Friday, February 24, 2012

What is your favorite food?

Today was a great day. We had half the team together Patty being back from the East Coast and able to join Leslie, the kids and I for another walk. And she has fallen in love with our sweet little survivor Olivia. I think she is beginning to see just why this family has come to mean so much to me.

As we walked we talked about the 3 day and training. We talked about our event and things we could do to make it ROCK! And Olivia talked too. Half the time I didn't hear her down there in the stroller And Jack, Jack smiled. He was pretty quiet while all these women chatted.

Our walk was leading to one of my favorite restaurants R'ho Thai. I knew it was some of my favorite food but Leslie told us we were on the way it was also Olivia's favorite food. Awhile ago a friend of the Purchases nominated Olivia for "Let's make a wish." I think they didn't understand how mature she really is. She's an old soul that one. She said she wanted to meet a certain Steeler football player and when asked what her favorite food was, she enthusiastically said Thai! They looked at her like Leslie and Rob made her say that!

We walked via the old Railroad right a-way. The kids walked half of the 6.5 miles round trip.
Jack is a good big brother holding her hand and smiling the whole way!
Patty is now a fan, even though putting down the cell phone is as hard for her as it is for me!
Yup... its hard.
Spring is on the way. We were having 70 + degree weather on this February day.
I had them pose in front of Escalle. The site of the first winery in Marin.
Yes, its not a lie - Thai is Olivia's favorite food!
Jack especially liked the Thai noodles.
While Leslie likes all kinds of food!

The kids napped a little bit on the way back to the car. We firmed up the weekend for our event. I can now announce we have set July 22 as our Pinktini and Popcorn gala. It is going to be incredible! Different! PINK!

I have also heard that our teammate Judy Palmer will be flying in for the event. I am so excited. Please mark your calendars. This year Team: Are We There Yet? will be throwing away the rule book.

In the meantime a donation would be swell!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What having Cancer can do

What Having Cancer Can Do

It can show you what true love is.
It can teach you how hope can become reality.
It can foster faith, lead to inner peace, make your friendships deeper.
It can enrich memories, steel your courage, move you to your very soul.
It puts your eyes beyond the moment, and makes of you a creature of everyone and everything before, here and beyond.

I wrote the above in response to a posting from a friend on Facebook I had seen before, about what Cancer cannot do. The timing was interesting when I read her post because shortly before I had spoken with a 42 year old client of mine who tomorrow is scheduled for a mastectomy.

The physical loss that she is facing has frightened her to her core. So much of who we are has been tied up in what we look like. She worries that she may lose her hair (if they determine she must have chemo). She worries about reconstruction after her breast is lost. The road ahead is full of uncertainties, but one thing is certain, after Friday, nothing will be the same.

She’s says she is glad to talk with me because I have been there. I feel inept at making the worry go away. All I can do is listening and understand and tell her what I feel today 16 and half years after I faced my agony of waiting for my life to change forever.

There's nothing fun about Cancer. No one wishes it on anyone else. And there are ignorant people who have some sort of personality flaw that makes them compelled to say stupid things and hurtful things to people in the most vulnerable times in their lives. But there are also those who lift you up, surround you with nothing but pure love.

The lessons you learn about yourself, about your personal strength, your faith and hope, your tenacity and determination all lead you to a place where you accept and love yourself more than you ever believed was possible. At least it did for me.

You realize life is so much more than what you see in the mirror, what clothes you wear, the color or existence of your hair. Life is rich and full. It is full of yesterdays and tomorrows. Life is so precious it is meant to be fought for with everything in your being. You come to believe life is not a gift it is your innate right and it is up to you to protect it and defend it.

And you realize there is so much we cannot see that is real and powerful. You can "feel" people through the miles who pray for you and send you light and strength. You know you are part of something much bigger than yourself.

For me to talk about Cancer and what it does or doesn't do is an exercise in gratefulness. Without Cancer having touched my life, I may have learned all these lessons in another way or maybe I never would have. The moments I have spent in my life missing the body I had before Cancer have been trumped by the person I have become because of Cancer.

