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The Day I Walked A Marathon: Relay for Life 2012

Last weekend was Relay for Life – I’ve participated in six Relays now, but this one just felt like it was going to be special. It was the first time I was spending the entire Relay with my mom, and it was the first time I’ve done a Relay that’s lasted 24 hours (college Relays are 12 hours).

I signed up while visiting home for Easter weekend, then worked my booty off fundraising online. My goal was to raise $500, but I honestly didn’t think I would raise that much in the shortened time span. With my work schedule, I knew I wouldn’t have time to plan an event.

But in the end, all of my friends, family members and co-workers really stepped it up and contributed to such an amazing cause that I hold near and dear to my heart. In the last day before Relay, I raised over $200! Not only did I reach my goal, but I went $75 over it 🙂

So I headed upstate Friday night and crashed at my parent’s house. Before I knew it, the high-pitched screeching noise of my alarm sounded and it was time to Relay!

But wait!

I had to get a hair cut first 😉

OK, so I got it cut after I helped set up the tent, but still. I hadn’t had one since January, so I think it was time to treat my tresses to some love. And I only paid $20 for it, versus the $80 I dropped when it was chopped in NYC. Quality haircut for an unbeatable price, if you ask me!

But back to Relay.

There were a ton of activities throughout the day and the music was pumping, but my legs felt the urge to walk. So I did lap after lap, and before I knew it, I was at 10 miles. Time flies when your family is walking with you, that’s for sure. We had so much to catch up on! My step-brother, Stephen, popped up for a few hours and walked five miles with me and I learned more about him during those laps than I ever would have if we were just sitting at home on the couch. Walkin’ leads to talkin’, I swear.

My high school buddy, Tim, stopped by for some late-night laps, too. I’m so grateful he did because otherwise there’s no way I would’ve stayed up so late. By the time he showed up at 11pm, I made it a personal goal of mine to walk the marathon distance. I didn’t care how long it took, I just wanted to cover the miles. Timmy definitely helped with that as we walked under the stars and chatted the night away. He stayed for six miles, so by the time he left I was at 16!

I walked a bit more by myself, reflecting on everywhere my life has taken me in the last year. It was nice to just look up at the stars and hear nothing but people walking and quietly chatting. Living in New York City is amazing, but escaping to the countryside is equally fantastic.

Soon it was 3:00am and in need of a cat nap. So I climbed into the tent I was sharing with my mom and step-dad, snuggled into my sleeping bag and slept for 2.5 hours. ‘Twas fabulous.

Waking up at 5:30am was easy, which always seems to happen when I’m camping – it’s just easier to wake up with the sun. So I crawled out of the tent, walked a few laps to wake up, and decided to run some miles to put me closer to my goal.

My step-dad clearly knows how to catch me with beautiful form.

I covered five miles, chatting with another Relayer who was putting in some early morning time on her feet. This was her first Relay and we chatted about everything surrounding the event, running and life here versus life in NYC. Great way to pass the time! But soon my tummy was rumbling, so I dropped her off at her campsite, finished another lap and stopped for an egg sandwich another team was cooking. Yum.

The rest of the event wrapped itself up rather quickly. I finished my miles with about an hour to spare! By then, my legs were pretty dang tired and i just wanted to sleep. But we stayed through the awards to find out how much money was raised.

One thing I never knew that I found rather interesting: Herkimer County, which is where this Relay was, is the fifth poorest county in New York State. Fifth. I had no idea. Yet everyone came together, worked hard and raised an impressive amount of money because it’s what matters to them. Blows me away.

Oh, you wanna know how much we raised? Last year, $75,000 was raised. In 2012, we went over…

$78,671!!!

We far exceeded our goals and did a great job fundraising. My mom’s team, the LFH Leap Frogs, made the Gold Level and raised over $6,000! We beat every goal we had set for ourselves and couldn’t be more pleased with the results. We’re already chatting about room for improvement though and have our sights set on the platinum level next year!

