Yesterday, I ran the Teal Walk/Run with my friends.
Last year, I did it with my mom, and I was so so proud of her — for dominating ovarian cancer, for finishing this walk just 3 months after finishing treatment that zapped all of her energy.
Last year, we said we’d do it every year, and I plan on doing it every year I can for the rest of my life. For her, for me, to do anything I can to raise money and awareness.
My amazing friends signed up with me, and we made a team: Team Carol.
We made t-shirts and, yup, we made our own tutus. (By we, I mean Meg and Kelly did, while I attempted to not mess the shirts up too badly. I still have teal spray paint on my fingers, though, so the jury is out.)
I left my apartment at 7:45 for a 9am start, and after two subways, two canceled Lyfts and an unmarked cab, I finally made it to Prospect Park at 8:53. (Love you, MTA…NOT.)
I was overwhelmed by both the logistics and the love as I went to meet my friends to begin. As we walked to the start, I began tearing up as the race signs reminded me of last year’s walk and being so full of happiness and pride for my mom. “Well, crying at the beginning of the race is a new one,” I said to Ashley.
The six of us ran, breaking into groups of two and three, and I stuck with Kelly and Leah. This was technically a timed race, but I obviously wasn’t there to race. I’ve been running and been attempting to still do some NYCM training, but my training has been irregular at best (which is why I haven’t written about it.)
We ran the 3.1 in about 30 minutes, and I just enjoyed chatting with my friends. We stayed to wait for the other ladies to finish and cheered them in.
Last year, I watched the official on-stage program with my mom, and my friends and I stayed to do the same. I began tearing up immediately at the beginning of the program as the emcee said “I know you are all probably here because ovarian cancer has touched you some how.” They did a cheer about fighting the war to find a cure, and tears started streaming down my face as I felt so sad and frustrated that any cure is too late for my mom. (Though, after seeing the hell my mom went through, all I want is for a cure for this disease to be found, if it can help one family to not have to go through what my family did. This is why I write about this. This is why I talk about this.)
OK, fine, no matter what the cause, I’ve never found a photo booth I didn’t like.
I grabed Meg and Ashley to start walking around with me, as I was having a hard time listening to the program. Ashley had to leave, and Meg and I continued to walk around. We heard the survivor ceremony begin, and Meg held my hand as I began sobbing and asking her why my mom couldn’t be there, telling her how I had told my mom last year that she would be up on there on that survivor stage for a very, very long time.
It breaks my heart that she wasn’t. That when the doctor told her on diagnosis that 10-year survival rates are on the rise, and that worried her. My grandma lived until she was 95, and we all thought that this cancer thing would be a huge bump in the road for us and for her, but that she’d ultimately conquer it and be so much more than a statistic. She was always above average, wouldn’t her survival be too? I keep wondering if that’s something that everyone else thinks and says when their loved one gets diagnosed. If that’s an example of the magical thinking.
Meg held my hand and hugged me as I cried and she corralled our friends to move on to brunch. [I have so many special and amazing friends, but she’s truly been my rock throughout all of this.]
My friend Shannon couldn’t make it, but her husband and daughter came, and it filled my heart to spend time with this cute little love.
Also, she gave us a legit excuse to color at brunch. “What? We have a kid with us!”
It was an emotional morning, but capping it off with brunch and coloring was the perfect end to the day.
I’m lucky to have had 34 amazing years with my mom, and I’m so so lucky to have amazing friends here to help me pick up the pieces of my life and continue to celebrate and honor my special mom.
Special thanks to Abbie, Ashley, Meg, Kelly, Leah, J-Po, Shannon, Tim and sweet little Audrey for yesterday <3
Also, I’m writing an article on ovarian cancer for work — let me know what questions you’d like to ask!