This is a call to action.
In the blogging world, we call them CTAs. Call out to your readers. Ask for a response. Promote interaction. Respond to your fans.
But this is a different call today. Today is October 1st and now, October signifies more than just the change in weather.
October is synonymous with Breast Cancer Awareness. Everyone in October wears pink–from athletes to coaches, teachers to students, the call to action is nation wide. (If you’re impatient, like me, skip down to how YOU can help. That’s the most important part of this article and I don’t want you to miss it.)
For me, October signifies even more than this awareness cause. October, in my opinion, is the most beautiful month of the year. The cool fall weather just screams long hikes through the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. The smell of hot apple cider, pumpkin pies, pumpkin bagles topped with cinnamon cream cheese from the local bagel shop, and my favorite–pumpkin spiced coffee–well, just insert a long-exhaled sigh of complete satisfaction.
I’m invisioning every shade of orange in my mind right now, and I think about my Laila and Atty babies–hiking with them and enjoying living life in every glorious moment.
I don’t know how anyone doesn’t actually like the fall season. The smells, the flavors, the cool breezes….jeans and scarves, boots and sweaters, long morning runs and even longer evening walks. I just adore fall.
I’m also an October baby. Yep, October is my birthday month. And I don’t care how old I’m getting, I LOVE celebrating life. I love my birthday. I relish in the excuse to eat cake and ice cream all day without thinking that my body will take on the added calories. Calories, of course, do not exist on your birthday. And I love the entire thought of summer fading into the cooler wintry season. Watching the leaves change, fall from the trees, nestle like a bed on the hardening ground…it’s kinda comforting in a weird way. Like the past is fading away and the future is waiting for us right around the corner. The old world is dying and a new one awaits us with Spring.
It reminds me of the poet, William Butler Yeats:
THAT is no country for old men. The young
In one another’s arms, birds in the trees
– Those dying generations – at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
I love my birthday month. But my birthday month, sadly, is also a death month.
The American Cancer Society has started a fight: one for more birthdays. In fact, they are the official sponsors of more birthdays. Cancer surrounds us and I personally don’t know anyone who hasn’t in some way been affected by this disease. Just this year alone, according to the American Cancer Society, over 230,000 NEW cases of breast cancer in women have been diagnosed. I’m not a math person, but damn. That’s a lot of women. A lot of mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, daughters.
I call October a death month because while I absolutely LIVE for those first few fall flurries of red leaves, it’s also the most bittersweet month for me to get through.
October means that winter is on the way and that families will come together for the holidays. Christmas is around the corner. The weather is getting colder. My mind is absolutely FLOODED with childhood memories. Fall always signifies the beginning of the time for family bonding, cuddling by fires, eating hot vegetable soup at the dinner table (yes, those dinners still exist!), and just simple, silly, laughter and fun. Gosh I love October! But three years ago, in October, on the most beautiful day of the entire month…
I lost my hero to cancer.
Dad passed away from liver cancer the day before my 30th birthday.
Cancer is killing us.
And we’ve GOT to fight back. I lost my grandmother and my dad in the SAME year from cancer and almost lost my mom on Christmas Day, still the same year–also to cancer. Gosh, that had to be the saddest Christmas of my life. I visited my mom in the hospital who was having complications post tumor removal surgery from the 23rd, and then I went “home,” where I typically opened presents with my dad. He wasn’t there and home never felt like home again. So I then visited my dad’s snow-covered grave. His death was still so new that he didn’t even have a tombstone yet. I just sat on the snow and cried. No grandma, no dad, and a battle-scarred mom.
I had never felt so alone and never in my life had I hated Christmas so badly.
I can’t sit here and explain to you how empty my heart feels some days, and how I will randomly catch myself crying over the silliest of moments.
But what I can tell you, is that I.NEED.YOU to help me, help us, help everyone who has been affected by cancer, to FIGHT BACK. I’m tired of cancer taking the lives of my family. I’m tired of watching my friends lose their own family members to disease. Strong Figure exists to help people fight diseases! Just in my family alone I’ve witnessed colon, lung, and liver cancer wreack havoc. I’m watching my grandaddy now fight a cancerous brain tumor. When will this end, and will I be next?
This is your call to action.
There are endless ways to help support cancer research.
You can DONATE to the American Cancer Society. By donating, you are helping people stay well, get well, find cures, and fight for all victims.
You can participate in a CANCER PREVENTION STUDY. I’m participating and I’m ecstatic about this opportunity.
Celebrate, Remember, and Fight Back by joining your local RELAY FOR LIFE.
Walk for a Cure! Join MAKING STRIDES AGAINST BREAST CANCER and find the nearest breast cancer walk!
Join a local BARBELLS FOR BOOBS fundraiser!
Barbells for Boobs is a non-profit organization that provides funding to pay for breast cancer detection services as a last resort for thousands of people who don’t qualify for assistance elsewhere.
The aim is to help people that need it, anywhere, whether they are male or female, no matter what their age or situation in life.
Though typically done through CrossFit affiliates, any person can participate in the event. Whether it’s through donation, buying a shirt, participating in the “Grace” workout, Barbells for Boobs is an incredibly fun event for people of all ages. And I want to take this opportunity to invite all my readers to:
- Come out to CrossFit Harrisonburg on Saturday, October 19th at 10am and help me kick cancer’s ass. CFH is hosting its second Barbells for Boobs event and will be raising money through December for this national fundraiser. You can particpate, you can watch, you can simply donate.
- Share this blog post! Whether you can make it out to the Burg or not, please share this message. There are so many ways to fight against cancer and we need to make these methods available.
- Plans for the 19th? Live too far away?Attached below is a Single Check Donation Form, and a Gift Donation Form. Print out and mail in. Easy.
- Buy a shirt! Ok, some of us are broke and throwing money down every time someone begs for a good cause is tough to do. Why not get something in return? Support breast cancer awareness and by purchasing one of my chiropractor’s shirts! Talk about a guy with heart. He fixes bodies and helps save lives. All proceeds go to Harrisonburg’s local women’s center.
One more way I can think of to help this month:
My work–Harrisonburg Parks and Recreation Department–is hosting a Race to Beat Breast Cancer 5k on Saturday October 26th at Westover Park. It’s not only an event I’ll be proudly working, but I’ll be working it on the 3-year anniversary of my dad’s passing. Come out and run for any and every person who has been touched by cancer–no matter what kind.
…For always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
I really wish my dad could have been around to celebrate at least one more birthday. Help me fight back and respond to my call to action.
David Glazer says
Great article Steph! Touching information you shared with us. Hope everyone helps out by participating in some manner. Buying one of my shirts would be awesome too! Contact the office at 540-434-6400 if interested.
Stephanie Wimer says
Thanks Dr. Dave!! I hope your shirt sales are a huge success!!
Ericka @ The Sweet Life says
Wow — that’s hard stuff! Reading a lot of heartfelt posts today on this matter. I just realized it was Oct. 1 — how fitting that my sister just got out of having double mastectomy surgery minutes ago. Anyway, I will be supporting research along with you and I”m really sad to hear about your Dad. This is a great post — let’s spread the awareness!
Stephanie Wimer says
Thank you Ericka! I am definitely dedicated to this cause…I sure hope everything with your sister is ok and that she recovers quickly from her surgery! I’ll be thinking of you and your family <3
Poor Teachers (@poor_teachers) says
You guys are all awesome. Thanks for sharing and thanks for spreading awareness.
Ericka, I saw your tweet but I did not realize you were referencing your
sister. I echo Steph’s wishes for a quick recovery.