I went to the Just ‘Cause walker meeting last night. Actually, to be fair – kisa drove me there and sat in the car while I attending the meeting at the Healing Garden. It was definitely a meeting I could have skipped out on. This being my third walk everything I heard was old news. How to send in donations, where we meet before each day, what the Colonial Inn will cost, the contact numbers for so and so…it wasn’t the meeting I needed to be at – the one where you sign up for your meals, sign up for a contribution to the picnic, get your walking shirt, buy your thank you cards, order your memorial bandannas…this was just an information session.
But! But. But, if I hadn’t been there I wouldn’t have heard the stories that inspire the cause. We went around the room and introduced ourselves and said a little bit about why we walk. My intro was pretty simple. I’m the other HS (HS#1 has been walking for seven years so I’m, by default, the Other One), and I was first introduced to Just ‘Cause at Nor’s memorial service. That first year I walked for her, last year I walked for me, and this year…well, this year I walk just ’cause. How could I not? I got emotional thinking it. Several other women proclaimed the same commitment. How could they NOT walk? Then. One woman said “I’m here because I lost my sister to breast cancer,” and she paused. We are numb to the words I Lost My Fill-In-The-Blank so we waited patiently for her to continue convinced we’ve heard her story a million times over. She continued, “I lost my sister two weeks after her diagnosis.” There was a collective gasp as we all tried to comprehend. Cancer took ten years to kill Nor. Another woman fought for twenty years before she finally succumbed. We are all used to the long, drawn out, painful kind of passing. But two weeks? Two weeks. I couldn’t wrap my brain around it.
Then, there was this. We moved onto donations. We were talking about fund raising and how cynical this world has become. It’s hard to get people to see the benefits to giving a donation when cancer continues to kill. We aren’t making a difference. It feels futile. Exactly where is that cure we all talk about? Fund raising feels like failure. Until this – one woman was talking about how she hates approaching people for money. It’s the worst part of the walk (and I agree). She was cajoling a coworker into sparing a few bucks when a relative of the coworker stopped by the office, unannounced. Seizing the opportunity to spread the opportunity for a donation the relative was handed a fund raising letter. She never donated. But, she used the services of the Healing Garden. She had just found out she had breast cancer that day.
So, you just never know. I’m glad I went to the Just Cause walker meeting. If only to hear the stories they tell.