6

Lashing Out

For the last several hours I’ve been sitting on my couch and wondering how, and if, I should respond to the allegations that I was hit with today.

Part of me thought that I should just shrug it off and move on. A bigger part of me, the part that is writing this note, is hurt enough that I need to address this and I need to do it publicly so that I can move the hell on and away from it.

I found out today that because a portion of the funds that I have raised for my walk (about $1100 raised at an event a week or so ago) have not been posted to my fundraising website, that I must be pocketing the funds.

Wow.

I am so stunned that someone thinks that I would stoop so low as to pocket funds meant to go towards the Susan G. Komen 3-Day For The Cure. I don’t think that the person who thinks that knows me at all. What they’re accusing me of is of using my own mother’s death for my financial gain. My mother DIED because of breast cancer. I lost her and I can never EVER have her back, no matter how badly I might wish it. And trust me. I do. I miss her so much every single FUCKING day. I walk in this walk because it’s all that I feel like I can do to prevent someone else from going through what I went through. What my sister went through. What my dad went through.

I sit here and I’m heartbroken.

My beautiful husband, who did this fundraising on my behalf, has said that he feels as though the accusations are more towards him than towards me. To that, I say bullshit. Because this is MY cause. This is MY walk and this is MY fundraising. If you’re saying that Derek is pocketing the funds, you’re saying that *I’M* allowing that to happen and that I’m allowing that to happen under my pet charity’s name and in memory of my mother.

So to wrap up this angry and heartbroken rant, fuck you for presuming to know me and what I’m all about. Thank you for making me wonder which one of my friends is thinking that about me. Maybe next time you should take a moment and ask me what the situation is before you start talking with other people about my integrity.

I assure you that if you are making a donation towards me and the Susan G. Komen 3-Day For The Cure, that IS where the money is going. I’m sorry if anybody has ever made you feel that that’s in doubt. Please donate with confidence. I do this for my mom and I would never dare to dishonor her memory by using any donated funds to my own benefit. It makes me sick to even think it.

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3

Pride

Have you ever done something that you feel phenomenally proud of? Walking in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure does that for me.

When I walk, I feel like I’m actually making a difference. I feel like I am potentially saving someone’s life with each step that I take and when I’m walking 60 miles over a mere three days? That’s a lot of steps.

Losing my mom to breast cancer was, and continues to be, the most difficult thing that I have ever had to face in my lifetime. I do not wish that experience on anyone. I watched my mother go from a vibrant powerful woman, to one who couldn’t get out of bed. My heart breaks every day with missing her.

Please help me make sure that my daughter never experiences the same thing that I did. Save my life. Save yours. Save hers. Do something to be proud of. Help me by making a donation.

In order to walk, I need to raise a minimum of $2300. Can you donate $25?

Help me reach my goal for the Susan G. Komen Seattle 3-Day for the Cure!
1

Walking For A Cure. Again.

That’s right, folks. I am officially registered to walk 60 miles over 3 days in Seattle this September. With that registration, I have also pledged to raise $2300 to help fund breast cancer research and to one day find a cure.

If you don’t already know, I walk for my mom. She died when I was 14 because breast cancer decided that it was her time and, quite frankly, I think that breast cancer was wrong. I want her back every single day and since I can’t have that, I’ll do what I can. To me that means that I walk and support and I fight to make sure that I don’t put my own daughter through the same thing that I went through. I fight to make sure that she doesn’t fight breast cancer one day.

I’m asking for your help. I know that times are hard right now and it’s hard to give up a little of what’s filling up your wallet. If you can’t donate money, get in touch with me and let me know if you can support with donating raffle items or prizes for various fundraising events that I put on. If you’re in the Vancouver, BC area, let me know and I’ll let you know of upcoming events that you can come out and support.

And if you can donate money? Please do. Here is the link that you donate safely at:

My Personal Page

Thank you so much for all that you do, thank you for being there for me as I go on this crazy journey that is the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure.