I had such a fantastic weekend, and this was a great bonding experience between my family and I. I loved spending Father’s Day with Ed, working together for a cause that means so much to us. And I loved chatting with my mom about everything going on in our lives now, while we fight something that tried to take her away from us. I’m so grateful for every single day I have with my family and this was another Relay that I’ll always remember ❤

I also want to shout a huge THANK YOU to everyone who donated during my fundraising period. Your generosity means so, so much to me and I could not be more blessed. Family, friends, fellow bloggers and co-workers all contributed and I’m so grateful for all of the amazing people in my life. Sending thousands of hugs and kisses your way! xxoo

What about you? Have you participated in a Relay this year? Some of you have reached out saying you were doing one after reading my past Relay posts, so if you’re a blogger, please send me links!

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I’m Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving-Eve! Tomorrow marks the celebration of my favorite holiday in the whole entire world. It has all of the important F’s: family, friends, food and football! It’s not very often that you get all four of those together and I want to soak up as much of it as I can.

Pudding puff pastries for dessert tomorrow!

But more importantly, this holiday is about being thankful for all the beautiful, wonderful things happening in your life instead of focusing on the negative, which happens more often than most of us like to admit (at least me).

Every year, my mom requires us to all go around the dinner table and say at least one thing we’re grateful for and one thing on our bucket list. She’s a big believer in goals and dreams, and this is an annual reminder to keep on keeping on. What am I thankful for? I’m so glad you asked:

My family. First and foremost, I’m so unbelievably thankful for the family in my life. I have a great support system and people I know I can turn to with any problem. I’m grateful they are in good health and I get to spend time with so many of them this holiday weekend.

Justin and I on the Brooklyn Bridge. We're happier than we look. It was windy.

Liz. Yeah, she’s in Oklahoma. But she’s my best friend. Even though she’s a bajillion miles away, or at least that’s what it feels like, we still talk on a regular basis and she’s the first person I call with good and/or bad news. I can’t wait until the day she moves back to New York for good and I can see her all the time again. Until then, I’ll cry a little inside as I constantly search flight sites to find something semi-cheap to Oklahoma.

Dustin. We’ve been through a lot this year, some great stuff and some really difficult things. No matter what, we’ve been able to work through it all and he’s really been my rock. I’m so thankful that we’re living together and continuing to grow our relationship awesome-ness.

My friends. Old and new, I love you all. I’ve made some great friends in the last few years and I’m so thankful for each and every one of them. People come in and out of your life for a reason, and I honestly believe every single one of my friends has made a great impact on me. Love you all.

At Louis Armstrong Park in New Orleans. Our version of Where's Waldo?!

My health. I’ve been relatively healthy for the entire year and I could not be more happy about that. It’s allowed me to do a lot of fun, fit things that I’ve had on my bucket list (like running a half-marathon) and kept me out of the hospital. That’s always a good deal.

Being in New York City. I’m living the dream. It’s not easy, but I’m doing it. I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given to really prove myself and work toward success in my career.

Running. It’s awesome. I’ve fallen in love and I’m so excited to start marathon training soon.

All of you. Thank you so much for coming to check out the blog and read whatever I have to say on a random day. It really means the world to me. And I get all sorts of excited whenever I get an email saying someone “liked” my post, I have a new subscriber, or a new comment is waiting for me to view 🙂

And in honor of mom’s Thanksgiving tradition, here are a few things on my bucket list for the year (until next Thanksgiving):

  1. Complete my first marathon.
  2. Volunteer at the Hope Lodge in NYC.
  3. Raise money for the American Cancer Society during a race.
  4. Get my personal training certification.
  5. Run at least three more races in new states.

I hope everyone has a fantastic day tomorrow; Happy Thanksgiving!

What are you thankful for? Tell me something on your bucket list!

p.s. If you want to see photos from my birthday trip to New Orleans, check out my Facebook page!

Cancer Sucks

I know I said I’d outline my September goals today, but that needs to wait. This is more important. First and foremost, this blog is my personal space to talk, vent and sometimes just plain scream about what’s going on in my world. Writing is therapeutic for me. So if you decide to continue reading this post, please know that this is my therapy for the night.

