I'm sure you're wondering why I stepped up to join Penny & her family in their quest to raise $1, 000 for Relay for Life. I thought I'd share a bit with you here.
In 1977, when I was just 2 years old, my life changed forever. My mother became a stranger who had more bad days than good. My young aunts, ages 9 & 11 were split up. One lived in rural Tennessee for a school year, quite a shock after living in Chicago her whole life and the other was put into foster care. My grandfather gave up caring about himself or his children. All of this happened because of cancer. A form of cancer that has robbed my family of women for generations. It struck my grandmother and by age 47 years old, she was gone.
They say you eventually get over a death. They say life goes on. Well, let me tell you what really happened in our case. My mother never again celebrated a holiday without tears or anguish. Even now, 32 years later, she shuts down. The younger daughters have battled everything from teen pregnancy to anorexia. One dropped out of high school. One tried to change who she was and t become someone else. The family unit was shattered. In the past 32 years, never has the family gotten together for holidays. The close bond they once shared was broken and the family became a dysfunctional mess. None of the girls wants to go to their annual ob/gyn exam. They are all terrified of what might be lurking there unnoticed. The eldest, my mom's older sister, was diagnosed with a form of uterine cancer at age 44. Luckily they were able to remove it. We live in fear of the dreaded C and that is not a life.
We cannot get my grandma back. I cannot give my mom the past 32 years she missed with her mom. I cannot fix the wounded and fractured lives of all of those people around me. But what I can do is help raise the funds needed to find a cure for cancer. I can help save another 2 year old little girl from growing up with a huge hole in her family unit.
This is my grandmother, Mearl, just before her death in 1977. See the "pregnant" stomach? That is cancer. Please help find a cure so that other families are not torn apart!
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