3

0-60 In 3 Days: Day Three

What? You thought I’d never get to it? It’s October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and what better time to conclude my 3 Day adventures?

The third day of the walk was yet another early morning and it was cold. Most of my pain had eased off and I was ready to rock the walk. We hauled our sorry asses out of our tents and Bella scuttled off to the medic tent to get her shin splints taped. Jacquee and I ripped down our tents and made sure all of our gear was packed up and delivered to the trucks that were there to take our stuff to meet us at closing ceremonies. We made our way to the breakfast tent and shivered our way through a yummy breakfast.

Then we lined up for the buses. I know, buses. School buses, even. When was the last time I rode one of those? Before high school, that’s for sure. The bus drove us about 15 minutes to the start of the third day and we were off. We impressed ourselves. We were moving at mighty fast clip and we were hitting pit stops in record time. For us, anyway.

The best part of day three was the walk along Alki Beach. It was wonderful. The sea wind was blowing in your face, there were people lined the sidewalk cheering you on and handing you candy and best of all- you could see our final destination- The Space Needle.

Seeing where we were headed was some serious motivation and we kept on trucking. Just before lunch, Bella was feeling the pain in her legs and she hitched a ride to meet us at lunch. Jacquee and I trekked our way there. Lunch was a bit brutal. We had been doing so good earlier and the pain was catching up. We had six miles left. The scary part for me was that my already swollen knee was now actually changing colors and turning red. I made my way to the medic tent where they drew all over my knee and told me to see them again if the redness colored outside the lines. They also gave me ice.

From lunch we walked a very, very short distance. We decided that of the six miles remaining, we would rather do the last three than the first three so we got a van to the last pit stop. Heading out from the last pit stop, we couldn’t be more excited. We were outside of Safeco Field which meant we were in downtown Seattle and there was so much to look at.

There was a horse-drawn carriage full of people who hollered and cheered at us. There was a tour bus full of tourists gaping at all the crazy people in pink hiking up Seattle’s hills. There was window shopping to be done and of course, the ever-present supporters. One guy even had stacks and stacks of boxes of Krispy Kremes and he was handing them out to walkers. That’s a lot of donuts, my friends.

There were so many memorable moments of the third day. I know I’m going to forget some and kick myself later, but one of the neatest ones happened in the last mile.

A bald woman was walking with her family through downtown for the day. She was looking around, a little bewildered, and then realized what we were doing. She stopped and looked and said, “Oh. You’re walking for me.” Our jaws dropped and I think one of the girls behind us gave her a hug before they continued on their way. Heh. I’m getting teary just remembering it.

At one intersection there was a crew member whistling and getting people through. When the light turned red she stopped and yelled, “Do you know how much further it is?” We all looked at each other and she continued. “TWO BLOCKS!” You should have heard us all yell!

From there it was hard NOT to walk with a light step. We could taste the finish line. As we neared Memorial Stadium, I couldn’t believe how many people were there. It was as close to a red carpet experience as I think I’ll ever get. There was literally a tunnel of people and they were crying and they were holding signs and they were cheering. I was openly crying, tears streaming down my face. I was there. I was doing it. I was walking on my own two feet across the last few yards, something that I didn’t do last year.

In closing ceremonies and while you’re in the holding area, you are bombarded by reminders of why you are there. When you’re given your shirt for completing, there are two colors. The pink shirts are given to survivors and the white ones are for the other walkers. You’d be walking along and see the woman who served you breakfast… and she’s wearing a pink shirt. The woman that you talked to back at camp behind the bleachers is wiping tears from her eyes, beautifully adorned in pink.

At one point the cheers got so loud that it was deafening. We turned around to see what it was all about and we ended up choking back sobs. On her way in, a woman had put her child in a sling around her front and she proudly held up the sign that she’d carried throughout the walk. It read, “One Tough Mama. I survived surgery and six rounds of chemo with this baby in my tummy.” The baby was beautiful and so was her mother.

