I had always heard about the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure but never knew the details behind the race, the community or the organization. This year, a long-lost friend of mine from high school, Laura Korhorn told me that she had been organizing a team for the race for the past few years and wanted to know if they could put my name on their team shirt. I agreed, although there was some hesitancy on my end. Thus far, I hadn't immersed myself in the "breast cancer community" nor taken advantage of any of the resources that are provided. This was going to be my first venture into publicly declaring myself a "Survivor", even though to me, I am still in "Fighter" status.
I can't express how special today was or how special I felt. I picked up a beautiful pink sparkly t-shirt that said, "Survivor". Even though I only walked the 5K, the team "Breast Assured" was there cheering for me as I crossed the finish line and the loud speaker announced, "Erin Murray, Survivor from Grand Rapids" has finished the race. I fought tears back as I was handed a pink rose and a heart with three pink rhinestones on it. Because, for the first time, I felt a bond in my baldness. There was a bond in the flat chests I saw. There was a bond in the pride in the women's eyes and the depth of their journey. Even though I am in the middle of my journey and am struggling with the anxiety around my upcoming surgery in three weeks, I was a part of that community today. And the reason I could be a part of that community is because I crossed the finish line with Meghan, my mom, my dad, Ed and Cindy by my side. Lacey, Ben, Laura, Stacey Zylstra, Amy and Dave Butterfield, Kara Brinks and the rest of our team (the runners!), Katie and Meghan stood there waiting to congratulate me - my amazing support system. For the first time, my cancer was something I was angry or ashamed or embarrassed about - it was the first time I felt like I really could overcome.
Instead of thinking about the three surgeries, the year of Herceptin, the radiation or the five years of Tamoxifen, I thought about my blessings. I thought about my wonderful family (of course, BK called me right after the race), my amazing friends and my precious little baby who was asleep at home with daddy. I thought about the wonderful home that Brian and I have created and what our future will look like - because I will have a future. Today was a day of inspiration for me to keep going and really kick some ass. So Laura, thank you so much for coordinating. And to the rest of Team Breast Assured - thank you for helping me on my road to being a "Survivor".
Team Captain Laura Korhorn and me
|Team Breast Assured|
|Happy Ed, Cindy, Nana Moni, Meggie and Papa Tres|
Two of my best friends (and runners), Katie and Lacey
My other favorite sisters, Katie and Meghan
My two biggest supporters....Noogs and Nana Moni