Yesterday I walked to Barre — a town about 10 miles from my house. I wore a bright pink shirt that read “for the woman who had no support.” The shirt’s message gave me a boost. It was the reason I had decided to take a sunny day and spend most of it walking to get no place in particular.
My sister was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago. When Joan was in a Boston hospital getting chemotherapy, the woman who had no support inspired her.
Joan had lots of support. She had neighbors that took turns cooking dinner for her family of four on days she had chemotherapy. She had Lisa and me – sisters who took turns, along with her husband, to be there at each round of chemo. She had co-workers that rallied around her, helping out with work and giving her the time she needed for recovery. She had the support of stable finances so there were no money worries. She had her husband and children to help with the household chores.
Joan was the only one who could fight the battle of cancer in her body, but she had a team of support giving her love all along the way.
With cancer, you have good days and bad. One particular chemo day was a definite downer for Joan. I wasn’t with Joan when she met the woman who had no support — I think her husband was — but she told me about it later.
Getting chemo is almost like a group activity. You’re in a little bay set up with a reclining chair, the IV drip, and food that’s hard to eat with the lines getting in the way. You can pull the curtain for privacy, but you can still hear every word from the people around you.
A social worker was meeting with the woman next to Joan. It was impossible not to hear what was being said, even though Joan tried not to listen. The social worker was asking the woman about her support. Because of unreliable transportation, important chemo appointments were missed. Because of money, the woman chose to work, afraid that taking more time off would cost her a job. Because her partner was not helping with the housework, she felt overburdened and unable to cope. From every angle, the woman battling cancer had absolutely no support.
Joan told me later that listening to that conversation completely changed her mindset. Even though she was stuck with the cancer thing, she had support. She had people she could turn to for help.
That’s why Joan started doing the Avon Walk for breast cancer. The funds raised in the walk provide women the breast cancer screening, support and treatment they need regardless of their ability to pay. By walking, Joan feels she’s giving support back to that woman and others like her.
I now wear that pink shirt in preparation of doing the walk this month in Boston along with my sisters Joan and Lisa. We’ll walk 39 miles in two days to help those women who have no support.
We could sure use your help. To add your support, please click here: Avon Walk for Breast Cancer -Megan McDonough
Chances are someone in your life has been touched by breast cancer. Perhaps it’s impossible not to be affected directly or indirectly by cancer — it is so widespread, after all. May each dollar you give to the Avon Walk be a constructive and powerful action that speaks boldly of a cure sooner rather than later.