August 18, 2010

Running with Cancer

2 minute read, in Culture / Impact / Inspiration

In April my friend Leanne Coppen died of Her2 breast cancer.

She was only 38 and had been diagnosed only 2 years earlier. She did the 60K Weekend to End Women’s Cancers after her cancer had metastasized.  That’s a long way for anyone to walk. But for someone who had been through over a year of treatment, it’s downright incredible.  Here’s a short video of Leanne’s walk last year that was part of the orientation materials Princess Margaret makes available online:

Now, let’s put all that sad stuff behind us for a moment.

Leanne was an amazing writer who blogged about Living with Breast Cancer for Chatelaine magazine. I was recently reading her blog posts and stumbled upon a post where she wrote about going for a run in the midst of her treatment cycle. If you want to be blown away by a woman you never had the pleasure of meeting read the post here.

She was the ideal poster child for my upcoming Walk to End Women’ Cancers. Because I’m a big wimp, I’ll only be walking 32K in one day, not the 60K she walked over the course of a weekend last year. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be walking at all, I’d be sitting on my couch Tweeting or something.

When I first started talking to people about doing the walk I envisioned I would start walking and then not stop for like a really, really long time. Kinda like Forest Gump. Then people started asking, “are you training?” and warning “that’s a long walk you know.” The kind people at work even mapped it and then told me that it was like walking to York Mills and back downtown.

At first I was taken aback. I signed up for a class at the Running Room, bought new shoes, and a book on walking. I’ve been trying to walk regularly as I head towards the big day on September 11th.

But more than anything that damn blog post has kept me motivated. How could a woman who had endured rounds upon rounds of gruelling cancer treatment walk 60K and train while neck deep in shit? Well she did. And frankly she did it with a smile. And so healthy, lucky me is totally confident that I can do a measly 32K with a smile firmly planted on my face too.

And, if you can’t walk, I’m pretty confident you can donate. I know that’s pushy. But hell, I’m going to be pushy about this one.

I’ve received letters about The Weekend before and frankly ignored them. But now I know better. And so do you.

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