Standing on the outside of a day in which so much of what you felt defined you is to be taken away, be ready to accept the things that will come that will enrich you. It is right and understandable to mourn the loss of a breast or a head of hair, or your control over the things around you. But life, in the face of loss, has a way of awakening (if you let it) unimaginable goodness. And for me, those things and people who have brought them that have transformed me.

Would I wish I never had Cancer. I wish no one would ever have Cancer and that is why I walk. But is there a day that I don't thank God for the life I have discovered SINCE I had Cancer, no. I walk because I celebrate life. I walk to rejoice in the person I have become. I walk because Cancer made me a fierce and powerful warrior and for that, I am grateful. And I walk, because when I do, I walk alongside thousands who have found their power in the face of Cancer.

My prayers are with Eleni for tomorrow that when she wakes up from the surgery she is surrounded by the love strength and knowledge that everything will be alright.

It will help me on mile 59 to know, you are one of those people who "get it".

Make a donation today.

On the road to the 3 day - Leslie, Olivia and Patty!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

On a mission....

A bright and sunny morning is just SCREAMING for a training walk. The thing is, we all still have jobs and lives that we need to juggle just to get it all in. Leslie let me know Jack had a cold and she was keeping him home from school. That meant, for Leslie to walk, she had Jack and Olivia to sort out. I was happy to see when I met them at the Community Center parking lot, she had both kids there.

Out came the jogging stroller for two. In went the kids bundled up with blankies and thumbs happily positioned in their mouths. Off we went on the bike path. "Boy Jack has gotten heavy" Leslie commented.

But off she went in a determined single minded stride heading off for our “short little walk on the bike path." Oh, I didn't tell you what she was wearing on her feet.... CLOGS! Leslie is convinced this is a good idea, and I am not going to argue the point. She said when she was doing rounds in the old days of being a Physician, they were the MOST comfortable thing. (Shhhh I have my doubts these will be the best shoe for 60 miles but... I am holding my tongue).

We got to the houseboats and I fully expected we would be turning around. But instead she got the kids some chocolate milk and kept on going. I thought, well maybe when we get to Molly Stones we will turn around, but no... on we went. Finally I saw the yacht Club in sight in downtown Sausalito and I think Leslie asked how far we had walked. I told her about 5 miles (which would mean we would be walking 10 mile by the end of the walk.) She didn't realize we had walked that far. I told her I was waiting for her to say it was time to turn around. She laughed "I was waiting for you to tell me!"

So off we went heading back the way we came. I convinced Leslie I could push the stroller for a while and she let me. Along the way we talked about all kinds of things. The more I talk with Leslie the more I see myself in her. At least that single minded, determined side... and I knew I was right.

When we got back to the car I looked at the miles tracker and saw we were just short of the 10 miles. I saw her face fall in disappointment. Yup that's a Cathy look too. We set goals for ourselves and somehow falling short is not acceptable. I assured her that a couple of laps around the parking lot would do the trick.

Leslie and the kids decided we should have lunch at Super Duper in Mill Valley and I gladly accepted. I parked the car about 2 blocks away and walked to the restaurant. They arrived shortly after I did, and I proudly showed Leslie the 5.34 miles on my tracker. HA! That did it... 10 miles.

I snapped a few pictures of the kids enjoying the lunch. Please note our warrior princess Olivia. That hair is growing back in! What a gift this family has been to me. How thrilled I am to be able to share the 3 day with Leslie and Leslie with the 3 day!

Next stop? It could be Mexico if someone doesn't tell that girl it’s time to turn around.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Shhhh I've got a secret

I guess I did have a secret because I didn't write anything about this beautiful day. I must have just loaded the pictures and got on with the rest of my day....and voila, an incomplete story. Let me tell you about our Saturday walk from the SF Ferry to Sausalito.

When I emailed Leslie to let her know I was planning a walk back from SF on Saturday she eagerly said she could come too. I have done this walk a million times. It is certainly one of my favorites, so I looked forward to showing her why I have come to love this walk so much.

I had Glenn drop me at the Larkspur Ferry and rendezvous-ed with Leslie there. She stood curbside (phone in hand) nervously wondering is I would get there in time. But there I was with room to spare.

