Dear Mama (and yes, all of you NOT from the South, this really is what I called my mother until the day she died),
I meant to write this to you a couple of weeks ago but got a little busy.
Anyway, I wanted to tell you that a couple of weeks ago, 14 years after you died of dreaded breast cancer, I ran in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. I signed up on Wednesday before the race on Saturday (yes, I still procrastinate) but managed to send out an e-mail telling a few friends, and I raised a couple hundred bucks for this organization that funds research to find a cure.
It wasn't pretty, but I ran the 3.2 miles. I ran with your name on my back, which made me very proud. Before the race I watched the "Survivors' Parade" in which all the (mostly) women who had survived breast cancer one, five, ten, fifteen and twenty-plus years walked by the rest of us as we cheered.
How I wish you could have been part of that parade. You never had a very good day, though, after your diagnosis in April of 1996. When yours was discovered, it had already spread, even though you had been good about having mammograms. You put up a noble fight, but you were gone six months later.
I sure thought of you a lot the day of the race. I'm going to try and do it again next year and maybe raise more money. I hope that maybe some of the money raised will help acquire better equipment that will detect cancer high in the breast tissue where yours was, which went undetected until it was too late.
Again, I didn't set any records, and I was sure huffing and puffing at the finish line. But it sure felt good, and I felt you with me. You still inspire me.