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Before I had cancer, I had friends who were regular participants in and supporters of the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. Every city in the area seems to have one, and those who take part seem to find it very fulfilling.
I won't say anything about Komen's Race for the Cure, since the organization has been so discredited.
I have donated to such efforts on occasion, but I've never been especially involved in any given fundraising campaign. There isn't much of note happening for endometrial cancer, and selfishly enough, I figure that I have enough financial difficulty that contributing to a cancer charity isn't a major priority for me.
For the next few months, I might be undergoing a change in my thinking. Please follow me below the fold for more.

I just returned from an information meeting about a major fundraiser sponsored by my local Cancer Support Community. For the past eight years, this chapter has had teams running under the label "Strides for Hope," which appears to be an informally-adopted name for the half-marathons that many cancer support organizations around the country have sponsored over the years.

As with Relay for Life, the idea is for participants to raise money for the cause from their family, friends, associates and community members. But instead of an open-ended commitment, this "Strides for Hope" project establishes a fixed goal for participant of $2900. The net from this, about $2000 after expenses, would go directly to the Cancer Support Community chapter here. In total, this fundraiser brings in about 12% of their annual income.

Between 10-35 people join the local team and train up to be in good shape for the 13.1 mile course, which they complete by running, walking, or some combination of the two. Part of the fun comes from the team-building aspect, since there are regular group runs in addition to the kick-off event and the half-marathon itself. Part of it comes from the satisfaction one gains from working toward such a demanding goal. But part of it also comes from the travel to the venue hosting the half-marathon. The event early this year took place in Key West, and the one to be held this fall was supposed to take place in Myrtle Beach.

To be honest, I have several motivations for considering it for myself. First, I'd like to give back to my CSC. They have been a life-line for me these past three years. For the first year, I was probably there three days/week, for my support group, meditation, and yoga, plus occasional workshops or other special events. My participation now has decreased, but not my gratitude or appreciation.

Second, I was hoping to use this goal to help get me moving more regularly. I tend to be a goal-oriented person, and this kind of goal is appealing--although I am no longer the twenty-something woman who thought nothing of a long weekend of martial arts workouts, dawn to dusk. It's also been my preference to do an individual sport, like martial arts, but in a group setting. Running/walking fits into that, too. I do need something that's both cardiovascular and strength-building. Nowadays, I'm not sure if my knees can handle a run/walk of this distance; already my hands would find it difficult. (For those who are not runners--yes, your hands and arms are important components, too. Not as tough as racket sports, or cycling, to be sure, but it's still a whole-body activity.) For that matter, I learned today that only about 20% of the participants are themselves cancer survivors. Most of the team members are either  caregivers or otherwise closely associated with someone who has or had cancer. I'm wondering what that means about the overall fitness of cancer survivors around here.

Third, I liked the idea of going to Myrtle Beach in October. I have a friend who just recently moved there, and as you may have already guessed, I love to get around to see my friends. Reduces the pain of seeing them leave, at least a bit.

But...now both the venue and the date have changed. Instead of Myrtle Beach in October, now it's San Antonio in December. I don't know. I'm really a coastal sort of person, and I don't know many people in Texas. Well, there's a nephew in Houston I could visit, so that would be fun.

Two of my three incentives could still be fulfilled. But I'm not as enthusiastic now. It's possible I'll do it. Fortunately, I have more time to make a decision, and a commitment. Once the training period starts, I'd be on the hook for the full $2900. Yikes!

Thus, my questions tonight are to inquire whether any of you have been involved in an undertaking like this. If so, how did it turn out for you? If not, have you ever had the opportunity? Did you have the option and say no?

Besides this sort of multi-purpose fundraiser, there are others, as I mentioned. I'd be happy to hear about your experiences with those, too, particularly ones that require you to do something physical for them.

Monday Night Cancer Club is a Daily Kos group focused on dealing with cancer, primarily for cancer survivors and caregivers, though clinicians, researchers, and others with a special interest are also welcome. Volunteer diarists post Monday evenings between 7:30-8:30 PM ET on topics related to living with cancer, which is very broadly defined to include physical, spiritual, emotional and cognitive aspects. Mindful of the controversies endemic to cancer prevention and treatment, we ask that both diarists and commenters keep an open mind regarding strategies for surviving cancer, whether based in traditional, Eastern, Western, allopathic or other medical practices. This is a club no one wants to join, in truth, and compassion will help us make it through the challenge together.
Please note the new TIME WINDOW for posting, namely 7:30-8:30 E(D)T. We've actually been in this pattern for a while, but mettle fatigue encouraged me to make it official by creating this great resource: KosAbility: Use-Ables: Ongoing Directory of Health-Medical&Related DK Groups Go take a look if you can; comments (& recs) still welcome.

I have a special announcement to make and favor to ask. My involvement with NN14 is heating up, since now it's just 9.5 weeks away. Plus, I have my daughter's graduation from high school on Monday, June 9th. Could you-all please think about taking a diary slot, so that all the burden doesn't fall on ZenTrainer? Though of course we know she'd be fun.
You're welcome to consider all Mondays available between now and July 21st. Just drop ZenTrainer or me a Kosmail to tell us when you can do it. We'll send you the very minor formatting guidelines. Many thanks in advance!

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