I have registered for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer this July 8th and 9th in San Francisco, California. I’m feeling pretty good about it. It’s a personal challenge. It’s a personal goal. It’s a commitment to my future.
I thought I might write a blog about it because breast cancer affects me personally. Not so personally that I have it, it’s just that I know three very important women who have it or have had it and I’m sure I will know more in the future.
I don’t know much about breast cancer. In fact, I know as much about breast cancer as I know about prostate cancer. Except, I know I have breasts, so breast cancer affect me personally. And, as I’ve mentioned above, three very important women I know and their families have been affected by breast cancer and I am walking this walk for them.
I am walking the Avon walk for breast cancer for Theresa Crawhall. Theresa is the wife of one of my unofficial personal mentors Robert Crawhall. Robert was my first manager at Nortel Networks when I started in 1993. Robert and Theresa live in Ottawa, Canada with their two daughters Hayley and Dana. Theresa taught me it is possible to have in influential career AND a family. I’m not so sure where she is now or what she is doing, but I’m hoping she’s alive and well and enjoying her life, her family, and her career. When I knew her, she was creating public policy for the Federal Government of Canada–professionally contributing to and personally creating the social fabric of a nation. And to me, that is an incredible life accomplishment.
I am walking the Avon walk for breast cancer for Naomi Bulka. Naomi was my assigned mentor when I became a technical writer at Nortel in 1995. At Nortel, new hires were assigned a mentor to help them navigate their first few years in the corporation. Naomi was a 55-year old grandmother. She had graduated from university in her late 40s and had started this new career. When I met her, she had been a technical writer for four or five years. I was very impressed. I was especially impressed that she talked to me about her new career and making career decisions AND she was 55 years old. Naomi taught me that not only can you have a family, but you can be personally and professionally successful in EVERY DECADE of your life. Naomi died from breast cancer in 2001.
I am walking the Avon walk for breast cancer for Therese Lacroix. Therese is a very close friend of my parents and therefore, is very important to me. She lives in Whitehorse, Yukon with her husband Bertrand. She is a brilliant person. She is a light–full of love and laughter. Bertrand was an administrator for my French program when I went to high school. One long weekend in May in the late 1980s, I was walking my dog in Wolf Creek campground (across from my house on the Alaska Highway) and I found M. Lacroix and his wife spending the weekend camping. Later, I told my parents they were there and my parents went across the road to meet them. They have been close friends ever since. Therese is a wife, a mother, and very recently, a grandmother. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2005. Therese, two kisses on each cheek for you. I love you.
And finally, I am walking the Avon walk for breast cancer for me. I need a challenge. I need a goal. I need some focus. Hopefully, I’ll help others on the way. What better reason do I need?
So. Here’s to everyone I know who has been affected by breast cancer–family, friends, friends of family, and family of friends. Join me, support me, or simply just think of me on July 8th and 9th as I’m walking the Avon walk for breast cancer.