When I was a kid, cancer seemed like a foreign subject – something rare and tragic. It wasn’t until it touched my own family that I realized the insidiousness of the disease… too often there are no symptoms of the chaos occurring at the cellular level until treatment is no longer an option. Quality screening and early treatment make survival a much more likely ending for each patient. But even though the U.S. is sixth in the world for cancer diagnoses, there is not nearly enough funding for research. So sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands, joining with others touched by the disease – which is what we did this past weekend when we took Addie to take part in the Tubbs Snowshoes Romp to Stomp Out Breast Cancer at Stratton Mountain in Vermont.
Breast cancer is just one of the many cancers that has touched my life directly. Both of my Aunt Debbies are survivors. One of our colleagues just passed away after a brave battle with the disease. The statistics are frightening – one in eight women will develop breast cancer. Just 13 years ago I titled my documentary film about breast cancer survivors racing in the Head of the Charles Regatta, “Nine,” after the then statistic that one in nine women would develop the disease.
Yet despite the statistics, things are moving in the right direction. Survival rates are on the upswing, due to better treatments, early screening, and increased awareness. All the more reason to continue supporting research!
Romp to Stomp was an amazing experience – I think Addie’s head was spinning from all the pink! As Tubbs Ambassadors, we arrived early to help with event setup. I was so excited to meet our fearless ambassador coordinator – Kelsey – and all the other folks from Tubbs. We also got to meet our other regional ambassadors, Martha and Rich!
After setup, Addie was enlisted as a junior ambassador to help hand out Tubbs bandanas, a job she relished. As she chased people down, cape flying behind her, I couldn’t help but smile. Here was my daughter surrounded by hundreds of people united by a common cause, including so many amazing survivors.
Before we romped on the 3k course, Addie competed in the Lil’ Romper Dash. She looked so cute at the starting line! The happy moment was short-lived – she tripped on another rompers feet just seconds into the race. As she slowly got up, tears in her eyes, she searched the crowd for her moms. It took a few seconds for us to reach her, give her kisses, and then walk with her to the finish line. I think we can safely rule out her running in snowshoes for at least a few years.
Location: Stratton Mountain, Stratton Mt., VT
Date: February 28, 2015
Distance: 2.36 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 348 feet
Our Hiking Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes roundtrip
Trail Blaze: Wooden signs
I worried Addie wouldn’t want to snowshoe after her fall, but she perked up and we set out on the course. The trails were beautiful!!! So different from the ones we typically hike. Tall, leafless maples, birch, and beech trees arched above our heads.
While we romped, we met lots of folks along the way, stopping to say hello, and even hiking with a lovely couple from Saratoga for the last mile or so. Poor Addie was so tuckered out from running around before the event, we ended up carrying her for portions of the hike. For the most part, her spirits stayed high. After she found a stick on the trail, she insisted we sing while she conducted.
By the time we crossed the finish line, Addie’s little legs were toast. We’d covered 2.36 miles and climbed a total of 692 feet in just over 90 minutes – a quick pace for a four-year old! I sat her down on a snow bank where she gulped down chocolate milk and a chocolate covered waffle from the stand at the base of the mountain. Recognizing she needed sleep, we packed up our gear, said our goodbyes, and started on the long drive home. Though we may not have individually made a huge dent in the fight, I’d like to think our snowshoes helped us move one step closer to a world without cancer.