Cancer sucks.

It just plain does. I hate every single thing about it. I hate the fact that no matter what you do, how healthy you are, or how hard you try, you can’t prevent it. It doesn’t choose who it decides to attack. Cancer doesn’t play favorites, it isn’t ever nice to you. Sometimes you can do everything right and you’ll still get cancer.

How is this fair?

It’s not. I’m so irritated, annoyed, angry, frustrated, upset, and a whole other list of emotions with cancer. I’m so tired of it invading my life and attacking those I love the most. What did they do to deserve it? NOTHING. What does anyone do to deserve it? NOTHING. It’s just not fair. I hate the way that cancer can just turn your life upside down. It turns your own body against you. 

You’re probably wondering why I’ve gone off on this little rant. Actually, you’ve likely figured it out, you’re all smart. I found out today that someone very near and dear to my heart has skin cancer. He was diagnosed yesterday. Luckily, they caught it early enough and it hasn’t spread, but it’s still there. It still exists. And it still sucks.

I received the phone call this afternoon, when I got out of work (half day!) and was casually cleaning up my apartment. Once I heard the news, I lost it. Didn’t even take 2.5 seconds before I started bawling my eyes out. Cancer does that to a person. It’s so life-altering. You never know what’s going to happen, and that’s terrifying.

So what did I do? My casual cleaning got kicked into high gear as I tried not to think about it. I cleaned and organized my entire living room, dining room, kitchen and bedroom. I washed my laundry and put it all away (including my bed sheets and pillowcases). I organized my closet and filled a bag with clothes to donate.

None of it worked. Every time I thought about it, I started crying. There was a lot of pent-up energy inside of me, so I laced on my sneakers. Maybe a run would help, it’s been therapeutic for me before. So I took a deep breath and ran out the door.

And I ran fast. Actually, I think it’s the fastest I’ve run in a long time. The angry thoughts in my head kept propelling me forward, moving me without even having to think about what my body was doing. Before I knew it, I was at my usual turn around spot. I grabbed a quick drink of water, then headed back home.

I thought about all of the times cancer has invaded my life. Each person, every memory flowed through me as easily as my blood was pumping. I had my iPod on, but I couldn’t tell you a single word that rang through my ears. My Garmin was strapped to my wrist, but I didn’t glance at it once. This stupid thing called cancer was consuming me.

And then I fell. Ouch.

I don’t know what happened. I think my foot hit an elevated part of the sidewalk. Or I could have slipped on some sand. Or my legs were just moving faster than what I’m used to and the rest of my body couldn’t keep up. I don’t know what it was, but one minute I was thinking about my mom and all the crap she went through back when she had cancer, and the next minute I was eating pavement. Fun.

Gotta love getting a little bloody, huh? Made me look tough as I ran along.

I finished up, turned off my watch and glanced down. I averaged a 9:10 pace and finished in 27:31. That’s fast for me. Normally I would be beaming with pride about this time and would be smiling ear-to-ear as I walked through my door. Instead, I leaned against my door frame and cried once more.

It’s really disheartening to see how common cancer still is. I’ve poured my heart and soul into fighting this disease and participate in basically anything sponsored by the American Cancer Society. My wallet is usually close to empty because I want to kick cancer’s ass so badly. I’ll gladly hand over my money to help scientists find whatever it is that’s going to one day cure cancer.

I just wish they’d find the cure now.

Every day, I hope for a day without cancer. I hope that sometime in my lifetime, something new will be found and it will be able to save lives. I know we’ve made a lot of progress in the last decade, but I still crave more. Because without more, people like my friend still have to embark on the fight of their lives.

I haven’t made the official announcement yet, but I suppose now is as good a time as any. I have been working with a close friend of mine at the American Cancer Society, Betsy, to get everything set up for my half-marathon. If you remember, I signed up to run a half in New Orleans to celebrate my 22nd birthday with my roommate Libby. I decided a little over a month ago that I wasn’t going to just run to celebrate my birthday. I was going to run for more birthdays.

