Sunday, October 3, 2010

Shameless Plug ~ Worthy Cause ~ Please help Katie honor her mother when she walks in the 3Day!

'Shameless Plug Sunday'  - Sunday is my slowest traffic day and I consider any who are reading truly devoted to San Diego Deals and Steals!  I hope you do not mind one little post every Sunday that shameless plugs a personal idea/business/fundraiser/ etc that may or may not be 'Deals'or 'Steals' related.  I have often said if you have saved any money with this blog to please pay it forward in some small (or big if you are so inclined) way.

This weeks episode is a tear jerker, but also inspiring and I would love to help Katie reach her goal as she walks in her mother's memory for her 4th Susan G. Komen 3Day Walk for the Cure.

My name is Katie Sherlock. I am participating in the 2010 Susan G. Komen 3Day Walk for the Cure in November. It's an annual event put on by Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Thousands and thousands of women across the country participate in a 3-day walk of 60 miles in order to raise funds and awareness of Breast Cancer. This is a huge event that's been around for a while, so I'm sure most people know what it's about, but I'm sure you haven't heard every story. Every walker, every volunteer and every cheerleader has their own unique story of how Breast Cancer has affected their lives. Although this is my 4th year as a participant, it will not be my last. Breast Cancer has scarred my life and I resolve to make a difference.

This is my story.

When I was 5 years old, my mom was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. She was only 31. She underwent a single mastectomy, chemo and radiation treatments. I remember coming home one day and seeing my mom lying in bed with the stitches across her chest. I was too young to understand that cancer had a foothold on my mom. She fought without complaint and silent strength as she continued to work full-time while also being a devoted mother and wife. Five years passed and it seemed she was within reach of finally being in remission, but a nagging pain in her arm took her to the doctor. In 1990, the cancer had metastasized to the bone in her arm. She diligently underwent radiation to stop its progress. Then, 3 years later, when I was in 7th grade, it was discovered in her hip and leg bones. Although the radiation treatments helped contain the cancer cells, there wasn't much else to do. She had been covered in prayer since day-one of her diagnosis. Our family firmly believes in God's sovereignty - even in this fallen world where cancer exists. They found more spots in her ribs when I was in high school... never allowing her to officially reach remission status.

She was the most beautiful face of cancer. She was always smiling - refusing to let the pain or diagnosis define her. I believe her determination was also because of her own mom who died of colon cancer when she was 53 years old. Because of her death, Mommy was raised without a mom during some of the most significant life-moments that every girl needs her mom for - meeting her 1st boyfriend, getting married, buying a house, having kids. She wasn't going to let that happen to her family. Although I'll never remember knowing a mom who was cancer-free, I will always know that cancer never had her. She managed to see both my sister and me get married to amazing husbands and attend the births of 3 of my kids.

I walked in my 1st 3Day Walk in 2004 in honor of my mom. She was a great cheerleader.

 In 2005, after her longest period being "cancer-free" an MRI showed tumors on her liver and a non-related growth on the roof of her mouth. The cancer had finally reached her soft tissues. I remember having to come to terms with the possibility that this might not be beatable. That December, I had my 3rd baby and gave her my mom's middle name. I should never have under-estimated my mom. Her resolve to push-through was unwavering. In the meantime, God "blessed" her with being laid off from her job of over 20 years. In hindsight, it gave us some much-needed time to soak up one another's company. Shortly after, the cancer was also found in the soft tissues of her scalp, for which she got state-of-the-art radiation treatments. She was more drained than I'd ever seen her after her treatments, but she seemed to be thriving.

In 2006, I joined the Walk again. This time, with a twinge of fear for my mom... but she was still cheering for me.

It was the weekend before my birthday in January 2008. My mom has always been my go-to seamstress. I asked her to go to the fabric store with me to pick out material for a project I was working on... I'd finally decided to learn how to use the sewing machine (with her help). I vividly recall her weak figure dropping itself into my car when I picked her up. Then at the store, she couldn't even walk by herself halfway through without the help of a cart. So she shuffled back outside and sat in the car while I picked out what I needed. We stopped to get lunch when we were done, but she couldn't eat because of the growth in her mouth. I guiltily ate my meal while she reassured me it wasn't a big deal - she'd figure something out later for food. After I dropped her back off at home, I sat in my car and wept. How could this be happening after her being "fine" for so long? Why hadn't I noticed earlier? Wasn't she fine at Christmas? I couldn't grasp the possibility of life without my mom. After that day, I spent weeks crying and stirring through sleepless nights. Our family decided that in-home hospice was the best choice. We had nurses who regularly came by to refill pain medication and monitor her blood pressure and toxin-levels as her liver slowly quit working. Then, just when I thought things couldn't get worse, I found out I was pregnant.

