' that ladder
Oh, but money and power don't matter
When the doctor said "the cancer spread"
She holds on tight to her husband and babies
And says "this is just another test God gave me.
And I know just how to handle this"

I'll hold my head high
I'll never let this define
The light in my eyes
Love myself, give it Hell
I'll take on this world
I'll stand and be strong
No, I'll never give up
I will conquer with love
And I'll fight like
Like a girl"

The first time I heard the word cancer mentioned as more than a commercial on tv or in a health class I was around 10. I was standing in the basement next to the washer with my mom and she told me my grandfather had cancer. I still remember my naive, childish response..."he can't have cancer, cause you die from that and he can't die". The next few months were spent driving back and forth every weekend, 4 hours in each direction, to stand in his hospital room while he fought bladder cancer. He won the battle, but his life was never the same as he lost his bladder and had to live with bags and tubes for the rest of this life.

For all the amazing things we have conquered in the world, cancer still robs families of loved ones, robs individuals of their quality of life and changes lives forever! While I don't have the power to cure cancer, I do have the ability now that I have changed my life to play a role in that fight. So I have decided my next physical undertaking is to do the Cancer Society's Relay for Life (July 16-17th) in Eagan, MN. For me this is a pre-lude to meeting one of my long term goals I set when I started with the trainer, which is to someday do the Three day Susan Komen Breast Cancer Walk.

So why am I doing this? And why now? The why now is easy, because I finally can. After doing the "tri" our team needed another event to focus on, and we chose this.

The why I am doing this event is a little more deep. There have been many people in my life touched by cancer, but I have opted to do this in honor of three amazingly powerful women from my childhood....Mrs. Flansburg, Mrs. Karp and Mrs. Cort (yes even though I am 40 now they are still being called Mrs and not by their first name!). Each of them taught me a valuable lesson in life and I can't think of a better way to honor them.

Mrs. Flansburg (Virginia R. Flansburg "Ginny" 6/11/39 - 03/1/92). I remember Mrs Flansburg as the team mom! I mentioned in an earlier post about summer softball and our coach Mr. Flansburg. Well he was never there alone. Mrs F was scorekeeper, drink and snack provider and team mom. She always made us all felt like we mattered and she was proud of us no matter how pitiful we were skill wise. And the stars were no more important than those of us they stuck out in the outfield where no one could hit the ball!!! In addition to mom to all of us, she had three daughters and a loving husband, all who were robbed of her by this terrible disease. As her daughter put it when I asked her about her mom's cancer this week "lung, brain, bone........u name it and she had cancer of it at the end".

The lesson I took into life from knowing Mrs Flansburg was to give it your best, and as long as you have done that you are as good as anyone else!!!!

Mrs Cort (Maureen Cort "Tish" 12/28/51 - 10/3/09). I can't say I remember as much detail about Mrs. Cort as I do the other two. She was more a friend of my mom's than having a direct role in my life. But despite that I remember her always being around and just being that mom that seemed to have it a little more "together" than most of the families in town. She was incredibly dedicated to her children, her family, to our school and she was one of those moms that was always at every event. She was never afraid to be vocal about something she believed in. She fought her battle with cancer for 12 long years, despite an initial prognosis of having very little time. She left behind a husband, two very loving children and her grandchildren. As her daughter shared with me, "Mom was diagnosed 12 yrs ago with stage 4 breast cancer and wasn't given that much time. We researched, questioned, etc and she lived 12 yrs. Although it was a wonderful 12 yrs and she was able to know all of my 4 children, it was also 12 yrs full of anxiety, fear, tears. Our life was never the same."

The lessons I took into life from knowing Mrs Cort was stand up for what you believe in andand be proud of being a smart, capable woman.

Mrs Karp (Linda K. Karp 4/19/44 - 9/13/09). Mrs Karp was one of the most influential women in my life, but sadly I never got to tell her that, and deeply regreat that. She was the mom of one of my classmates and a presence in my life for 12 years, from kindergarten to graduation, but it was only recently I have shared with her family what she meant to me. I grew up in a very Christian town. The Karps were one of only two Jewish families in our school district, which was not a place where being different was always comfortable. But every year Mrs. Karp came in and shared with us their holidays and their faith. Mrs Karp fought a long hard battle with cancer and in the end left behind a devoted husband, two loving children and grandchildren.

The lessons I took into life from knowing Mrs Karp were many, it was the first introduction in my world to a faith that would come to be central to who I am, but more importantly she taught me that it was more important to be true to who you are, what you are and to never apologize for that, that the world can take it or leave it but you shouldn't hide who you are to make others happy.

I mentioned in the title of this post that YOUR help was needed in honoring these three women and the others who have battled cancer. What do I need...

1) Come to Eagan, MN and walk with me in the event! As this is a team relay I am trying to build as large a team possible. I have started a team and am slowly finding others to walk with me. It is a 12 hour committment (Friday July 16 6pm- Saturday July 17 6am). You do not have to walk the whole time, someone from the team does have to be on the track at all times. And I want as many of my friends there with me as possible. Right now I know I have new friends from "Team FOCUS" joining me and also it sounds like I will have some old friends flying in around the country to walk. As many people as we can get for this cause the better. I promise we WILL have fun!!!!

If you are interested in joining the team please leave a comment or visit my team page to join the team... Pam Ingram...Team FOCUS Relay Page

Please don't make me walk alone for 12 hours!

2) This is a fund raising event. The money goes towards cancer research. We have a team goal of $1000 but I would like to see that far exceeded. Please give!!!! The donations are done online at the following link to access my page and donate. You can also sign up to walk at this link. ... Pam Ingram...Team FOCUS Relay Page.
PS I am still working on getting a picture of Mrs Karp and apologize for it not being posted yet.

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