Today many of us learned of the passing of Gretta Waitz, the champion runner from Norway (and honorary member of the NY community) who won the NYC marathon 9 times! It was so sad to hear, but we (especially those of us with active, athletic lifestyles) should once again be reminded that there is no running away from cancer. As much of a champion as Gretta was, her 6 year battle was lost to a debilitating disease that I'm confident nobody reading this blog has not been touched by.
So, what's our take away? It does us no good to mire in the sadness of her passing, or for that matter, anyone's passing from the disease. And we can consider ourselves at the effect of the disease (maybe it will get us too). But for me, I recommend we take up the battle where Gretta left off and fight the disease with everything we've got. It may not have stricken us individually, but it certainly has personally. The challenge is not to be a victim or at the effect of the disease, but to be at the cause of doing something about it. Of course, as one person, it seems such a miniscule thing that I can do. Like a grain of sand on the beach. But as a world we can come together and create that beach, composed of the uncountable grains of sand all fighting for the same thing: A world that is cancer free. It's not important (in my way of thinking) that we direct our energies at raising money and awareness for breast cancer, prostrate cancer, lung cancer, brain cancer, blood borne cancers or you name it. It's important that we do something!
Personally, I've been a member (and a coach for people who were members) of Fred's Team (for those of you who remember Fred LeBow, founder of the NYC marathon who passed away from brain cancer) and for the past 11 years have coached or The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training. I've seen Team in Training pass the $1 Billion mark in fund raising! There's also Livestrong (which organization has been rated among the best in terms of percentages of fund raising that actually goes to the cause- in the Livestrong case-81%!). And there are so many more. It's your choice.
The important message is: don't just read this, say "oh, that's a nice idea, maybe I'll do a Susan B. Komen walk" and then go back to life. Make a commitment to give something of yourself in the vision of you (and your children) living in a world without cancer! And then take the first step: make a call, do an internet search, take action. If we all just give a little bit of time on a regular basis, we can make this happen!