HOW IT GOT STARTED
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2021 as a seemingly health 42 year old, it was terrifying. I had no idea what was to come, and the fear was overwhelming at times. I had started running the year before during the pandemic, and the movement helped keep me sane during that challenging time. I kept on running through surgery and chemo, but I wasn't sure I could keep it up for the daunting six weeks of daily radiation. It was the part I worried about the most: going in and out of the hospital every day and the constant reminder that I was now a cancer patient. So I posted a sign-up sheet and asked if any of my friends would walk with me. What happened next was pure magic.
150 MILES, 25 DIFFERENT WALKING COMPANIONS
It's five miles roundtrip from my apartment to Mass General Hospital. I walked it every day in the summer heat, even through a tropical storm. The main side effect of radiation is fatigue, and even though I was extremely tired, each day when a new walking companion showed up outside my door, I was energized and motivated. I always felt better at the end, even if I did go to bed often just a couple hours later!
A CELEBRATION, TOGETHER
On June 20, 2021, I laced up my sneakers, strapped on my fanny pack, grabbed by blue band to wrap around my near-bald head, and toasted with my dearest friends to mark the occasion. We laughed the whole way, catching up on everything but cancer. That moment and those memories will stay with me way more than those hospital visits.
STRONGER ON THE OTHER SIDE
I have no doubt that the Walk with Me Project helped me to get through the most grueling part of treatment for me with more strength and joy than I ever could have expected. I was exhausted beyond words by the end, but still full of life. After a little bit of rest, I started moving again and just three months after finishing cancer treatment, I ran my first half marathon.