For the Iron Girl half in New Orleans on November 20, I’m fundraising for the American Cancer Society. I have some fundraisers cooking, and I will have an online page set up soon. I’ll make a more formal post about this at a later date, but now you have a heads up. As you can see, cancer just effing sucks. And I want to kick its ass so badly.

With that, I’m signing off. It’s been a very draining day. My night involves re-runs of Friends, and hopefully something involving peanut butter and ice cream.

Have you ever been affected by cancer? Let’s kick its ass together. 

Why I Relay

Happy Monday! I had a looong weekend and am finally playing catch up! But the great news is that Relay for Life was AWESOME and we raised over $75,400 for the American Cancer Society! My mom’s team did an amazing job and raised just over $3,400! What an amazing weekend spent beating cancer 🙂

Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back.

For those of you who don’t know, community Relays last 24 hours, which was a completely new experience for me because college Relays are 12 hours long. The whole day was fantastic and I really enjoyed walking around the track and participating in all of the fundraisers. I ended up completing 15 miles of walking in 11 hours, along with a few games of Kan Jam and an hour of Zumba (Fun Fact: I went to school and worked at the gym with the daughter of the guy who invented Kan Jam). It was scorching out, so I’m happy with the level of activity I had going on. I also had some delicious eats!

An apple a day...

Needed some dairy.

More fruit!

And the one that stole the show…

Pulled pork!

There was a tad too much barbecue sauce for my taste, but I still gobbled it right up.

Nom nom nom.

I also split a funnel cake with strawberry glaze with my sister, but forgot to snap a photo before we dug in. You’ll just have to believe me when I tell you it both looked and tasted delicious. Multiple apples and packets of string cheese were consumed, and I had breakfast outside of the Relay, too. Yum!

Why I Relay

Instead of detailing every single thing that went down, I thought I would tell you about why exactly I Relay every year and then include some photos that I took at Saturday’s Relay. If you have any questions afterward, feel free to e-mail me or ask in the comments!

First and foremost, I Relay for my mom. My mom was diagnosed with muscle invasive bladder cancer when I was a freshman in college, and let me tell you, nothing hits you quite like hearing that your mother has cancer. After all, it’s MY MOM. I still remember exactly where I was, what I was doing, and who I was with when she called and gave me the news.

My brother Justin and mom.

I remember breaking down multiple times throughout my mom’s battle, terrified that I was going to lose her. Even just typing this now makes me cry. Cancer is such a terrifying thing — it rips control away from the person dealing with it and turns their own body against them. My mom was literally fighting for her life every single day and I am so proud of her for the strength she showed through such a difficult time.

Luckily, I also remember exactly where I was, what I was doing, and who I was with when my mom called and told me that she was officially in remission! I was in the dining hall with my roommate, Meghan, who was there for me every step of the way and we were lovingly dubbed “Relay Roomies” ever since our freshman year.

Love my roomie.

I also Relay for the many other people in my life who have been affected by cancer and survived. Liz’s dad conquered lymphoma when I was a young girl, a faculty member I was close with at my school, Jay Button, beat stomach cancer, and one of my cinema and screen studies professors, Amy Shore, was diagnosed with melanoma multiple times and sent it packing each time. These people are all a symbol of hope and they remind us every day that cancer can be beaten.

It's always there.

I Relay in honor of those we have lost to cancer. Right after my mom was declared in remission, Meghan’s aunt passed away. It was unbelievably cruel to experience so many emotions on either end of the spectrum. Each year Meghan and I team up and Relay to celebrate my mom’s life and to fight back against cancer for her aunt. If we don’t fight, cancer wins.

Messages to Heaven.

