In 2010 Phil and I took the kids to the USA and travelled around a lot of National Parks in a huge RV. It was a wonderful month and one of the amazing things I gained from the experience was a beautiful friendship with Linda and her son Joel, who we met in Yosemite. It snowed on our first night in Yosemite and the next day it was still snowing so we spent quite a bit of time finding places with open fires and drying out our boots, gloves and coats. By one such fire, we started chatting with Linda, while our kids played, and we just clicked from the very beginning.
Joel is like a son to me, such a beautiful boy, and my kids still talk about him even though they haven't seen him since 2010. He taught them all about SMOREs!
Since then I've become very close friends with Linda and I've stayed with them each year in the States. Last year both she and I had tough times. After losing my mum to a GBM Brain tumour and Linda losing her closest friend to similar, we had an escape together to Big Bear Mountain for Thanksgiving. It was just wonderful. This year Linda is participating in the Susan G Komen 3 day walk to raise money. Below is her story.
I have decided to walk 60 miles for breast cancer in San Diego on November 14, 15, and 16. Several personal reasons over the past two years have influenced my decision to participate in the Susan G. Koman 3 day walk.
As many of you know, in 2011, I grieved over my failed marriage, the death of my Dad, and adjusting to a new home in Temple City with my two great teenagers. Shortly, after these monumental life changes, my best from graduate school, Jean Pedigo, passed away from brain mets after a few year remission from breast cancer.
Jean was probably the most genuine person I have ever known. After she changed careers at age 40 from the corporate world, she and I got our Masters together. She ran the New Pathways Brain Injury Program at Daniel Freeman Hospital for years after until her mother had a massive stroke. She held true to her mother and took her back to her home town in Kansas City where she cared for her for 10 years until she passed. She then set back to work as a Speech Pathologist running the Kansas City multiple handicapped blind program until her retirement in 2011. Shortly after her retirement, Jean found out the worst possible news--the cancer returned.But this time, the breast cancer seemed to spread to the brain. She passed away a few months later. She gave her heart and soul to everyone that she knew; yet, she was never able to enjoy her retirement.
The final influential factor contributing to my decision to "WALK" was a 911 text from my bestie here in California stating "I think I'm have a stroke". Indeed, she sustained an aneurysm and a dissection in her internal carotid artery. Gayle is strong now and has taught me how to be brave and strong also.
I'm taking this newly found strength to help others to beat breast cancer. Instead of focusing on my losses, I am now pledging to raise as much money as I can to stomp out breast cancer. I never want to walk into another woman's hospital room who has mets to the brain from breast cancer. Over my 30 years of practising as a medical speech and language pathologist, I have treated too many of these young and older women with neurological and swallowing dysfunctions due to mets to the brain.
So, I am asking you all to make a donation to this amazing cause in memory of Jean, in honour of Gayle, and for your belief in me that I can complete this personal stepping stone in my new life. No donation is too small. Please help me complete this journey on November 14, 15, and 16.
Thank you for your support,
Susan G. Komen 3-Day™
If you would like to donate to this cause please click here. Thanks for taking your time to read.
Linda, I love you and wish you luck for the walk and for your charity raising.