I lost a friend last week. She was the daughter of a very good friend of mine. She was only 35 years old and she died of cancer. This is the second time in less than a year that I've had to attend a funeral of a young person lost to this horrendous disease. And a few years back I lost my dad to it, as well as many other people that I wasn't ready to let go of just yet. I can't count the number of people I know that are fighting the good fight; my mum for one, Kathy, one of my best friends for another. Volunteering at the hospice center, I've watch so many families ripped up by cancer. I can't think of even one person that hasn't been affected by it in one way or another. It just never ends. The word cancer strikes fear in my heart; fear and anger.
Recently I made a new friend. His name is Darren and he is a cancer survivor. Not only has he triumphed over it, he is fighting back in an amazing way. A few years ago he started running. At first he ran around the block and hated it. But he kept at it and bit by bit has forged himself into a world class competitor. He recently completed the Boston Marathon and has just returned from the Kettle Moraine 100 mile race where he placed in the top 20. He runs because he loves it (now) and it keeps him healthy. But he also runs to train for his biggest race of all; The Badwater Ultramarathon.
Badwater is billed as the world's toughest foot race. It is a grueling 135 mile test of endurance that begins at 250' below sea level in Death Valley, goes over three mountain ranges and ends at the portal of Mt. Whitney in California at 8360' above sea level. The temperatures can be as high as 130°F . Runners' shoes have melted along this trail. Only 90 elite, ultra-runners, who specialize in extreme courses and endurance are chosen each year to run this race. This year Darren was chosen.
Darren could have run this race for his own satisfaction, but instead he's decided to use this opportunity to raise cancer awareness and money for Gilda's Club of Madison. Seeing Darren's dedication to his passion and to supporting people whose lives have been touched by cancer really struck a nerve with me. I'm very proud of him and it got me thinking about what I can do to help. Now I'm not much of a runner...I'm build more for comfort than speed! But what I CAN do is get the word write/talk! So in the memory of Daddy, Tasha, Arleen, Rosie, Cheri and countless others, I've decided to make it my mission to get this information to as many people as I possibly can and to ask that you PLEASE support Darren. Do it in the memory of the people in your life who have battled cancer; the loved ones lost and the survivors who give us hope.
Please go to the Gilda's link above and scroll down to read a little more about Darren's amazing journey. Then please make a donation. Every little bit helps. Remember to send an email to the address listed on the page to make sure that your donation is earmarked to support Darren's journey. Whether or not you make a donation, I'm also asking that you link to this entry in your blog and ask your readers to do the same. Please help me get the word out. Together we can make a difference. Thanks so much, you guys! Run Darren Run!
*There are more than 10.5 million cancer survivors living in the United States today.
*1.4 million Americans are expected to be diagnosed with cancer this year.
*560,000 Americans are expected to die from cancer this year, or more than 1,500 per day.
*Nearly 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will develop cancer during their lifetime.
*Within the next decade, cancer is likely to replace heart disease as the leading cause of death in the U.S.
*It is already the biggest killer of those under the age of 85.
Source: American Cancer Society
Help our cause by visiting and donating to: http://www.gildasclubmadison.org/