But we also Relay to remember those who have passed away from cancer. The co-founder of Colleges Against Cancer at Oswego State is Ginny St. Onge, a dear friend of mine whom I’ve known since I was a young freshman in college. She is one of the nicest, smartest and kindest women that I’ve ever met — all qualities that she got from her mother, Nancy St. Onge. Ginny founded CAC in honor of Nancy, who battled with breast cancer for six years. Sadly, Nancy passed away in October 2010. However, she did not lose her battle to cancer. Cancer was never able to steal her spirit, her smile, or her hope. It couldn’t take away the love that she shared with everyone.

Sending off our loving words.

We always honor those who are no longer with us at Relay and are reminded that they are with us, in spirit, every single day.

We love you.

Always in our hearts.

I Relay to fight back with everyone else who wants to beat cancer. There are so many people I don’t know personally who are battling or have battled cancer, and my heart goes out to them every day. Julie’s mom beat breast cancer and Caitlin’s neighbor, Tonya, is currently fighting an inoperable brain cancer. If you think about it, everyone you know knows someone who has been affected by cancer. I Relay because I can’t wait for the day when people don’t have to constantly hear the words “you have cancer” or “my special someone has cancer.”

Celebrate life.

Finally, I Relay because without events like these, my loved ones may not have had the resources they needed to fight cancer and stay in my life. I can’t imagine living a life without my mother in it and I’m so grateful each and every day that I still get to see my mom’s beautiful smile.

These people are why we Relay.

If you haven’t participated in a Relay for Life yet, I strongly encourage you to at least check it out. We’re at the peak of community Relay season now, so look for one and consider joining. You don’t have to stay for the full 24 hours, but think about going and seeing what it’s all about. I promise, it’s not all about being sad and crying. In fact, most of the time everyone’s smiling and laughing! You get to decorate your campsite to try to win cool prizes…

Before we decorated.

After!

And you can enter raffles to win sweet basket prizes…

"Day at the beach" basket.

"Margaritaville" basket!

"Life's a picnic" -- my mom made the quilt!

And they always have live bands and entertainment going on throughout the day. Plus a bunch of teams sell delicious eats!

That about sums it up for me. I hope everyone else had a fantastic weekend!

Are you participating in a Relay for Life this year? Have you ever? What did you think? 

Interval Love

Today has been a crazy day, but in the end a lot of progress was made! Good news: I have an apartment in NYC!

I wish the FRIENDS building was my new home.

Apartment hunting has been a tedious process, so I’m glad it’s almost over. I’m headed to the city Monday to meet up with my two roommates and get some paperwork signed, and then it’s officially ours! I’ll be sure to provide a tour once we’re all settled 🙂

To kick off my crazy day, I had a yummy breakfast. Two slices of cinnamon raisin toast with peanut butter and bananas. I was really hungry when I woke up and focused on devouring the deliciousness in front of me, so I didn’t remember to snap a photo until it was almost gone. Please forgive me.

Boston, baby.

Yes, I’m a Boston fan. Who will be living in New York. We’ll deal with it.

My hat rocks.

Besides figuring out apartment stuff, I counted a lot of cans and bottles so my parents can return them. The proceeds will go to our community Relay for Life, which is in two weeks. Have you signed up for a Relay yet? You totally should! I didn’t snap a picture, but it took all day because there were at least 1,000 cans and bottles. I was a busy girl!

Today was a rest day, but I wanted to share a workout I did on the treadmill the other day. Sometimes my body is not feeling a consistent run and intervals become the name of the game. They work my body into a sweat right away and I always feel really accomplished after. This one was a lot of fun because I incorporated both running and walking at a high incline. When I started, I decided I was going to do whatever my body said it wanted to do. It told me this:

            Mins                     Incline                     Speed

  • 0-5                        1.0                            6.0
  • 5-10                     1.0                             6.5
  • 10-13                   1.0                             6.3
  • 13-15                   1.0                             6.7
  • 15-16                   7.0                             4.5
  • 16-17                   8.0                             4.5
  • 17-18                   9.0                             4.5
  • 18-20                  10.0                           4.5
  • 20-23                   1.0                            4.5
  • 23-25                   1.0                            6.5
  • 25-30                   1.0                            6.0

Now I’m off to bed — I have another busy day planned for tomorrow, so I need some rest!

