Saturday, June 2, 2012

Willow Glen Relay for Life, 2012

I sure had a great time at the Willow Glen Relay for Life!  First it was a bonus opportunity to reconnect and spend a great day with my high school girlfriend Connie, who lives in Willow Glen!  Thank you Connie for the grand tour, taking us to all the great neighborhoods in Willow Glen and Los Gatos, and showing us all around downtown San Jose.  What a beautiful area, and wonderful day, then dinner and a walk in San Jose's Japan town with you and John.  (Thank you for the lemons John, I sure enjoyed them!) What a cool neighborhood, San Jose's Japan town, so retro and filled with several busy Japanese restaurants, noodle houses and shops!  I loved it, and got a kick out of one window display with all kinds of Japanese pottery and a t-shirt that read "Shitake happens."  Yes it does Baby, yes it does.

Connie and I, in front of the Buddhist Temple
The next morning I was the survivor speaker at the Willow Glen Fight Back ceremony.  What a great morning, and I was so warmly and affectionately received.  It was just wonderful!

Pam Shore, Fight Back Chair

Terri Di Salvo, Event Chair, with Kate Bailey, ACS Staff Partner

Terri and I, a couple of grateful survivors!

A fellow breast cancer survivor, Marie.

It has been so rewarding for me serving as a Hero of Hope for ACS Relay for Life.  I meet so many incredible loving people, who are so generous to me.  I received two handwritten thank you notes in the weeks after speaking there:

Debbie, Just wanted to say thank you for coming to our Relay.  You are wonderful.  In the last 12 years your closing ceremony was the most moving.  Thanks again.
-Sherry, Survivor Chair

and this one:

Dear Debbie, Thanks for coming and telling your story of survival at the Willow Glen Relay for Life.  You are an inspiration, a shining ray of hope, and a courageous warrior.  Your story moved me heart and soul.  I related to it on so many levels as a survivor, caregiver and person that has been affected too many times by this horrid disease.  Relay for Life and people like you have given me the strength to stand up to cancer and fight back for all of us.  Sincerely,
-Terri Di Salvo, Event Chair, Willow Glen

This is just a win win situation, because I can't say enough about what this does for me, especially the moments after I speak and Relayers come up to meet me, shake my hand, tell me their stories, hug me and say very kind things.  It does a whole lot for me, especially the hugging.  Amazing, to hug a stranger, and yet feel such connectedness and grace and healing.

I met Marie there that morning, a fellow breast cancer survivor, a sweet sweet newbie.  She had an enthusiastic Relay team in her honor, Team Marie and the Save Second Base Gang!  I wanted to know who they were all walking for, with so much spirit.  They all pointed to Marie, and I went in for the hug.  Marie got teary eyed and apologized "I'm sorry, I'm just crying all the time through this..."  Awww.  Hello Sister.  There there now.  There there now.  Are you kidding, don't apologize, I am the Queen of the Soft Weepers now!  If you see this Marie, I hope radiation is going well for you, you ordered the Miaderm cream and hang in there Lady, it gets better, it gets better Sister!!  You got this! and how fabulous all your supporters!!!

This whole experience with ACS Relay for Life has been life changing for me, first as a survivor and participating at my wonderful fabulous Vallejo Relay, and now making the rounds as a Hero of Hope.  I still have my moments as I move forward where I look over my shoulder, worry about the future, fear it coming back, but every Relay I've attended and all the wonderful survivors and caregivers and supporters I've met keep me going, keep me hoping, keep me fighting back, keep me motivated to do my part for a world with more birthdays,

until there's a cure.

Releasing of the doves at Willow Glen Relay


kozacekfamily said...

Hi Debbie

This is Marie from Relay.. I have been reading your blog since we met and I can't tell you how much your story has helped me. Thank you for giving me so much hope. My radiation is going well. The burns are just starting to happen. Just taking it one day at a time.


Bill Guthrie said...

Hi Debbie,

This is Bill Guthrie. I sent you an email message last week to your address. Are you still using that address and did you get my message? I'd like to talk/write you about our PatientsWithPower project for helping newly diagnosed patients. Will you please let me know if you're interested? Thanks very much.

Bill 408-203-2369

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