"Follow me" I said, "this is where I like to sit." And I led her to the front of the boat, and showed her which seats would be facing forward once we were on the way.

We walked through the Ferry Building and the light went off for Leslie, "We could take the ferry here anytime with the kids!" There is a lot on this walk Jack, Joe and Olivia would love. From the Ferry building to Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 39 and Aquatic Park... there is a buzz and energy that kids eat up!

We stopped here and there to look at some of the sights. The flowers at Pier 39 make a perfect place to snap a picture like, dozens were already doing!
Once we got to Fisherman's Wharf we talked about what it used to be like.Back the 50's when I first saw the Wharf, there were fewer teeshirt shops and more boats. I don't think there was a Wax Museum. Now it is a kinetic frenzy of people and street performers, very unlike the old days. I took Leslie behind the fishing boats down a dock to the Fishermen and Seamen Chapel.
And I made sure she saw some of the boast that were out for hire, but still working fishing boats.
We watched the swimmers in Aquatic park and walked up and over the hills above Fort Mason. We stopped for an Asian Pear at the farmer's market there.

And walked on by the boast at Gaslight Cove. Leslie noticed one named Angelina (the name of Rob's Italian Grandmother.) We talked about what a wonderful woman she was.

After passing the St Francis we walked along Crissy Field watching the dogs run off leash. We also saw two proud Heron standing very tall in the grass.

We made a stop at the Sports Basement and talked about different walking shoes, the pluses and the minuses. The on to the Warming Hut where we grabbed a "Frank" Mutt dog, on a Acme roll, with "devil's hot sauce" and grilled onions.

Then we started our climb up to the bridge to make our way back to Marin.
On the Marin side I showed her the statue of the sailor and the military plaques at the memorial there. And we looked back at the city and all the miles we had walked. Imagining how many more we would be walking in the months to come.

It is a joy to be able to introduce someone to things you love. It is a privilege to be a guide to something as important as the 3 day to someone like Leslie. Speaking of which, she is waiting for me now for a short little walk on a bright and sunny day. Off I go!

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Bridget has been keeping a blog of her 6 year fight against Stage IV Breast Cancer "My big girl pants". She is the wonderful girl who called me and inspired me back in 2010. Every step I take in the 3 day, and on every training walk, I think about Bridget and people like her who are fighting every day for their lives. I would like you to read her most recent blog post. This is poignant and puts things into perspective in a way only Bridget can...


Read that and then DONATE! I am $344 from my first goal of $4600 which will allow me to walk two 60 miles walks, for people like Bridget.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Back in the saddle

Distractions...distractions. My goal, my passion is finding a cure for Cancer. Today the flu is over and the sun is shining. Leslie asked yesterday if I could sneak away for a walk, and I did have about 1 hour and 45 mins so I took her up on it. (That kind of day!) So we met at Blackies Pasture.

Olivia has become a real Marin Gal and knows just where Blackie lives. When we started off I suggested Leslie hold her on Blackie's back. Poor Via was pretty darn petrified but she tolerated the photo op.

As we walked Leslie and I talked about how committed we are to walking this walk. We are both survivors, Olivia is a survivor... we have a personal mission to end Cancer. I am excited to put the focus where it should be again. I am anxious for the conversation to return to what this has always been about... A cure!!!

It has been so disturbing to know how many of our walkers have been treated recently. A young college student was ganged up on in speech class because she is walking in the three day. Really... Really? She got back to her car and turned on the radio and the Black Eye Peas' 'I've got a feeling' came on. This is one of the songs we hear during the 3 day. She said she felt a wave of pink goodness wash over her and immediately felt better.

This community comprised of so many people from different walks of life, young /old, men /women all understand that goodness. Each are devoted to doing everything they can to find a cure. I told her, hold the course. Let them have their opinions and show them by example what you believe in. Find that nose bleed territory on the top of the mountain and hold course. Walk the walk.

I am so blessed be surrounded by people who inspire me. To walk with them is an honor beyond words. 2012 may have it's challenges, but those challenges will make us stronger for our fight. It will forge in us into mighty warriors who together will help us reach a day without Breast Cancer.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Cure

It's about the cure.