Do you have a favorite interval program? 

Relay for Life Saves Lives

Although race season is moving into full swing, it’s not the only event gaining a lot of momentum.

And no, I’m not talking about baseball, either.

It's Relay season!

Relay for Life is taking over college campuses and towns are gearing up for their Relays in the summer. This spring, colleges across the country are raising money for the American Cancer Society to fight for a world with more birthdays.

I’ve participated in Relay for Life every year since I was a freshman and my final one as a college student took place two weeks ago. I know I’m a little slow on the update (race training got in the way!), but I still think it’s an extremely important cause that deserves as much recognition as it can get.

Freshman Year: Hakuna Matata!

Sophomore Year: Won't Back Down!

Junior Year: (Dirty) Dancing For A Cure!

Never heard of Relay? It’s an overnight fundraising event that usually lasts for 12 hours. Students (or community members) form teams and raise as much money as they can before the event.

I met my goal!

Once you’re at the event, your team members take turns walking around a track for the entire twelve hours, which symbolizes the journey that a cancer patient endures. Teams also set up fundraisers at the event and participants often enjoy snacks, games, competitions and more to stay upbeat and entertained throughout the night while raising as much money as possible.

Every Relay usually follows a theme of some sort as well. Our theme this year: sports! Why? Well, this year’s Relay was extremely important to our Colleges Against Cancer (CAC) committee because our founder, Ginny St. Onge, suffered a terrible loss. Her mother passed away this year after an extremely long battle with breast cancer. Nancy St. Onge inspired so many of us and she was always incredibly positive in her outlook toward life, so we knew this year’s Relay was going to be in her memory and honor.

Ginny with her mom.

Memorial table at Relay.

We asked Ginny what Nancy would’ve wanted the theme to be and she chose sports because Nancy loved them. My team was the CAC team, so we made sure our team name went along with Nancy’s favorite sport: football! Ladies and gentleman, meet team Catching A Cure!

Relay roomies!

Dustin, Ray and Kyle were also on our team, but for some reason we forgot to take a banner picture this year. Oops..

Either way, the night was a great success as we had over 400 students come out for the night and fight cancer one step at a time.

CAC team getting a lil' goofy.

We weren’t afraid to bust out some dance moves, either.

Imitating Kurt's "Ring On It" skillz.

The community also gets involved as many businesses donate gift cards, food and drinks to fuel fundraising efforts and keep us energized throughout the night. Guess who snagged the third highest fundraiser award? This girl!

When we began Relay at 6p.m. on Saturday, March 26, we had raised just over $21K. By the time 6a.m. rolled around, we had raised $27,148.65 for the American Cancer Society — about $6,000 in one night! We accept donations up until August too, so feel free to keep sharing the love!

Money raised!

Why do I Relay? For many reasons, but the most personal one is because my mom was diagnosed with muscle invasive bladder cancer during my first semester away at college. It was a terrifying experience; one I don’t wish on any other family or loved one. My mom is an extremely strong woman though, and after a long, grueling journey, my mom beat her cancer. She has been cancer-free for two years now and I pray that it stays that way.

At Relay in 2010. Mom was the survivor speaker!

But so many people in my life have been affected by cancer. Other family members of mine have been diagnosed and my best friend’s dad fought lymphoma when we were younger. I Relay simply because without events like this, my mother and best friend’s dad may not have had the resources they needed to fight cancer and stay in my life. I Relay because I can only hope that one day people won’t have to hear the words, “you have cancer.”

So have you participated in a Relay for Life yet? It’s not too late! Sign up for one in your community, or donate to someone who is participating. Every donation helps, no matter how big or small. I raised over $500 and all of my donations came in increments of $10, $20, $25 and $50. Little pieces add up to a big picture!

I want to send a big thank you to everyone who donated to my fundraising page. It really means the absolute world to me and I can’t ever thank you enough for being so generous! I love you all!

