the weekend to end breast cancer – a transforming experience

“she made it another year, she made it another year.” that’s all that went through my mind as i watched the crowd of walkers surge into the stadium.

yesterday afternoon was the celebration of another weekend to end breast cancer. one weekend a year, thousands of walkers, encouraged by tens of thousands of sponsors, donors and supporters, walk 60 km (38 miles) to help erase breast cancer.

my friend and soul mate haedy was one of the walkers. one of the survivors.

despite her failing health, but equipped, as always, with a fierce determination, she and her husband trekked a weekend through blisters, laughter, sore backs, hugs, tears, tiredness and honking cars to stand up – nay, rear up – and say no to suffering, premature death and endless heartache.

on a very tangible level, this has made a huge difference. before the weekend to end breast cancer started in 2004, the BC cancer society had $200,000 to study breast cancer. since then, $10,000,000 have been allocated to breast cancer research.

among other things, they have hired dr. sam aparicio, a leading researcher in the field, who is currently working a program called METABRIC. this program is rescuing a unique and irreplaceable collection of breast tumour specimens, and is developing a new technology platform capable of screening thousands of drug molecules for activity against breast cancer.

the donations come from the $2,000 minimum each walker has to raise. this year, once again, buy-low foods and still creek press made important donations to haedy and her husband. a huge chunk of money came from a fundraiser in july that haedy organized (and cooked for like mad). (and thanks, by the way, to enigma, a restaurant that invited a bunch of us last night to nibble on their delicious food to celebrate these amazing accomplishments.)

on a less tangible level, walking the weekend to end breast cancer is a transformative experience. i did it myself last year. this year i saw haedy’s husband go through it. his wife’s ill health has been very difficult for him, as it would be for any spouse, parent or child. but i know something happened: there was a glow to him that i hadn’t seen in a long time.

there is something that takes place when thousands of people get together to work on a common goal. it’s an army, alright, and it has that feeling of strong bonding. but it’s truly an army of peace and love, full of pink, loving, creative women soldiers. (and a few guys – 60 participated this year. good for them, and for us!)

if you can’t make the walk next year – it happens all over canada – at least come out and cheer. it’s a hoot! lots of the participants dress up, and each year they come up with more ingenious slogans. my favourite this year was a team with its slogan emblazoned on their t-shirts (pink, of course): “saving second base”.

17 thoughts on “the weekend to end breast cancer – a transforming experience

  1. haedy

    Isabella you are my soul mate! and as you chanted “she made it another year” i was praying just one more please… so get ready for 2008 because we are going again. i would not have made it the last 4 years without the love and support you, your familiy and ed have given me to participate in this life “transforming” event.. each year as i gather strength and encouragement from the thousands of participants, supporters and donors i find myself looking forward and planning again, greatful for the year that has passed so quickly and hopeful for the year to come.

  2. brenda

    Thank you Isabella for putting into words some of the overwhelming thoughts and feelings about this weekend and our beloved Haedy. I for one am very proud of Ed and his determination and fierce love for Haedy.
    I am so proud to be walking with Haedy again in 2008 in Montreal. She will make it ‘one more year”

  3. marian

    how fantastic and heartwarming..this exciting news reaching all the way over the mountains to calgary!
    i am in awe of the love and support..and the hope
    thank you all for sharing such inspiration while demonstrating the power of ideas and love!
    i am honored to celebrate with you!

  4. jason fragrance

    I have read some moments ago an article that was talking about the new Barbie breast cancer, and it was all written with irony and even mocking a bit… on the people who think that they can do something against this. I am glad to see that there are people that still hope.

  5. Kris

    I came across this when searching for Weekend experiences online. I am taking part this year (it starts tomorrow! AHH!!) for the first time. I just wanted to say I hope your friend is doing well – there’s no reason she shouldn’t with the support she has. That’s for sharing your experience and maybe I’ll be walking beside you at some point this weekend!

  6. Cancer Information Provider

    Appreciated Jenny’s post and also your great in-depth (photographic too!) content here. Bookmarking you and will come back often. Would be good to see a centralized clearinghouse of “walks” or tributes from around the country and what dates they are on.

  7. hair extensions

    Nice post. Really appreciate your work. This blog is a great example for all the bloggers in the world. The message you give to the world and the great service you are providing cannot be described in words. Thanks for the support.

  8. Zodiac Pool Cleaners

    Great post. Thanks for helping out all the patients. This is so emotional for me because my sister had breast cancer. I’m going to tell her about your site. Thanks again.

  9. Weight Loss Pills USA

    Really good post. I think people are mor aware about breast cancer today than few years back, but still there should be an ongoing work of raising awareness of breast cancer.

    Thanks for a great post.

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