Many people are asking about who else does similar work in the Breast Cancer field. The following are links to some organizations that do, if differently than Komen. I promised to give you my take on some of the best to consider. I donate to some of these in addition to Komen, because fighting Breast Cancer is so important. 1 in 8 women are diagnosed in their lifetime, 1 in 8 will die. Whatever you do, find a way to help.

Sloan Kettering – They conduct 400 clinical trials and do a lot of great research . Outreach is east coast however for patient services. Think of this as a good source for research.

MD Anderson –Don’t see a specific way to give to only Breast Cancer. But they do remarkable work in the research and treatment of Cancer.

Breast Cancer Emergency Fund – This helps women going through Breast Cancer with the financial costs associated with this traumatic time in their lives.

Nancy’s List – A very local Marin grassroots organization founded by a survivor of Colon Cancer. This organization provides assistance with the little things from community members. It is very grassroots and has wonderful support of children with Cancer called Nancy’s Clubhouse.

The Foundation for Integrative Oncology – This organization strives to support individuals throughout their cancer journey, and encourages them to take an active role in their healing process by nurturing their mind, body, and spirit. Now in association with Marin General Hospital
I have not supported Avon personally but ...
Avon – The largest corporate organization for Breast Cancer, Avon does some wonderful work f. Avon Breast Foundation. They also provide funds for domestic violence.

And of course

Team: Are We There Yet? Their 60 mile walk will benefit Susan G Komen for the Cure. 100% of the net proceeds raised will go to Research 75% and Services and Treatment 25%. or

I have not researched the politics of any of these organization, just their Mission and their work. If you are interested in finding out the plus and minuses of those issues that concern you, please do research these. To me, all of these organizations do wonderful, meaningful work. Find the one that speaks to you and donate.
Cancer takes lives every day. For me that is a multi front war. I donate to several of these organizations but I walk for a cure with Komen. Your support of that walk would certainly mean the world to me, but it isn’t the only way to support this fight against Cancer. I hope you find a way to help me, END Breast Cancer and support those who go through it. For larger organizations, you may want to turn to to research the transparency and their finanicals.

This year I will be walking in two 3 day walks. I feel it is more important than ever to keep my focus on why I walk. I walk for a cure. 100% of the net proceeds of the walk go to that goal. 75% to research, 25% to community Screening and Treatment and Education and to support the local affiliate.

And that… I think that is the last I am going to say about that…. 120 miles… 6 days … 1 CURE.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Quick post

I'll be walking and working this week. Excited to be doing both. By weeks end I will, for those of you looking for local organizations that could need our help, post a list. I have some personal favorites but you can let me know yours as well.

The important thing has always been finding an end to cancer and helping those who have been touched by it. Your support of my walk is welcome and needed, but if your heart calls you to support this important goal another way, you have my thanks and respect. Of course you can support more than one organization or cause at a time!!! No one thing can be all things to all people.

Team:are we there yet? Says thanks.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

For Zoie

They were walking in Boston in 2011 for a lot of reasons. Some walked celebrating their own survival, some walked for their friends who had battled Cancer, some walked thinking about generations to come, some walked for those they had lost; Mothers, daughters, sisters, fathers, friends or wives. To each person, as they stood at opening ceremonies, those faces that inspired them filled their minds and hearts.

The heat was oppressive, and although it may have challenged some people's resolve, it didn't break their common Mission to END BREAST CANCER. On this first day, as temperatures rose to double digit's and the humidity rose with it, it was becoming an unsafe situation. The walk was shortened and the day abbreviated. Walkers were dehydrated, and most likely some had lost some of their emotional energy in these conditions. But their commitment didn't falter.

On day 2, the day began with a brief thunderstorm. Surely these Cancer warriors must have rolled their eyes as the began a day that they could only imagine would be challenging, albeit cooler. There is a hill on day 2 in Boston called the Belmont Hill, people say it's a pretty tough hill as Boston Hills go. As they trudged up they were handed water by supporters (even in the rain). Then at the top of the hill, they saw her.