Fitness Passions

Fellow blogger Julie, over at Peanut Butter Fingers, posted a fun survey pertaining to things you’re passionate about. I decided to answer the survey, but make mine all about fitness! Drum roll, please…

Four TV shows I watch during cardio:

  1. The Biggest Loser
  2. The Bachelor/Bachelorette
  3. Dancing with the Stars or America’s Best Dance Crew
  4. America’s Next Top Model

Four things I’m passionate about:

  1. Testing new workouts.
  2. Outdoor activities (hiking is my favorite!).
  3. Training and helping others reach their fitness goals.
  4. Fighting cancer.

Beautiful survivor cake from RFL 2010.

Four things I’ve learned in the past:

  1. Don’t let the past hold you back. Who you were back then doesn’t define who you are today.
  2. Always be open to change. You never know what amazing things will happen.
  3. Communication is key. You need to know your limits and clients need to communicate with me to help me determine theirs.
  4. Find your reason. No matter what it is or who it is that motivates you, your passion is what’s going to push you past what you thought was possible.

Four things I’m looking forward to:

  1. Graduating in May and looking for jobs to moonlight as a personal trainer.
  2. The half-marathon I’m going to run in April.
  3. The triathlon I’m going to compete in this spring.
  4. Relay for Life at Oswego State to raise money all night to fight cancer.

Four things I love about winter:

This one’s tough for me because I’m not a huge fan of winter, but here’s what comes to mind…

  1. Ice skating.
  2. No humidity.
  3. Snow shoeing.
  4. Kisses under the mistletoe. (Did you know kissing for one minute burns 26 calories?)

It’s your turn! What fitness things are you passionate about?

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is Over, Are You?

October is over and with it goes the constant flooding of pink surrounding every street you cross and every corner you turn. But does that mean you should forget about cancer research fundraising and all of the passion you invest into the cause during that month? I don’t think so.

I’m just like the rest of you – once October hits, something inside me goes stir crazy and I find myself constantly getting involved with anything related to breast cancer awareness. I’ve turned my Facebook profile picture pink, worn pink clothing and died my hair pink, all to raise awareness so people will remember to fight for the cause. Because who doesn’t want to live in a world where cancer doesn’t exist anymore?

Although raising awareness is great, donating money to the cause is even better. After all, if researchers don’t have money then they can’t keep breaking scientific barriers to bring them one step closer to a cure. So I crammed as many fundraising efforts into my schedule as I possibly could, and essentially broke my wallet in the process. But it’s worth it if people I love don’t have to suffer from this disease anymore.

First on the calendar was the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in Syracuse! This was such a fun day. My roommate, Meghan, and fellow Colleges Against Cancer (CAC) member, Kyle, woke up at 6:30 a.m. to make the 45-minute commute over there and leave plenty of time for browsing tents and spending more money.

Check out our new lei's

For only four hours of my Saturday, I was one of 6,000 walkers who helped raise $400,000 for the American Cancer Society! Not to mention I had to support Betsy Barrett, the new coordinator of Making Strides and my former ACS partner who helped coordinate Relay for Life!

All smiles after the raised amount was announced. Way to go, Betsy!

Upping the ante on the fitness level,  I participated in the Great Pumpkin 5K Run sponsored by the Cooper/Glimmerglass Fitness Centers that I work at. We raised $800 for Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation and had 222 participants — more than double last year and the most we’ve ever had! (Quick pat on the back for my promo skills on that one!)

My pink sneaks propelled me to the finish line

My CAC chapter always sells breast cancer awareness shirts during October to raise funds for ACS, too. This year, we brought back the “Fight Like a Girl” slogan and added some new designs. So far, we’ve sold over 200 shirts. We know October is over, but like I said before, we don’t stop fighting for the cure when the month ends. We’ll be selling more shirts throughout the week. So if you’re in Oswego, we’ll be in the Campus Center Wednesday and Thursday selling them! Even if you’re not, let me know and I can fill out an order form for you. One for $12 or two for $20, and they come in a variety of colors!

You know you want one!

What have you done for Breast Cancer Awareness Month? I’d love to hear your stories!