One step at a time…
Last week, over 700 brain tumor patients, survivors, caregivers, family, friends and doctors walked and ran in the Path of Hope, a 5K to benefit the CTBTA. As with all events, there were obstacles to overcome but that did not stop us. The new venue worked perfectly and I heard many great compliments. Additionally, we were faced with another event taking place on the same day and at the same location, but this too did not make an iota of a difference to our dedicated group of volunteers who adjusted to each punch thrown. I saw determination and a desire to make this event just as great, if not better, than the previous two years. Proudly, we can say, that goal was accomplished.
We had an impassioned speech from our President Emeritus and a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem. New this year was a true 5K timed run to give those who wanted that experience and it was a success. The walkers were located within the confines of the village and as each team came around the turn, I saw nothing but smiles, belief and hope.
The most incredible part of the entire of the day was witnessing the brain tumor community come together, and it is truly awesome to witness. Never could I have imagined that there would be this community, let alone people who wanted to come together and celebrate their journey in what they have overcome or are currently facing. Whether it was meeting Elli Haskes, a fifteen year old student whose mother passed away from brain cancer when she was five and who set up a table to collect items to create care packages for children whose parents have been diagnosed with a brain tumor, or Steve, an inspirational survivor whom would never let on that anything was wrong, and his caregiver Wendy, who radiates with positivity. And to greet all of the patients and survivors, there was Supercow, the very animal I named in the hospital when my parents asked me who my dog was. The handshakes, hugs and tears we exchanged are moments I will not forget and are the reason that I do this. Thank you all for being there.
When I think about all the time and work that went into the event by everyone involved, it was all worth it as I saw the joy that it brought to everyone. The day was about raising awareness of brain tumors and doing our part to help find the cure. It sounds odd, but there is truly something special when you have the chance to actually celebrate brain tumors with an amazing community of people whose lives have been affected by this awful disease.
Whether your tumor is malignant or benign, it is still a brain tumor and the effects are equally as devastating. The best advice that I was given, and which I now give to you is simple.
Take it “one step at a time.” There is not a day that does not go by where I do not think about it, or reflect upon how grateful I am, but to Ashley, my family, friends and all supporters – thank you for all you have done, and continue to do for me. You have allowed me to take this and turn it into something great, and I am grateful.