I can’t even begin to express how blessed I am to be able to participate in this event. All of the pain, all of the stress, all of the emotional upheaval is so worth it. If you’re with me in person, I will sit and I will talk about it until your eyes start to glaze over because there is so much to say and so much to recall. There is so much that I want every single person I know to experience with me.

Next year is going to be a little bit different. I’m more than slighty sad that I won’t be able to walk, but the fundraising from this year and last year have beat me down. I’m still short for this year and while I don’t mind donating the remainder myself to the cause, it is definitely having a financial impact on me. I feel horribly hitting up the same people year after year so I’m taking a year off. From walking, that is. I still fully intend on being a part of this next year, but perhaps as a crew member, or even just camping my ass out down in Seattle and being one of those ever-present supporters.

It’s been almost a month since I walked and the experience is still so fresh in my mind. I savor those memories and I will for all of my life. I miss my mother. I miss her so very much every single day. I hope she’s proud of me. I hope she knows that I do this in her memory. I do this so that any future daughters I may have can keep me around. So they don’t have to even learn what chemotherapy is. Let them be ignorant of that one. I’m okay with shelter from that kind of pain.

I hope that people remember that breast cancer is a killer and not just during the month of October. We need a cure. If you can spare anything at all, please consider making a .

4

0-60 In 3 Days: Day Two

Day two started out early and it started out painful. I had woken up every few hours, not able to turn in bed without my screaming muscles waking me up. I had the most difficult time crawling out of my pink tent. I hurt and I hurt badly. Jacquee’s ankle was quite sore and Bella was suffering from what we now think were shin splints. We were a battered team of three. We hobbled our way to the dining tent and put some hot food into our bellies, we treated our poor feet with moleskin and other assorted blister treatments and then we hit the road.

Jacquee and I only made it about a mile in before we needed to hitch a ride to the next pit stop. We were moving too slow to be able to make it before it closed and while I would have loved to have been able to walk all three days, the pain wasn’t worth it. My knee was swollen and turning red and Jacquee’s ankle was making for a cute little hobbling walk she had going on. Bella wanted to go on and off we went to meet her at the first pit.

Despite the generous amount of pain we were in, we still had pretty high spirits and we had a lot of laughs at the first pit stop. Our feet had more bandages visible than skin. We took a few goofy pictures and then we hit the road again.

Once again, our tired muscles protested and we made it about another mile before catching another sweep van. Part of me felt really terrible about catching the ride because my original goal in this had been to walk all three days. I know, however, that because I pushed myself so hard on day one, that I had pretty much made it impossible for my untrained body to do what I wanted it to do. I also had to remind myself that walking wasn’t why I was there. I was there to show how devoted I was to the cause of fighting breast cancer. I was there to say that yes, I was raising $2200 and I was committed. And I was.

At the second pit, Bella decided she was going to play it safe and bus to lunch. Saying we’d meet her there, Jacquee and I started pounding pavement again. Now from the second pit stop, I had a bit of a ways to walk. I had a friend from Cockadoodledoo who was going to be at the second cheering station. I couldn’t let him down so Jacquee and I fought our aching feet. It was worth the wait because that cheering station was amazing. Cheering stations are basically advertised areas for family, friends and supporters to show up and give you their love. Boy, do they. It was incredible. People were lined all down the sidewalks for what seemed like an entire mile. There were signs and outfits and it was just incredible. It was also pretty awesome having someone there for me and I can’t thank Will enough for taking the time out of his day to come and be there!

Shortly after the cheering station we were handed out headbands with pink feathers and flamingos from the zoo. They were adorable and adorned our hats for day three. Just a few blocks away from that we caught a sweep to lunch.

Going into lunch we realized that the only way in and out of lunch was the longest and steepest hill imaginable. It was very discouraging as Jacquee and I had been hoping to continue our walk a mile, sweep the rest pattern that was working out so well.

