September Memories and Musings, 2012
What Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month Means To Me
by Aleece Raw
It’s hard to believe another September is right around the corner—another ovarian cancer awareness month and another birthday that my sister, Shelly, is not here to celebrate since succumbing to ovarian cancer just over two years ago. She would have been 46 this September. She was a vibrant soul who serves as a reminder to this day of how to live courageously and lovingly. So, in her honor, I will head to Salt Lake City September 15th-18th, to climb a mountain, literally and figuratively, at HERA’s 10th Annual Climb4Life Utah.
We’ll be climbing mountains in the beautiful ravines outside Salt Lake City, challenging ourselves to take one more step when we’re sure we can’t go on. Have you hugged a vertical cliff? It’s exhilarating and a bit terrifying. Newbies are definitely encouraged – it’s where I did my first (and only) climb. This will be my second. Yikes! I’ll take one step at a time until I’ve reached the top. And continue on until we’ve raised another $100,000 or more for ovarian cancer research.
What will you be doing for ovarian cancer awareness month? I sincerely hope you can join me at the Utah climb. I’ve met such wonderful, vibrant people at each event I’ve been to. If you want to attend but aren’t ready to climb, never fear. There’s yoga and hiking to do as well. I tried acroyoga at the Climb4Life Colorado this past June. It’s a combination of thai yoga, massage and acrobatics that you’ve got to try to fully understand and appreciate.
If you can’t make it, please honor the women in your life by committing to doing at least one thing this September to help stop the loss of women from ovarian cancer. Here are some things you can do right at home, no matter where you live:
- Tell a friend about the signs and symptoms. We’ve made it easy with Twitter, Facebook, email links, and more. It only takes a few minutes and makes a huge difference. With early detection, 90% of patients will survive, but only 20% of cases are caught early.
- Host a HERA event. We’ll be happy to help you out with symptom cards, brochures, and other collateral materials. We’ve had amazing people of all walks of life ride motorcycles across the country, host bake sales at their school, compete in triathlons, organize races or simply host a celebration with family and friends. Whatever inspires you, we can help.
- Make a donation to HERA. You can make a one-time donation now, or setup a simple recurring monthly donation at whatever dollar amount you like. Why not cut back on a few of those lattes and donate $10 or $20 a month? I hate to tell you this, but they’re not really good for you, even if you call them skinny.
- Buy a present for a loved one – including yourself. We have everything from beautiful jewelry to outdoor wear to climbing equipment from an amazing group of partners who donate a portion of every sale to HERA. Thanks to our Partners in Action!
- Take care of you. We all get caught up in the daily stresses of life on occasion. Take time this September to remember what’s most important in your life: you! Give yourself permission to eat healthy, to cook and enjoy a meal at home with family and friends. Take more time to work out, to find a quiet place to relax and to let go of the things in your life that cause you stress. Spend more time with the people you love, and smile, and appreciate as many moments as you can.
My sister’s death was the biggest wake up call of my life. It was what Kris Carr, author of Crazy Sexy Cancer, calls a “shitpickle.” It made me check in to my own life and make sure I was happy with the way I was living it. Turns out I had a few adjustments to make. You may already have experienced your own shitpickle, but you don’t need to wait for one to happen to start making your own health and quality of life a priority. As Kris would say, “eat your veggies, ignite your spark, and live like you mean it!”
Many thanks to my HERA family for helping me live like I mean it.
I love each and every one of you,