Monday, April 1, 2013


Before the Run - Fall 2006
I love to be outside.  I love exercising.  I feel alive and healthy and strong when I’m running or walking outdoors.  Early in 2006 I had decided to train for my first half-marathon to mark the occasion of my 40th birthday.  After getting bad shin splints that led to stress fractures I was told that I had to stop running and let things heal.  I took a break for a few months and then started back slowly during the summer.  After the cancer diagnosis in August, I made a point of trying to get outside every day to go for a walk and to run a few days a week as well.

When I received a message from my colleagues at work wondering if I was going to participate in the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure, I responded “yes” right away.  This run is the largest single day, volunteer-led fundraising event in Canada that is dedicated to raising funds for breast cancer research, education and awareness programs.  Thousands of Canadians participate every year in locations all across the country and united in efforts to create a future without breast cancer.  I told them that I would love to participate!

National Chief Phil Fontaine
& Me - Fall 2006
My colleagues contacted me again to see if I had any objections to them making a team in my name.  They would need to get 10 people together for the team.  I soon got another email from work that they had over 30 people that had signed up to either run or walk the 5 kilometre route.  Wow!  I was really touched by the response from the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) staff and the National Chief had even signed up to participate.  T-shirts were made that had “AFN TEAM TT” written on the back.  I was overwhelmed once again by the support from people.  Again it struck me how lucky I was.

After the Run - Fall 2006, Ottawa
The day of the run, it was dark, rainy, cold and windy.  Generally it was the kind of day that you just wanted to stay under the covers and not get out of bed.  However, since my friend Melanie from work was picking me up I had to drag my butt out of bed.  It was hard but worth it in the end.  When we arrived in downtown Ottawa at the start of the run/walk, we managed to find the rest of our group.  I don’t know how we managed that with all the rain and the fact that there were about 13,500 other people there.  I started out walking with a group of friends from work so that we could socialize and take in everything going on around us.  However, when we got near the end of the 5 kms I said to the folks I was with, “I don’t know about you guys but I am not WALKING over that finish line.  I’m going to RUN the rest of the way!”  It really was an awesome experience and I was so happy that I was able to be a part of it and that so many others were there in support.

Again, it was another opportunity for me to realize that I was not alone in this.  It was also a time to realize that there were so very many women, and men too, that died from this disease.  I couldn’t let myself think about that too much though.

Run for Life - Melissa Etheridge

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