She stood quietly with tears in her eyes, holding a poster that said "My Mom Died from Breast Cancer, Keep Walking for a Cure." And her tears fell and dropped into a wide unknown ocean.

I am certain many people who saw her were forever touched to the soul. One of those was Jim Hillman. Jim says when he saw this little girl, he walked over and gave her a gentle hug. Jim knew about losing a Mother, he was walking in memory of his Mother who had lost her battle. Walking across the street he turned several times to look back at the little girl, standing meekly, quietly holding her sign with its simple plea. And he said, "It was a life changing moment." No one walking in this walk could have walked by this girl without it hitting them square in the heart. THIS is why we walk. THIS is how we can make a difference.

Later that night at camp people talked about this girl on Belmont Hill. Jim asked if anyone knew who she was, but no one did. The 1700 walkers who each started this walk with their own reasons, had another reason to continue the fight. A ripple went out from the little girls tears and it ran across everyone in Boston.

Jim posted the girl's picture on Facebook trying to find out who she was. There were no answers but the wave was growing.

You see the word got around about this little girl on Belmont Hill . Jim was walking in not one, not two but all fourteen 3 day walks. As he walked he had a picture of Zoie on his backpack. He was on a Ferry in SF during the 3 day walk when he heard a woman behind him crying. He was used to that, he had heard that many times over many miles. So he turned to speak with her. Her name was Kristina. What she told him sent the ripples even further and stronger. "I take care of her," she said "her name is Zoie."

Kristina Libby and her friends had always had a cheer section on Belmont Hill, and 2011 was nothing different. She brought Zoie and told her she could write anything she wanted on her sign. It was an emotional day for Zoie, but she felt good knowing she was encouraging these people in pink walking for an end to Breast Cancer.

Jim came to find out Zoie's Mother had passed away in 2010 at the age of 41. She left behind three daughters. The sisters were under the care of a bachelor uncle on disability. As they walked Jim learned more and more and came away with this new friend Kristina determined to do something to help the girls. The wave gains speed.

After the walk, Jim and Kristina got to work. they started contacting whomever they thought would help. The 3 day community united in their effort to help this girl on Belmont Hill. One of those Jim contacted was one of his new 3 day friends from Boston, Paul Young. Paul is in the insurance business and worked to get the family adopted by his office. Jim got a list of things they may need including some home repairs. Around Christmas time when Paul went over to the home he noticed space heaters everywhere. The furnace didn't work. He reached out to the community and they answered. By Christmas the sisters had safe heat and some much need Christmas gifts to celebrate. The tear drops had become a Maverick wave.

Today Zoie is 10. She knows that although her Mother is gone, she is surrounded by a world of love and care. Had it not been for the 3 day, none of this would have happened. Each and every person who sees Zoie, or others like her, on the 3 day is reminded we all have our scars from this horrible disease and most of of them are not physical. Most are deep in your heart and soul. But somehow KNOWING you can do something about that is so very healing to all of us. Knowing the 75% of the net proceeds we raise goes to research that will END this disease, and the other 25% goes to the community who needs it, gives us comfort, hope and power we would not have any other way. By putting our feet where our hearts are, we can physically make that statement with every step.

We can END Breast Cancer.

Zoie saw that. Zoie felt that.

This year in Boston, Zoie and her sister Erin are applying to be Youth Corp members. Those beautiful gold shirted kids who cheer us on, who help us out at camp, and remind us this walk is for them perhaps even more than it is for us.

The Maverick wave is now a Tsunami. And you know what???

Breast Cancer is no match for a Tsunami....

So when you hear people say, we could do without the 3 day. I could just donate my money to another organization, please remember Zoie and how this community made such a difference in her life. How many other stories like Zoie's will not be able to be told without your support.
There's something to be said for boots on the ground or sneakers on the Hills of Belmont and little girls tears.

I am asking for your continued support.
Thank you

Friday, February 3, 2012

When turning around is a good thing

Wow what a couple of days this has been.

This is what I know. The Komen board has made it clear that even the perception of politics when it comes to Cancer is not ok. And boy did we ever see those political animals pounce from both sides when Komen dared to “de-fund” Planned Parenthood.

