This morning I registered the four of us to walk in the Philadelphia Race for the Cure 5K on Mother’s Day. We’ll be walking with team H4J – to be explained in a later post. Today I’m writing about a very special past race.
Every October from the year 2000 on, the church we attended in Arkansas participated in the Little Rock Race for the Cure. It was women only and each year we’d come up with a new team name, design t-shirts and make a big deal out of it. We’d also grow in numbers.
Our beautiful team captain, Kathy, started all of this because her sister in Texas had breast cancer. Sadly, we unexpectedly lost Kathy to a freak accident in July of 2003. After that Cindy and I co-captained 2003 and 2004.
My diagnosis was April of 2005 and it seemed awfully ironic. Two and a half years previously my childhood friend had been diagnosed so I had started walking for her. Never once did I think I would ever be wearing a pink t-shirt along with all the other survivors.
When October of that year rolled around I was still in treatment and really struggling with my white count. My last three treatments were each delayed a week because my counts were too low to handle the chemo, so there was no way I would be allowed amongst the sea of 40,000+ people and swarming germs.
The team continued, however, and they walked in my honor. My friend, Rhonda, designed the t-shirts. She and my friend, Beth, were the ones who coined the name “G.I. Jen”. They thought it fitting to call the team “G.I. Jen’s Platoon.”
Here’s the front. And no, it’s not your eyes. The picture is a bit blurry.
And this is the scripture I chose for the back.
My sister, Michele, flew in from New Mexico to take part in the walk and afterwards we all met up at the church for a breakfast the men cooked. I sorely missed the walk that day, but the support from this incredible group of people was humbling. I didn’t feel worthy, but at the same time it filled me with such joy.
We moved to Pennsylvania a month after the Philly Race in 2006 and I had some strange skin affliction last year which prevented us from walking. I can’t begin to describe the excitement I feel about being involved again and the gratefulness I have that I’m healthy enough to do it! I’ve missed it.