I Race To Inspire Others
I heard of Sharsheret when Dana Norris invited my wife and me to an event. The stories we heard were inspiring and uplifting. The women often began by describing their rich and fulfilling lives, followed by a diagnosis, and then either denial or panic, more tests and physical examinations, doctor’s visits, prodding, pushing, medication, radiation and surgeries. Their routines were disrupted, their dreams put on hold, their families turned upside down. But each of them persevered. The common thread was Sharsheret, which provided each storyteller with support, advice, encouragement and friendship. Upon hearing story after story, which all sounded somewhat familiar, I knew that I needed to become involved.
My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer years ago when my brother and I were in grammar school. Back then, cancer was not discussed; it was a Shonda to even mention the word. We didn’t know for years that our mom had endured surgery after surgery until just before she passed away, when I was 13 and my brother was 10. There was no one to speak with; my parents had little support other than from close friends and family members, and my brother and I were pretty much on our own. Could we have benefited from an organization like Sharsheret? You bet!
Fast forward 40+ years, to when my wife was diagnosed. At the time, our boys were about the same age as my brother and I were when our mom was diagnosed. I needed to be strong for my wife (in truth, she was the strong one, for me!) and our sons. Would we tell the boys? When? How? What about my worrisome and elderly mother-in-law? Could we have benefitted from an organization like Sharsheret? You bet!
I jumped at the opportunity to join the Board of Sharsheret, hoping I might bring a different perspective and mindset. Nor did I hesitate (well, maybe a little…) when Jonathan Blinken invited me to join Team Sharsheret’s NYC Triathloners. I have never been much of an athlete although I have always loved sports, and have never competed in an organized race of any kind. Being part of Team Sharsheret and participating in the Tri provided me with a wonderful opportunity to stretch personally by setting a goal, making a plan and following through to its successful completion.
There have been challenges: The weather was awful this spring, and so my training began late. I have a chronically bad back, and sustained a leg injury in May, which set me back. But I persevered.
My goals are modest: to finish. To not get hurt. To inspire others. And to spread the word about Sharsheret.
I must thank my wife and family for permitting me to take the time to train, and putting up with my ridiculously early morning workouts. My trainers, Mark Diaz and Afiyfa Kish of Physiqology, have helped me tremendously. Ironmen Vitor Guerra and Barak Dunayer are my shining examples. I’ve been encouraged by the words and back slaps of many friends and colleagues, and inspired by those who have suffered through physical challenges, especially those who have not complained, and have persevered.
As I struggle through the race itself, I will think of my mom and my wife, and my dad, my brother and my sons, all who could have benefitted from Sharsheret. I will think of the valiant women who have struggled through life after diagnosis, and their families who support them, with or without the help of Sharsheret. And I will be grateful for this opportunity to be a true athlete and to wear the Sharsheret uniform and spread the word about this critically important organization.