I am glad this happened. Why?

When I am walking in the 3 day there is such a sense of power. That power is not political. There are no party lines. There is no religion or race. When a 3 day walker walks in this walk they know they are walking for a cure to Cancer. 75% of the net proceeds from the money raised at the 3 day goes directly to research the other 25% goes to community education and screenings. Add that up. That’s 100% of the money raised . That is something to be proud of.

So when I received a phone call in 2010 from a stage IV Breast Cancer warrior (age 26) named Bridget, I listened. I listened to her thank me for the money I raised because it was paying for an experimental treatments that might save her life. And she is alive today. She and her husband were able to spend New Years in Vienna and walk in a snowfall holding hands . Susan G Komen made that possible.

I participated in the survivor circle in DC and stood next to some amazing women. One has had 3 recurrences of breast Cancer. One had just finished her chemotherapy. Most were mothers. One, with bright pink hair, told me she didn’t have to have chemotherapy because the research Susan G Komen funded had discovered many different types of Breast Cancer. Through that discovery they were able to tailor make her treatment. They determined Chemotherapy was not necessary. Only a year before she would have been subjected to Chemotherapy and I know how debilitating that is personally. That was made possible by Susan G Komen.

I have wrapped my arms around people walking in the 3 day because their daughter can’t, or their wives. Breast Cancer had taken them. There is so much more we need to do.

Is Susan G Komen perfect? Not by any stretch. No organization is. But it has been and will continue to be our best hope for finding a cure to Breast Cancer. Debate is a good thing. It allows us to really ask ourselves what our true intentions are. Self examination is extremely powerful because it can lead to positive change and that only makes us stronger. This incident has made Komen look in the mirror and ask itself, what is our Mission and how do we protect it. They made a horrible misstep by creating a situation which led some to believe their Mission had changed. An organization in my mind is far more powerful when it is supported from the bottom up, and not the top down. I believe the last few days will strengthen Komen by reaffirming its true soul. It's true calling. To end Breast Cancer.

I have joined thousands who stand at closing ceremonies at the 3 day who hear the words shouted to universe , “Until this is a world without Breast Cancer WE WILL NEVER GIVE UP!” I will never give up. I hope you won’t either.

I hope I can continue to count you as a supporter of this great cause.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

"The Accidental Re-Branding of Komen"

They didn't see it coming and for that I am truly angry and very sad. When the press release hit with the news that Susan G Komen had pulled funding from Planned Parenthood, it ignited passions in people about issues not at all related to the End of Breast Cancer. It flamed the fires of the abortion debate and possibly irrevocably tied Susan G Komen to that debate.

All of this happened, I believe, because they were ignorant or arrogant enough to think the logic of what they were doing outweighed the emotion that would follow. They felt (or acted) as if they did'nt have to address the whys of what they did. In that void of communication those surprised and angered took over the conversation, and those who portrayed this as a major victory for pro-life passion joined in.

The conversation flew straight off of the facts, that 1 in 8 women will battle Breast cancer and of those 1 in 8 will die, and square onto a political agenda, far right vs. far left schemes. There was no talk about the community outreach that is being done through Susan G Komen, just that Susan G Komen had abandoned under insured women and left them standing at a closed Planned Parenthood door (which of course is not the case.)

You and I know, once the conversation swings in one myopic direction, there is a whole world not being seen. Especially when that shift happens in a blink of an eye. I thought, since I have received more than one call and email of concern I would give you my take on Susan G Komen and why I will continue to walk for them despite their inexcusable debacle in regards to Planned Parenthood.

I am a 16 year survivor of a disease that would have killed me had it NOT been for the work Komen had done on several different fronts. Their work at awareness brought me the knowledge that self-exam was important. Had I not found the lump I did, I would be dead. I was part of the first wave of folks using a chemotherapy drug whose research had been paid for in part by a Komen Grant. I would not be alive today without chemotherapy. And Komen has given me an avenue to express my passion and determination to end Cancer. In the process of walking all those miles, I gained a belief in myself that I do not imagine I would have gotten in any other way. For that I will be forever grateful.

