Old Cooper River Bridge

On Facebook, I often see invitations to “post this” if you’ve ever lost someone to cancer. I’ve lost someone to cancer, but I haven’t reposted the invitation.  I’m not sure why except that maybe I have the feeling my mother wouldn’t approve. She’d question the purpose of it and remind me that, “Talk is cheap, Jaynie.” She always called me Jaynie when she was in a happy mood, and that’s the way I’m imagining her right now. I have to imagine her because she’s no longer a physical presence in my life, not since we lost her to cancer over ten years ago.

Last week when I registered for the Cooper River Bridge Run, I donated a small amount to the American Cancer Society. It wasn’t much, a pittance really, but every little bit counts, right? Still, I didn’t feel all that magnanimous about it, and I went to Scott Park for a walk. While there, I saw a young African American woman wearing a “Bridge” t-shirt from a past year, and I asked whether she was going to participate in the Bridge Run this year.

“No, I doubt it. I’m putting all of my energy into training for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure walk in Atlanta,” she replied.

“Is that sort of like the Avon walk?” I asked.

“Sort of. You walk a total of 60 miles over a three day period,” she said with a smile.

“60 miles??? In three days?? What’s the entry fee?”

Without hesitation, she informed me that it was $2,300.

“Wow,” I said, standing there staring at her in awe. I then went on to tell her that my daughter Carrie and I went with about 45 people from the Grand Strand to Alaska in 1996 to participate in a marathon, my first. Every participant had to raise $3,500 (if I recall correctly), and after the plane tickets and hotel accommodations were taken care of, the rest went to leukemia research. We were part of the Team-in-Training program, and it was an awesome experience. Everyone wore a hospital bracelet with the name of a patient, someone they were running/jogging/walking for, as a reminder of the purpose of the event.

“It was so hard to raise all that money,” I whined. “We had yard sales, wrote letters, washed cars, begged people…you name it, we did it.”

“But you did it, right? You did it. You raised the money and went to Anchorage, right?”

“Right.  And that’s what you need to remember. You can do it!”

Smiling still, she said, “And so can you.”

I asked her a few more questions, and when we parted company, I had pretty much made up my mind to register for the 3-Day in Atlanta in October. I even said, “Hey, maybe I’ll see you on Peachtree Street,” as we parted.

And I’m going to do it, Folks. If my left knee holds out, if I can find the time to train, if I can stay motivated, and if I can raise the money, I’ll be there.

Speaking of money, I’m not a math person like my sister is, but I can do a few basic computations, and I know that if 46 friends contribute $50, I’ll have it. If 92 friends contribute $25, I’ll have it. Carrie and Rich have already committed a pledge to the cause. Why? Because Carrie loved her Granny, and she wants to do her part to fight the Big C that took her grandmother’s life.

I’m probably going to register in the morning. I’ll let you know when I do, and then I’ll start asking for contributions. Giving money involves more than posting on FB, and as my mother would often say, “Talk is cheap.” You know, I can just see her smiling about now.