We are in Jacksonville for the third time for the Donna Breast Cancer Marathon. This time, Donny is participating too...with me in the 1/2 marathon. Today is registration day, so we are up early to get there before it gets really crowded. In the past, there were up to 10,000 runners (or in our case, walkers). We get our bib(#) and lots of free stuff. It's a fun day...plus we get to meet a lot of people who are doing this for a reason too. It's all about breast cancer.
I hope some day this disease is gone for good. Maybe if a cure is found for breast cancer, it will help find a cure for other cancers. That is my dream.
Just a little story about last night. We are her with Jen (Smitty - one of Melissa's former rugby coaches), her mom and dad (our cheering squad), Michelle (Big Dog, who is doing the FULL marathon) and Di, and Kari (also doing the full) and Leslie. After dinner, Jen, her mom and dad, me and Donny came back to the hotel bar. Sat and told Fort stories and had a few drinks. As we were sitting there, a group of people came in, obviously meeting friends/family they hadn't seen in awhile...there was lots of hugging and kissing and laughing...and then Jen put $50 on the table.
She said "If you go over to that table and start hugging people and acting like you know them, I'll put $50 in Melissa's Scholarship fund." Donny immediately said "She won't do ANYTHING for $50!"
Ok, so I'm a little shy. Plus I only had a couple of drinks, and it takes me awhile to build up the nerve to do something like that. So as we were leaving, Jen pulls out the $50 AGAIN and says "Ok. That guy right there. Go up to him and say "Hey Big Daddy, do you remember me?" And I thought, what the hell, it's for Melissa. She would be embarrassed, but she would laugh about it too. So I did it.
This guy was a little shocked, I think, but then I heard coming from behind me..."Should I be upset about this?" Obviously his wife. Uh oh. What was I thinking? With so many people carrying guns these days, I could have been in BIG trouble. But fortunately, it was a very nice group, and when we told them why we are in Jacksonville, and a little of Melissa's (FORT's) story, they were very understanding. Including his wife. Gave out some of her cards (and hopefully more readers of HER blog) and wishing I would have had some FORT bracelets with me. I will bring them with me today and hopefully run into this group again.
(had to update...jen just sent me the photos that go with the story...it REALLY happened...)
Hug for "Big Daddy"...note his hands are at his side...and to the far left, Donny is watching!
Now Jen wants a kiss on the cheek...he doesn't seem TOO unhappy...not sure about his wife!
(all this for a contribution to Melissa's scholarship fund...and this is as far as I will go, except, well, for $200 I might try to get one of the Donna Marathon banners...next post might be from behind bars!
Which brings me to the reason I am posting today. If you are a NEW reader to this blog, please go to www.fortscancersux1.blogspot.com (note the #1 at the end of fortscancersux)...that is the original blog that Melissa started when she had her first reoccurrence. She was on chemo and got mouth sores and was getting a lot of phone calls from friends. She didn't (couldn't without a lot of pain) want to talk on the phone, so she started the blog. She closed down that blog when she was applying for jobs, 6 months before she passed away. She did get a job (her DREAM job) at the University of Cincinnati as the Marketing and Promotions Coordinator for the Co-op Program. After she got the job, she started Part II of the blog. Her last post on that was Christmas Eve, 2008. She passed away January 3, 2009, two days before her 31st birthday. That is when I started updating...
You REALLY want to read what SHE wrote...you will laugh out loud. She was in incredible writer and it is her legacy to us. She titled the blog "B POSITIVE, It's not just my blood type"...that's how she lived her life on her journey with breast cancer. Positive. Every day. She also always said "No matter how bad you have it, there is always someone who would love to be in your shoes"....she never felt sorry for herself, she continued to do what she always did...work, play rugby, volleyball and love life.
I miss her every single minute of every day...and will continue to tell her story and share her blog. I hope you enjoy it.
(just a note: as you are reading, go to the archives down the right side of the blog - the most recent post is always what you will read first...to get to the beginning of the blog, you need go to the LAST date on the archives.
Gotta go...we're off to register!