We lazed around at lunch for a long time, stretching and relaxing before we got the bus back to camp. The walking part of the second day was disappointing for me, but again, I had to remind myself that there was life after the walk and if I pushed myself too hard then I was going to be out of commission for at least a week- not really an option for my work life.

Camp at day two was a lot of fun. The girls and I sat behind the stage for a while and cracked jokes and compared injuries. We ate a great dinner of chicken marsala and were stalked across five tables by a seriously determined bee. We met this amazing woman while sneaking behind the bleachers for some space and some smokes. Her name was Jan and she puts my walking efforts to shame. This woman is just amazing. She walks all twelve cities- this is her second year doing it. On day two she completed her thousandth mile. Yes, she has walked over 1000 miles. Her first year she raised $27,000. This year she’s raised $13,000 so far and has another $13,000 to go to meet her requirements. Which reminds me, if you have any experience in web design and would be willing to donate a site design to Jan, she’s looking for a professional design job for her fundraising efforts- please email me if you’re interested. Her story is that she had a good friend who passed away. At the memorial service she was approached and told about the three day. She decided she would do one for her friend. Then she realized she had three other friends she had lost. She decided to do four- one for each. Then that didn’t seem to be enough. She kept thinking of more people and she couldn’t stop at just four. Her goal is do 100 consecutive walks. How amazing is that? She’s just an incredible human being.

We stayed up later than planned on day two, chatting with Jan and with Stefani, another girl that we met, before we finally headed off to bed- ready rarin’ to go for day three.

Stay tuned for day three’s write-up and remember, for the next two weeks or so I am scrounging up more donations to meet my fundraising goals. If you can help, please donate! Go to http://www.the3day.org, select “make a donation.” Choose Seattle from the menu on the left and type in my name, Courtney Slavin. You can donate by check or by email that way. Thanks!

5

0-60 In 3 Days: Day One

I’ve been hesitant to post about the 3 Day because there is just so much… everything. It’s emotional, it is exhilarating, it’s painful… it takes you up and down every type of roller coaster that there is.

Friday morning dawned bright and early. Hell, it hadn’t even dawned yet when we got in the car at the god-awful time of 3:45 AM. Yes, I said 3:45 AM. We slodged our way to the car and loaded up our gear when Jacqueline, one of my best girl friends and one of my two walking buddies, went running into the house to grab the forgotten keys. On her way back to the car she stepped on the garden house left out on the deck and rolled her ankle. Fabulous start.

We made the long drive and arrived just after 5:30 when we were scheduled to show up. We snaked into the back of the gate and opening ceremonies began. Now I have a pretty good handle on my emotions. I’m really good at being able to talk about the loss of my mother without tears or at being able to listen to a sob story without the accompanying sobbing. When I walk into the 3 Day, though, that control goes out the window. They did it last year and they did it this year, too. During opening ceremonies there is a line… “A young woman walks in memory of the mother she lost…” And I was toast. Then they walk in the circle of survivors and once again the tears they are a streamin’. Then. Then there’s the cry for a world without breast cancer and everybody is cheering and clapping and crying. They start playing loud music and everybody is jumping around- the walk is under way.

My girls and I suffered from a serious case of too much fundraising/not enough training syndrome and we were feeling the burn just a few miles in. Poor Jacquee was feeling a little bit of an extra burn- her ankle was swelling up nice and good. I am so proud of both of my girls, though. For no training and a sprained ankle they fought the good fight. Jacquee had to throw in the towel and get medical attention at the 12 mile point of the first day and Bella trucked it for another additional mile before realizing that it was going to be a long three days if she didn’t rest her weary legs. This walk is not easy and I forced myself through the first day- all 23.5 miles of it- out of sheer determination. I refused to go down without a fight.

One of the highlights of the day, and one that all three of us were still in it for, was the walk across the I-90 bridge. All ahead of you and all behind you, all that you could see was a line of pink spanning the entire length of the bridge. It was absolutely incredible. It made you realize that you were a part of something so big that you literally could not see the end of it.