The community that I walk with at Komen has never been political. I walk next to people who are “pro-life” while I have always been “pro-choice”. The walk has never been about that, it has been about ending Cancer. It will always be about that for me. I do not intend on anyone hijacking this organization for political purposes and in the process leave my daughters to face a world where Breast Cancer has the control. I will not allow that.

Facts: Komen invested over $93,000,000 in community grants and services. Of that $680,000 this past year was given to 19 Planned Parenthood facilities. Avon didn’t fund Planned Parenthood. Komen did 5 years ago and that took gutts other organizations didn't have. They knew they would take flack for giving any money to Planned Parenthood but they did it anyway because at the time it was the best way to get these services to women. They lost support from some who felt Planned Parenthood was the devil. In the past few years however, as Komen sought to fine tune their community outreach, hoping to improve the directness of their grants to support of services, they helped fund and create many other community programs including mobile mammograms. These vans go into communities where these services are not available either due to no insurance or lack of education. They provide free or low cost mammograms and save lives. Planned Parenthood would refer out the clients they saw, so the service is less direct.

Non-profits review grant money yearly. This is not unique to Komen. It was the surprise of the announcement that sent people reeling. The press release hit and Planned parenthood in a defensive move tied the decision to pressure from the right wing thereby igniting those with other points of view. Komen did not help that perception by saying a change in policy that, no grants can be given to organizations who are under local, state or federal investigation was the reason for the withdrawal of funding from Planned Parenthood. There are many reasons why Planned Parenthood is valued by many people and the senante investigation is by its nature political.

Planned Parenthood provides many more services (unrelated to Breast Health) including screening for other women’s cancers, reproductive choice to name only a few. I believe Planned Parenthood to be a vital service to an under insured world. I support them and have donated to them. Their core mission is not just Breast Cancer. Right or wrong, it is also, and has been for as long as I can remember,a polarizing political group that brings out people’s anger or support with passion on both sides.

I want Komen to be non-political and I believe it has been. Breast Cancer doesn’t care if you believe in abortion or global warming or tax cuts for the rich. When I stand next to a fellow survivor I have no idea where they came from or “who” they are. They have fought an enemy who tried to take their life and are living to tell the story. But Komen has become political whether they like it or not. They have made a number of truly stupid choices. Choices like hiring Karen Handel a conservative pro-lifer who is VP in charge of policy. She needs to go. Even if she never pushed an agenda (which I doubt) she needs to go because the perception that she may have is enough to give her the boot. Komen should reverse the new policy regarding funding organizations under investigation. There are some fundamental American values like innocent until proven guilty that should come into play. Otherwise this will happen again because of someone's political motives. Komen should demonstrate their commitment to the underserved by sharing the impressive and extensive list of community programs that have been funding. The link following is just in the Washington DC area listing of some of the mammogram facilities funded by Susan G Komen.

No longer will fundraising or the work we seek to do be as easy as it was, relying on the Komen brand to build awareness and save lives. No, now we have to refocus to the mission and remove any hint of politics and work fervently to keep it that way. Komen needs to listen to those people whose blood, sweat. tears and blisters made them the most successful grassroots organization in history. We are saying; don’t leave us here to explain this misstep to our supporters. Fix it. I intend to be part of that fixing. But I can’t do it from outside.

I didn’t give in to Cancer. You gave me tools I could use to fight it. I will not give in to this challenge either. I will not give up on Susan G Komen, I will fight to protect it and better it. I will never give in until this is a world without Breast Cancer. Help me, help you, you need to react.

I hope those of you who have supported me in the past can see beyond the anger of the moment. I hope you will write to Komen tell them how you feel, and if you support Planned Parenthood donate to Planned Parenthood. (Planned Parnethood has already made up all of the Komen money and more). When you donate to Planned Parenthood do it because you support their mission which does things Komen can't. And when you donate to Komen, donate to them for the work they do; Research, education, community outreach, services. 84% or every dollar going toward finding a cure and saving lives.

Thank you all for your support over the years. There is so much more that needs to be done. I hope you can still support me and my fight to end this disease. Now, having said that, you are welcome to share your thoughts, but me… me I need to get walking.