Last week the Governor announced that they would be burying a a 375th anniversary time capsule filled with items that tell the story of Hartford and Connecticut in 2010. Among the items is a 2010 Race for the Cure t-shirt and the question, “Have you found a cure for cancer yet?” for those who unearth it at the 400th anniversary. Who doesn’t want to see the cure found within their lifetime? At 25 years old, there’s a good chance it could happen during mine.
But then, sometimes something happens and I take a step back and wonder exactly how far we’ve come. A few weeks ago I was working the Komen table at a school fair where teachers were coming to get their flu shot and could also pick up information for teacher credit unions and that sort of thing. All afternoon I chatted with people and heard their personal stories of breast cancer in their family and sympathized over the loss of a loved one or celebrated a survival. Not many men stopped by the table, but there also weren’t many men attending the fair. Towards the end of the day, two men wandered in and stopped at a couple of tables and then stopped in front of mine. One of them started picking up a brochure while saying “For my wife…” somewhat sheepishly. I quietly directed him to the pamphlet entitled “Men Can Get Breast Cancer Too” and reminded him (or so I thought I was doing) that he should pick it up for himself, since men can also get breast cancer. He paused, looking confused, and said, “Really? I didn’t know men could get breast cancer.” This is something I have to constantly remind myself is not common knowledge. For so many years breast cancer was considered a woman’s cancer, why would this man have any reason to think otherwise if breast cancer had never touched his life before? So while I was happy to have given him that knowledge, and hopefully he took that home and remembered it, I have to remember that there are so many people out there, women and men, who haven’t been educated on the facts of breast cancer.
So our work is far from over. That shouldn’t surprise anyone, and yet sometimes I have to remind myself of it. The energy at a 3-Day Closing Ceremony when they tell us we’ve raised $5.5 million sometimes makes me feel as though we must be so close. And maybe we are. But we can’t stop pushing and walking and fund raising and educating with 110% of what we have until the cures are found.
Donate to my 2011 Atlanta 3-Day walk.