Really?! As if this wasn't already an emotional roller coaster!

But God is good. My due date was set for November 4th - my mom's mom's birthday (my grandmother). For us, it was a sign of renewal - a life for a life. She was more supportive than ever. My mom went with me to the appointment to find out it was a girl. I remember turning my face away as I cried - realizing she was excited for the baby girl she would never meet.

Between my dad, sister and me, we all took turns "babysitting" my mom. We made her meals: bowls of ice cream (she flaunted the perks of sickness), lots of pasta too. We made sure she kept moving (shuffling around the house) so she her legs wouldn't get too swollen. We took her out for little outings for a change of scenery. Towards the end, when the cancer had spread to her brain, dementia had begun to set-in. It was hard to see Mommy, who was once so vibrant and witty, starting to fade away. But it was when I brought the kids over that she pulled out of the fog the best. She knew her strength would always be remembered, especially by those little eyes of her grandkids.
On October 22, 2008, my sister called me. I had just dropped the kids off at school and by chance my husband still hadn't left for work. She was laying in bed with my mom. Mommy had breathed her last breath with my sister by her side. I wept and wept and wept. She was gone. We'd never again be able to hang out, go to the fabric store, open another Christmas present, share a sandwich, play with my kids, create a Halloween costume, anything... ever again. She was gone. I watched this horrible, disgusting, damnable disease chip away at my mom in a few short months. My beautiful, vibrant, determined mom. She had fought so bravely for over 20 years and now her fight was over. She was in the arms of angels with the heavenly perfect body that she earned beyond measure - finally at rest.

I shared some words at her memorial service. I was 9 months pregnant. My mom got to meet my baby girl. She was holding her with more perfect arms than I could imagine. Giving her kisses from an angel. I delivered a healthy baby girl 2 weeks later on November 7th.

I walked in the 3Day Walk last year. It was the first time I participated in her memory. I cried harder than ever at the Opening Ceremonies when they have a moment of recognition for the ones we are walking for, but aren't there. But I was so proud to be walking for her. I won't forget what took her from us. I won't be silent. I won't stand by and hope that someone else takes responsibility. She. is. gone. And so I walk... with a smile on face and tears in my eyes.

This is my 4th year as a participant in the Susan G. Komen 3Day for the Cure. Every participant is required to raise a minimum of $2300 to walk. Fundraising can sometimes be more painful than the blisters from walking 20 miles per day. I've joined a team this year to help ease this process. We've done pancake breakfasts, bunco nights and a casino night also. But I'm still working towards my goal. If this is a cause that is close to your heart, I'd appreciate your contribution. I'm doing a personal fundraiser "BUNCO 4 BOOBIES" on October 13th. My team is hosting a Casino Night on October 9th, which you can attend or buy raffle tickets for also. If you are interested in joining us, please feel free to contact me. Or you can visit my fundraising page to make a donation online.

We can't all walk - but we can help Katie!  Thank you for reading her story and thank you for considering donating! If everyone who visits San Diego Deals and Steals today only gave a few dollars she would exceed her goal!  I know not everyone can do that - but I am guessing some can do more!

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1 comment:

  1. Katie, You are awesome! I am so lucky to have you as a team member for our 2010 3Day walk. You are so uplifting, always positive and such a pleasure to be around. Specially considering what you have lost. Moms, one of the most, if not the most important person in our lives. Although your mom didn't get to spend as much time with you here on earth as she'd have liked to, she did a wonderful job with the time she did have with you. You are truly wonderful! Although I have not lost a family member or close friend to Breast Cancer, I do have friends who have gone through it or are going through it now. Those who can, need to fight for those who can't or don't even know it's coming yet.


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