I remember it like it was yesterday, when I got that phone call from my mom. A couple weeks prior she had found a lump in her breast and the tests results were in. “I have cancer,” she said. I was expecting that call but was hoping the words would be different. I was overwhelmed by sadness and confusion. But, it was “just Breast Cancer” which is curable, right? In our case, that question wouldn’t be answered until a year later.
During that year, I experienced all kinds of highs and lows. I met the man who would become my husband, I celebrated the marriages of all three of my siblings, and I said good-bye to my mom. On November 3, 2009, after two surgeries, eight Chemo treatments, and radiation therapy, this terrible disease took the life of my 53 year old mother, way before I was ready to let her go.
In May of that year, we participated in the 2009 Susan G. Komen Columbus Race for the Cure. Even though I had previously participated, there was no way that I could accurately describe this awesome event to my team members. I just told them that it is unlike anything they had ever seen before or could ever imagine. And I was right. As Team Sue Sue Supporters arrived in downtown Columbus, the sea of pink took our breath away. Guys and girls, young and old, tall and short, sick and healthy, soft and tough, all were there on the corner of Broad and High, all were wearing pink, and all were there to find a cure.
My mom was finishing her chemotherapy at the time and she was concerned about her ability to participate, but she was going to try. Picturing my mom high-five every biker along High Street, receive her rose at the finish line, and dance on the front steps of the Capital Building are images that always bring a smile to my face. It was a day of celebration and hope, she was happy, she was a survivor.
This is a story not only about a life lost too soon but about faith, hope, love, courage, and strength. Team Sue Sue Supporters has decided to honor my mom, Sue Ann Koch, by participating in the Race for a Cure every year until the answer to my question is, ‘yes, Breast Cancer is curable.’ Please join us on May 14 and let’s find the cure so that no other daughters have to answer their mother’s call and hear the words, “I have Cancer.”
Guest post by Stephanie Foltz