Here we are coming into Memorial Stadium for 2007 closing ceremonies. You can recognize the Kindred Spirits team at 100 strong by the pink thunder sticks we are waving over our heads. Penny Kellam has led this team for several years and has completed 8 walks, after recovering from both cervical and uterine cancer diagnoses in 1998. She will do both the Seattle and the San Diego walks this year. Here's an excerpt from her diary, the easiest way to show why she is our leader.
"The understanding of what I had almost lost to cancer came to me on the top of a nearly deserted ski run a couple seasons ago. It was a cold, clear morning - the first time I'd been able to get back to the mountain since my surgeries. I stood on top of the run looking across the valley to the mountains. The sun was shining, the wind was calm and I was one of the first to come down this particular run. It was one of those moments of perfect calm that don't happen nearly enough. Looking around it came to me in a rush just how fortunate I was to be standing there. I had been given a second chance on life. Suddenly the things that are really important to me came into clear focus - my family, friends and the opportunity to experience every single thing that makes up our life. This moment of clarity continues to impact the decisions I make every day. I share this experience with you because the only reason I was able to stand on top of that mountain was the early detection and quick treatment of my cancers. Without that the cancers would have spread and my choices would have been much more limited. Early detection quite literally saved my life. I want everyone to have the same opportunity to be screened and treated if necessary. Screening is so important and unfortunately not nearly as accessible as it needs to be."
Penny's invited us to a kickoff walk on SuperBowl Sunday and just posted up the training schedule for 2008. Seeing everyone early in February is a great way to cement us together, recommitting to the basis for this walk: to find a cure for breast cancer and, until we do, to keep raising monies for early screening, detection and research.