>A well understood wake-up call

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“Every death is a wake-up call
 to live life more fully”
                                                                        – Oprah Winfrey

Wise and thought provoking.  The rapid and untimely death of my cousin Marlene  was my wake-up call.  Actually- it was more like a violent jolt. Although our moms are sisters, Marlene felt more like a sister than a cousin.

She was 46 when she passed. I remember driving in my car, struggling to listen to one of my favorite songs, Mariah Carey’s, “Bye Bye.”  Wondering why her?  Why now?

Early in August 2006 everything was well.  The disturbing cancer diagnosis came soon after.  Two days after Christmas, she passed.  She was a strict vegetarian for nearly all of her life. She never drank alcoholNever smoked cigarettes or cigars and never used drugs. She had no risk factors, but was still struck by this non-discriminate and mortal disease.

  • Fact:  “About 70-80% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer. These occur due to genetic abnormalities that happen as a result of the aging process and life in general, rather than inherited mutations”

    She was not suppose to be the one to leave the family yet!  She was just too darn young and six months prior celebrated the youngest of her three children’s high school graduation.  It’s been four and half years, and I’m still amazed.

    Marlene represented the true spirit of Christianity, but she never felt the need to make the declaration or to broadcast it to others.  Instead she chose to live a quite Christian life and led by example.  Marlene greeted everyone with a gentle and warm smile and loved sewing and crafting.  Never complained, even when she had reason to.

    The stats are astounding and no one is exempt from this deadly disease.  I can take all the precautionary steps to minimize my risk factors, however, the fact remains that I can still be afflicted with the disease.

    • Fact:  “About 1 in 8 women in the United States (12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.”

    My wake-up call reminds me to…  Enjoy each day.  Laugh often.  Enjoy and appreciate the special people in my life.  Partake in activities that are important to me, and most of all, have fun!

    Now a days when I think about someone, I take the time to connect with them to say, “hello,” “how are you?” or “I was thinking about you” because the next minute, hour, or day is not promised to any of us.

    I’m excited and feeling really good about running in this Saturday’s, Shirley Mae Breast Cancer Run and Walk .  I am running in memory of Marlene.  The event is also about celebrating survivors and I will be doing that too.

    I will also be running to celebrate survivors Crystal, Vanessa, Dawn, and for those whom I don’t know. Congratulations ladies on your triumphs!  Yeah!

    • Fact:  “In 2010, there were more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S.

    Yes!!!!

    Resources and related links:

    http://gaming.courierpostonline.com/2011/04/14/boardwalk-run-benefits-breast-cancer-patients/

    http://www.shirleymaefund.org/

    http://www.shirleymaefund.org/detail.php?9th-Annual-Shirley-Mae-Run-Walk-13

    http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/statistics/%C2%A0

    http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/understand_bc/statistics.jsp

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