Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

An Opportunity to Help

My health, fitness, and ability to run Badwater is a gift, and it's a great opportunity to do something to help someone else. While the Badwater race itself supports the Challenged Athletes Foundation for disabled athletes, I want to do something that will help people locally, in my community of Fort Collins.

My Badwater run is a fundraiser for the Poudre Valley Health System Foundation's Cancer Care Fund. This fund supports the patient navigator program, community and nurse education, and equipment for cancer-related programs.

I chose the Cancer Care Fund out of several different cancer-related funds because I felt it was the one that would most directly reach people in need. Cancer is something that affects almost everyone in one way or another, directly or indirectly.

When a person is newly diagnosed with cancer, they are taking the first step in a complicated maze of events. Patient navigator programs help people diagnosed with cancer to work through all of the things they have to do along the journey to restoring their lives and health. They help patients who might not have strong family or community support find support services, treatment services, and find ways to make those services more accessible.

Patient navigators can help set up appointments for treatment and any related therapies, find nutrition services, physical therapy, counseling, financial assistance, child care, and transportation. Cancer treatment and related therapies are disruptive to normal routines, family life, and jobs, and can cause enormous stress at a time when the patient needs to focus on their health.

Supporting cancer care is personally important to me because my sister had a bilateral mastectomy in 2006 for breast cancer, at age 35. We had no known family history of cancer and it was before she had her frst mammogram that she found it. My sister benefitted a great deal from the patient navigator program where she got treatment. My sister is doing well now and has resumed doing everything she loves to do, and is living in California with her husband and my 4 year old nephew.

One of my crewmembers for Badwater, Chris, found out he had non-Hodgkins lymphoma two years ago. At the Across the Years race in Arizona in 2005 he had just been diagnosed, but he came out and ran the race as usual, continuing his duties as race medical staff. Chris is a registered nurse and has been helping out with medical duties at Across the Years for many years. He had chemotherapy in 2006 and is now in remission.

This year Chris ran the race while serving as the race nurse, as he always does. He fixed blisters, soothed sore muscles, and helped runners deal with any medical problems during the three day event, and still managed to run 100 miles over three days. There will be more about Chris and all my crewmembers on the blog as we approach race day.

I hope as you're reading this you will consider donating to the Cancer Care Fund. For more information go to the Foundation's website or call (970) 495-7400.

If you would like to make a donation, please make checks payable to PVH Foundation and write "Badwater Race" in the memo line. Checks can be sent to:

Poudre Valley Health System Foundation
2315 East Harmony Road Suite 200
Fort Collins, CO 80528

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