The walk isn’t just about the actual walking. There are so many amazing people along the way. The crew is just astounding. The Pimp-Mobile is one of seven sweep vans that drives around blasting music and cheering you on- and picking you up and giving you a ride to the next pit stop if you feel you just can’t go on. The drivers wear huge hats and even larger sunglasses and are some of the most genuine, most cheerful and encouraging people you can meet. At the pit stops that can be found every few miles along the route, the crew members dress up according to the theme of the stop and are more than willing to pose for photos.

Oh, the supporters. The many many people who take time out of their day to just stand by the side of the road and cheer you on. How many times in your life can you walk down a sidewalk and have people clapping and thanking you for being there? They are what got me through the last four miles of day one because let me tell you, I was hurting. I think I cried through most of the last four miles because I just wanted to be at camp and I was too close to give up and catch a ride. I wasn’t able to complete a single day last year and I didn’t want that to be the same this year.

Walking into camp on my own two feet was one of the most amazing feelings. I was probably one of the last 50 walkers out of 2500 for the day, but I did it. I really did it. All 23.5 miles of day one. I couldn’t have been more pleased. I was also in more pain than I’d been in a loooong time, but it was all worth it for that feeling.

Dinner was a much-needed and much-enjoyed bowl of spaghetti with french bread, green beans, and salad and an eclair for dessert. I scarfed down that meal and reveled in the feeling of being in my pj’s with my weight off my feet. Jacquee and Bella and I were all exhausted and we called the first night an early night.

Day two will be posted in the next couple of days. It is so hard to make sure that I’m remembering everything that I want to say- there is so much to remember and that I want to share. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I want everybody I know to experience this. There is nothing like it.

Also remember, I am still a bit shy for my fundraising goals and every little bit counts. If you can and would like to donate, please do the following. Go to http://www.the3day.org. Select Make A Donation. Select Seattle from the menu at the left and search for my name- Courtney Slavin. You can make your donation there by check or by credit card. Every little bit counts so even if you only have $5 to spare- I could use it!

**More pictures can be found over here.

4

It's That Time Of Year Again…

Rather, it’s going to be that time all year around.

I’m doing The 3 Day Walk To End Breast Cancer again. This time, however, I’d like to stay sane so I’m starting my fundraising ultra early. Like now.

I’m not asking for monetary donations just yet, give me a few more weeks, but here’s what I’m looking for now.

*Any craft materials, completed pink crafts, or time to work a stand at the flea market this summer. (For completed crafts I’m talking about things like pink beaded keychains, necklaces, bracelets, those fleece blankets you can find all over the place, decorated iPod case… whatever is pink and cute and sellable.)

*Good fundraising suggestions that you’re willing to help me with and/or participate in.

*Ideas of how many people would show up for a pub night in Surrey.

*Email addresses of anybody you think wouldn’t mind getting a monthly or bimonthly newsletter showing our progress, pictures from last year, and what we still need.

*A fourth walker. My step-sister is walking this year so we have a team of three, but to make even tent assignments we are really hoping for a 4th walker. It’s a huge commitment, no doubt, but I can assure that it is truly worth it for the experience- even if you only do it once.

*Saving up your old items to be sold at a mass garage sale, hopefully in early to mid July.

All of your help is greatly appreciated. I hope nobody feels that I’m abusing their friendship in this, please let me know if I already have your email address and you want NOTHING to do with it. As before, any contributions will get you a permanent link on my link page. I know it doesn’t mean much as I’m not a high traffic blog, but I want to show my thanks in any way that I can.

Thanks again and stay tuned for more updates and pleas for help.

**Edited to add that I just went through and reread my original 3 Day Post and all the memories of the walk came flooding back and well, my eyes flooded again. I’m such a baby. In all seriousness, this cause means the absolute world to me.