Keri's Breast Cancer Story: Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk
My name is Doug Haberstroh, and this is the story of my wife Keri. Shortly after we were married, Keri was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was only 25 years old. It was her wish to share her story with the world.
A few days before the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in October 2005, Keri was approached by the Community Chair who asked Keri to be the "Honorary Community Chair." Keri was so touched and happy to be a part of such a great cause.
Subject: The Walk
Sent: Wednesday, October 26, 2005 12:39 PM
I thought it would be nice to let you all know what a wonderful experience I had this past weekend at the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. First of all though I would like to thank you all once again for donating towards our walk.
Now for my story of how things went... I have learned a big lesson through all this and that is to be careful of what you post on the Internet. It seems that I was the only registered person who imported a personal picture onto the web link. This was noticed by the Community Chair person that was in charge of the event. I was contacted by him a couple of days before the walk.
He told me that looking at my picture and seeing my great big smile inspired him. He said he thought my picture showed what a positive attitude I had and what great strength I had for fighting this disease. I was flattered. He also told me that Doug and I as individuals had raised the second largest amount of donations through our web page.
Of course there were also teams that were registered, but he was talking about the individuals category. Anyway he said that because he was so inspired by our picture they wanted to honor me at the walk. I was curious as to what that meant. He said they wanted to make me "honorary chair member" for the walk. I knew this position would have some sort of duties attached to it, but I was very excited and overwhelmed with flattery. I told him I would do it and asked what it involved.
He told me that they would like me to simply share my story of what I've been through to everyone there and that they would love for me to lead the walk. At this point I was pacing our house while talking to him on the phone because I couldn't sit still with all my excitement. I already felt honored just with the idea of it all. So when we got there Saturday to sign in, it seemed that many people already knew who we were and were very excited to see us. I was told around what time I would be speaking my part and to just stick around the front of the crowd.
There was a banner similar to ones used in parades that they were having all the survivors put their handprints on. So I added my small handprint.
Shortly thereafter the program began. There were some speakers at the beginning talking about the sponsors and the workers of the event. Then came my turn. I was so nervous. But they said just to share what I was comfortable with sharing. So I told a short and sweet version of my journey through chemo, hospital visits, surgery, and chemo again. I was doing very well which surprised me. I was speaking loud enough for everyone to hear and I was not having trouble finding anything to say.
At this point I went on to tell about the support that I have been given by family and friends starting with my basket that has my collection of all the cards that have been sent to me since I was diagnosed. This is when I broke and began to cry. I guess talking about all the support really makes you think about how much it has helped you get through things and keep that positive attitude and it all hit me at once.
I regained my composure and finished my story. They presented me with pink roses and a feather boa to wear while I walked. Doug took our camcorder with us and recorded my speech, and I wish I could send it to you all, but we are having a little difficulty getting it on the computer to send as an email attachment. Seems I talked long enough for the file to be really big and hard to send.
As for leading the walk... the banner with the handprints was used like in a parade and I held onto one side of the banner and we started under an arch of pink balloons. There was a long time survivor holding the other side of the banner and we lead the walk carrying the banner once around the track. Then got rid of it and I continued on for the rest of the mileage.
I'm sorry this is so long, but I want to tell you all everything about the day. After the walk, we just mingled with others until they were going to make the final remarks regarding the amount of donations total received. During this time I had many people that introduced themselves to me and told me what a great story and how they knew I would make it through all this.
It was so nice to meet so many people that didn't know me but were in support of the cause and me. We even saw a nurse that was one of the ones that gave me one of my tests when I went into the hospital for my bad drug reaction and she said it was so good to see me looking much better than the day I arrived in the hospital. I was so glad she got to see me remotely well feeling.
They announced the total donations being more than $33,000 and our part was a little over $1200. There were pictures taken and one is supposed to be their poster picture for 2005. I'm not sure what that means, but I hope someone lets me know. We took our own pictures and I'm going to attach one to this email. I'm pretty sure you'll be able to find me in it.
The turn out was not bad. There were about 75-100 people there, which aren't a whole lot, but enough to make it look like a crowd when you are making a speech. All in all the day was great and I came away with a wonderful experience and such a positive attitude high. It will be something that I will never forget. My small town super star morning.
Thank you all so much for your part in this experience. I was thinking about so many people that morning. I'll close this out now that I have once again written a novel sized email. I just wanted to share with you my experience.
Love to you all,