I was recently given a magazine article that really has me inspired…so I couldn’t not share with everyone. The article, in family circle magazine, is about a woman named Sue Weldon….a gymnastics coach AND breast cancer survivor…who created a nonprofit organization called Unite for Her (www.uniteforher.org). The organization was created with the goal of “bridging the gap between the medical and wellness communities by education women diagnosed with breast cancer about complimentary therapies, providing them with a compassionate resource for support, knowledge, and sharing”. There website has a lot of great information and highly recommend checking it (along with the Family Circle article) out!
As part of Unite for Her, Sue also developed a yearly fundraising event in the form of a special gymnastics meet….the Pink Invitational. The Pink Invitational’s inaugural year was 2009. For a first time event, the gymnastics meet drew a HUGE crowd. There were 1200 gymnasts from 37 gymnastics clubs that participated, and the meet as a whole raised $65,000 for the Unite for Her organization. The meet has continued to grow. In 2011, the invitational raised $160,000. The 2012 meet’s registration is already closed with over 2,100 gymnasts from 65 different teams (many of which I recognize from my years, way back when, in club gymnastics). Very impressive for its’ 4th year in existence! The money raised at the Pink Invitational is directly applied towards education / awareness on breast cancer, wellness days for breast cancer patients at local hospitals, grants for gymnasts with who have a parent struggling with breast cancer, and to support other nonprofit organizations with a shared mission.
Given that Sue and I are both breast cancer survivors and hold a special place in our hearts for the world of gymnastics, I knew I had to get in touch with her. I sent Sue and email and heard back from her within 48 hours. I was very impressed! I know how busy life can get, so I was amazed and truly appreciated her getting back in touch with me so quickly. A day later, Sue and I connected over the phone and had a really great conversation about the organization and about both of our individual experiences dealing with breast cancer.
I’ve said this over and over again, but cancer has truly been a blessing in disguise for me. I feel like I’ve learned so much about myself going through everything I have in the last year, and would really like to give back in some way, shape, or form. What better way than through an organization centered around a woman who I share so much in common with! I can’t help but to selfishly feel like this organization was created just for me
Sue educated me on a the different activities Unite for Her currently has underway, and has plans for in the future (the list is impressive)…and we brainstormed ideas on how I could help from afar (the organization’s home base is in Pennsylvania and I’m in North Carolina ).
As word of the Pink Invitational has gotten out, a lot of colleges have expressed interest in hosting their own version of the meet during their season. Considering my background as a college gymnast, this seemed like the most logical fit of how I can help. I’m still learning about the organization….Sue has sent me a plethora of information to read…but I’m very much looking forward to figuring out ways I can contribute to this fantastic organization. Stay tuned!!
Marathon training is well underway. I had my 1st of 4 really long runs last Saturday….19 miles. I never thought I would live to see the day where I would run 19 miles in one outing. But I did it! I’m not going to lie and say it was easy….because it wasn’t. But I got through it, and that’s all that matters! This Saturday I have to tackle 20 miles….my stomach is in knots just typing it!!
With the longer distances being a part of my running regimen now, I’ve really learned the importance of getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and stretching, stretching, stretching! It’s amazing how much better I feel on a run having had a salad and a piece of fish for dinner at home the night before, as opposed to something from a local restaurant followed by a glass of wine. Long gone are my Friday or Saturday nights of going out for a few drinks with friends. Marathon training literally takes over your life. Not that I’m complaining though….it will feel great crossing the finish line on December 10th!
I’m going to end my blog this week with a big THANK YOU to all of the people who send me emails. I’m continuously amazed at the outpouring of support I receive from friends afar, and from complete strangers who happen to come across my blog. Your emails of support and encouragement mean the world to me! And it feels great knowing I can help others by sharing my experiences. Lord knows if I’m anything I’m blunt! I’d like to think that my willingness to share, to the point of embarrassment at times, can help others a little! So as I’ve said before, feel free to ask me anything!!
Because last week absolutely flew by, I’ll be posting 2 weeks of photos. Photos from 46 weeks post chemo are below…
And now photos from 47 weeks post chemo…