Walks full of love: How I spent my weekends in New Jersey and Washington, DC
WASHINGTON DC, USA – A sea of pink in the American capital, walking 5 kilometers for breast cancer awareness in late August. Two weekends later, another fun activity with families in a park, walking a mile or 5k, some pushing strollers with their children battling various ailments, for the benefit of children with chronic medical conditions and disabilities.
The Susan G. Komen More than Pink Walk started as Race for the Cure in 1983. To date, more than 120 cities and communities in the United States have participated in this worthwhile event, which has gathered millions of walkers and runners, in memory of loved ones who have succumbed to breast cancer, or for the continued support of those battling the disease.
In 2018, there were an estimated 600,00 deaths from breast cancer worldwide, or about one death in every 50 seconds. Komen is the most progressive grassroots organization fighting breast cancer, focusing on research, education, and support, especially those with the fewest resources. So far, they have funded $988 million in breast cancer research.
At the DC More than Pink Walk, Team Ane had 18 “walkers” cheering on, wearing their personalized shirts, with their muse and breast cancer survivor, Dr Maria “Ane” Ona, happily walking along with her family and high school friends.
Ane, a pediatrician, was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer more than a year ago. She underwent full mastectomy and went through complete treatment. She is now in remission. Doing this Pink Walk wearing a shirt with her name, together with names of other survivors, was very special, every step very meaningful. It was the start of her journey towards complete healing. Her hair has grown, she has never felt better, and being in the company of fellow survivors has buoyed her spirits.
Meanwhile, the Children’s Specialized Hospital in New Jersey, which was founded in 1962 and has become the largest provider of pediatric rehabilitation services in the US, held the 13th Walk N’ Roll to raise significant funds and support the over 37,000 patients treated each year at CSH. The aim is to make a difference in the lives of patients and families facing health challenges – from chronic illnesses to complex disabilities – believing that all children should reach their full potential.
At the Johnson Park in Piscataway that Sunday, September 15, the atmosphere was festive, the day was lovely and sunny as hundreds of families came out to support Walk N’ Roll.
Team Diego, one of many teams doing the 5k, was more than happy to do the walk, in memory of 7-year-old Diego Lumauig who passed away 5 years ago from a rare genetic disorder called MELAS Syndrome. Diego was a patient at CSH, and his mom Belle volunteered there even after he passed on. Belle now works at CSH, grateful and more than happy to be giving back.
These two meaningful weekends of walking with friends and family for great causes have reminded me of what matters most. Life is fleeting, sometimes unfair, so we just have to live our best lives being grateful, kind, and loving. We pay forward our blessings, by being blessings ourselves to other people. With Team Ane and Team Diego, I felt the love among all the walkers, the volunteers, the survivors, the brave warriors, the families who have lost loved ones and continue to honor them.
Ane is my high school classmate and is she is such an inspiration – for her quiet strength, bravery, and positive energy. Diego was my nephew, named after my grandfather, a bundle of sunshine, a big Yankees fan, who fought a great fight. I am blessed to know these two – Ane the survivor, and Diego our angel in heaven. Those walks were, indeed, full of love.
How are you spending your weekend? – Rappler.com
For more information on Susan G. Komen’s Race for the Cure, log on to komen.org. For more information on Children’s Specialized Hospital, log on to childrens-specialized.org. You may send donations or participate in their fundraisers through these sites.
The author is a volunteer, writer, educator, and soon-to-be Mother of the Bride. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.