Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Our Lucky Penny.

A few words about Penny Kellam (on the left) leader of the Kindred Spirits team. She is unfailingly positive and courteous to all of us, and freely shares advice born of many years of doing this walk. Probably because of what she has been through, she is grace itself. And her team would follow her anywhere. This is her 13th walk.

Each person's motivation for walking is different, and on her own donation site she describes two defining moments that changed her forever:

"In my own life I’ve experienced this shift twice. The first time was when I heard the words 'You have cancer,' followed closely by 'with a 24% chance of survival.' I was 33 with two young teenage sons at home. I wasn’t ready to leave them. But I was incredibly lucky. Early detection and aggressive treatment quite literally saved my life. I was able to watch my sons grow up into amazing young men. But my world shifted. You simply can’t be told your world may be ending without something changing. My eyes were opened not only to what was really important to me – my family and friends – but also to how fortunate I was to have access to the treatments that saved my life. My outcome could have so very easily been different. It is different for tens of thousands in this country alone every single year. "

The second time my world shifted was December 28, 2005 when I learned that my oldest son Sean had died in a traffic accident on his way home from work. He was 22. Once again my world shifted. Learning to live without Sean just a phone call away has been a challenge beyond all explanation. I wouldn’t wish it on my very worst enemy and it’s a challenge no family should ever have to face…ever.

So why am I sharing these very personal stories with you? Because these shifts in my world are why I am committed to doing everything I can to help stop the monster we call cancer. No family should ever have to experience the death of a loved one from this monster - especially when the cure is just around the corner. It’s that motivation that brings me back to the Seattle Breast Cancer 3 Day. Before the sixty mile weekend walk in September I’ll spend countless hours walking in preparation, countless hours mentoring my teammates and countless hours talking to anyone that will listen about early cancer detection, regular checkups, etc. None of this will bring Sean back but it might save another family from losing someone so precious to them...someone that could be saved."

The last thing to tell you about Penny is that she set this year's Kindred Spirits team goal at $500,000. Two and a half weeks before the walk, you can access the Seattle 3 Day Site and see that the #1 Team fundraiser is Kindred Spirits . We know that a number of matching gifts are not yet registered to the site, so I would guess we are close to $300,000 at this point.

I am less than $5,000 from my goal of $25,000, but others on the team who have trained hard are struggling on the fundraising side. If you haven't donated yet, please take the time to google the Seattle 3 Day Walk site, then search for "Kindred Spirits." You can see just which members of the team could still use a donation. Pick someone to sponsor. If you can't think of someone you wish to remember or honor when you make your gift, why not indicate "In honor of Our Lucky Penny?"

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