Wednesday, September 2, 2015

5K, 10K, step by step

     This weekend, the Kellie's Krew 5K/10K, race was held in Dunn, North Carolina. There were hundreds of runners at the start line. They've trained, and set goals for personal best times. They have this look on their faces of both excitement and determination. I'm not a runner, and I wasn't in North Carolina this weekend, but this was still an important event to me. There is this other side to these events,  private and less visible, but very important. I was suprised to see that the picture in their local paper wasn't of the runners, but of the survivors.

     The night before the race, there is a meet and greet for people affected by Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma (ACC).  Kellie's krew was founded to raise money for research and patient support.  Most of the survivors have only met each other online, and travel state to state for an event like this. We are too few, and too far spread. Seeing pictures on facebook, is an encouragement to those of us who couldn't make the trip.  It's a reminder that we aren't alone in this, and that the need for a cure does matter.  I've attended Relay for Life for the American Cancer Society for years, and found it to be an encouraging event. I was disappointed to learn that the organization doesn't give financial support to research for ACC.  According to the,, it doesn't affect enough people.  Research is being funded by.
 families who have created their own organizations to fight back.

      September 11th, the Attack ACC 5k is being held in Illinois. Last year I wasn't sure what to expect when my husband and I decided to make the drive.  I found a group where I felt understood. I had several conversations that would have felt too personal in another setting. Beyond the cancer and the treatments, there is a social component to this.  The side effects can be isolating.  Beyond the way you look in the mirror, there can also be changes to the way you eat and speak. These may be temporary or permanent.  Sharing a meal is a huge part of family and community life. It's difficult to take part in that when you cannot taste, chew, or possibly swallow the food.  It's hard to date when you can't do 'dinner' and a movie.

     It's hard to function in this world when you literally have no voice. Think about how quickly you recognize your partner's voice on the phone, or your child's cry from another room.  It's hard to be heard in a crowd when you can only produce a scratchy whisper.  If your vocal cords are affected, that loss of your voice can be permanent. there are techniques that can help, but it's not a natural voice. The back and forth flow of a conversation is filled with pauses, and the tone of voice isn't there. It takes courage to go out into the world and speak for yourself anyway. In this group though, they get it, to some degree they have been there.  

     This year, we are taking our kids, as well as a few other family members. There are a couple of us who might actually run, and the rest will do our best to walk. I appreciate them showing support of me in this way. It also opens my world to them.  It's important for my kids to associate something positive with the word 'cancer'.  I'm looking forward to seeing people I met last year. The downside though is there are also people who won't be there this year. People who have become to ill to travel, or who have died from this cancer. There will also be people who are newly diagnosed and joining a club you never want to join. It's encouraging to talk to someone who is further along this bath, and to offer comfort to someone who is just starting.

     I'm also working on a ATC card collage for the silent auction at the walk. The project hasn't gone quite as well as I hoped. I've only received a few cards from other survivors. Most of them have come from my craft group, and my family.  I'll post pictures of it soon.  I'm hoping that actually seeing the project will help.  I would like to create another one to auction on ebay later this fall.  Artist Trading cards can be mailed to me. Financial donations can be sent to either of the groups sponsoring the walks, or directly to ACCRF online.

1 comment:

  1. Jen, your Dad and I looking forward to being with you on Friday and Saturday in Illinois. Love Mom