This year, it’s personal.

I have posted a few times about how my new Facebook addiction has allowed me to connect with old friends from high school.  Some that I haven’t talked to since I graduated 25 years ago.  Some that I have seen here and there over the years and some that I still have contact with.  In this endeavor, I have also connected with some of my brother’s friends as well. 

So enter Shawn and Renee Gardner.  I remember Renee as my brother’s crazy friend (she still is)  in high school and Shawn as someone that I did occasionally talk with as he was just a few years younger than I.  I don’t remember Heather as she was many years younger than I but through my Facebook re-connection with Shawn and Renee, I have come to know her story with breast cancer. I have come to know the fabulous things that  Shawn and Renee have done by creating “Team Heather” to help find a cure for this disease .  A disease that, at some point in all of our lives, will aaffect each and every one of us whether it, God forbid, be one of us directly or a family member or a friend. 

Before re-connecting with Shawn and Renee, I had always thought that breast cancer was a disease in which older women (and by older, I mean women 35 and above) needed to worry about.  Not so.  Heather was 25 when she found a lump in her breast which her doctor’s later told her was probably 10 years old.  It’s shocking to realize that Heather probably had the lump in her teens, through high school and beyond.  That’s not supposed to happen.  Heather was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer.  A little over a year later, Heather lost her battle at the age of 26. 

I am sure that you’ve heard  many, many stories connected to breast cancer and the hell that both those with the disease and their families have to endure. This is the one that has touched me more than any other  both because I know the family but also because Heather was so young and her story is not the one we all hear.

In the years since, Shawn and Renee have worked tiredlessly on raising money for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in the name of their little sister, Heather.  Today, Shawn learned that the efforts to raise money for “Team Heather” for the Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure has landed “Team Heather”  in second place for all fundraisers.  Fund raising for this ends at midnight on Thursday.  I want “Team Heather” to be in first place.  Part of this is my competitive spirit that I always want those that I know to win (unless , of course, they are competing against me – then I want to win!) but the other part is that I truly see the remarkable passion that Shawn and Renee in finding the answer and I know that, through their efforts, sooner or later, we will all benefit when breast cancer is a  thing of the past and nobody’s sister, wife, mother, grandmother or aunt has to go suffer through this.

It’s a bad economy, I know. People have lost jobs and cannot make ends meet. I know.  It’s a bad time to ask for money – I know.  But I am asking anyway.  Please help keep “Team Heather” on the top of the leader board and make a donation today.

Thank You!