About this same time last year I wrote a story about a boy and girl in love. It’s the quintessential story we envision our lives to be; filled with love, children, happiness, and that little sliver of what makes us … us. It’s a Wednesday night and I can’t stop thinking about that story. I can’t stop thinking about it to the point that I have tears clinging to my eyelashes like dew on morning grass.
What’s brought me these tears, these tiny misting tears of happiness, is that there is a little blonde head, filled with hair, blocking my view of a cirque du soliel show. And as I sit here, craning my neck left and right, shifting in my seat so I can get a better view of the performance, her little blonde head keeps capturing my eyes and hence my thoughts. The thing is, last year that little blonde head was as smooth and hairless as the day she was born. Many people, myself included, were scared we might lose someone who brings joy to everyone around her. As the show goes on, that little blonde head bobbing and weaving in and out of my sight, I am amazed at how much the news of her cancer affected me just under 2 years ago. The fear, the concern, the ability to do … nothing. It wasn’t a problem I could solve; it was emasculating and on a very self-aware level understood I had been exposed to something that would forever change me and how I view the world.
So on that Wednesday night, July 25th, 2012, I let those feelings wash over me; as Morrie said “feel, and feel deeply”. It was a special night for a single reason … earlier that day she had been told her treatment was a success and she was cancer free. To someone who has lived under the fear of disease for years there is no greater joy you can experience than to hear you are cured.
Most of us can’t understand that feeling; so let’s try a thinking exercise instead:
- Ever go to the hospital every week?
- Ever have needles shoved into you so much you wear the bruises like a permanent tattoo?
- Ever wear a tube hanging out of your chest?
- Ever had your breasts removed?
- Ever willingly ingested pills derived from chemical weapons in the hope you can save yourself?
- Ever sit by a toilet and read a magazine while you wait for the vomiting to start?
- Ever live everyday knowing that if you put four women like yourself in a room one of you is certainly going to die?
Now do all those things then look me in the eye and tell me you’re going to be OK… and mean it.
I do not know how she has done it. I really don’t; I would have given up long ago and I can be exasperatingly stubborn at times. Despite all she had been through here she was, sitting in front of me, watching a cirque du soliel show with me. Through all that, she made it. She’s the bravest person I’ve ever met. And the kindest. When I woke up from my surgery, exactly three months ago to that day, you know who was there to greet me? Dana and my mom. I remember when they walked into the recovery room I burst into tears. I’ll lay claim that my mood was affected by the sedatives, the pain medication, and all the other wonderful accoutrement from the surgery but honestly, it was because I was scared. I was so happy to see a face I knew, someone who I knew was there for me, and when I think of Dana I will always think of someone who was there for me.
After the show ended that Wednesday night in the city of glitz and glamour, we all said our goodbyes, and I went off in search of a glass of wine at a piano bar; somewhere to sit down, sip a glass of wine, and ponder how I would convey this story to all the people who supported me when I walked with Dana last year in the 3-Day. That night in Vegas I went to bed happy.
Then one day later… the happiness ended. I got a text message sometime that next morning, I want to say it was about 11 o’clock or so, and when I read it my heart sunk.
I have had a few moments in my life when my brain just stops. Where it gets such a jolt that it feels like it needs a reboot just to get cognitive thought working again. Just last night I was reveling in the thought that my friend was here, safe, the cancer gone, and now this. And after my head cleared from her message I did the only thing I could think of – I got down on my knees at the edge of the bed and I said a prayer. I’m somewhat ashamed to admit it wasn’t much of a prayer; it would be more honest for me to label it as a tirade. The message I sent God: “Why are you making this good, loving, caring person suffer? I’ve got my own struggles right now, and I’m willing to take on more pain myself, if you’d just kind of back off on Dana a bit you know? Let me have whatever pain, anguish, and struggle she has if it would spare her some. Hasn’t she shown you she can be strong? Hasn’t she overcome enough?”. That might have been too blunt but I figure God is a busy guy and he’d appreciate me being direct and to the point.
Last year I hobbled 60 miles with an 8mm protrusion from a ruptured disc grinding against the sciatic nerve in my back like a hack saw (well, to be honest not quite 60 but I gave a damn good account of myself in my opinion) to support Dana. And as I walked I shared in the experiences of other women and at the end of it realized in my own little corner of the world there is Dana, but in the world at large there are many, many other people affected by breast cancer.
“I remember one lady I talked to – her younger sister became sick, was diagnosed with breast cancer, so the doctor recommended her other sisters get tested. The middle sister, the one I was walking with, tested negative. The older sister… tested positive. Within a year this lady had lost both of her sisters to breast cancer. “
“I noticed this lady limping along as I was. One of the other walkers, who was in good health, approached her and asked if she was alright. The limping lady responded by saying she was trying to make her way up to the top of the hill because her family, and most importantly her daughters, were waiting for her at the cheering station not far ahead. With an exasperated sigh, she commented on how important it was to show her daughters how to be strong, how to overcome challenges… how to live. And so the lady who was in good health grabbed the limping lady’s arm, draped it across her shoulders, and said to her “Girl, how about we get up this hill together?”
There are millions of other women with similar experiences. Just a couple weeks ago I was in Vancouver for business and a cute brunette waitress at dinner one night had a little pink ribbon tattoo on her ankle. I inquired about it and she told us the story of how she lost her aunt to breast cancer when she was 11. That’s a lifetime of love… lost.
After talking to the waitress, I realized maybe God did answer my prayers after all. Dana is still here. Dana is still struggling. And Dana is still walking. And I will still walk with her.
So that leads me to the point of this post – last year we raised over $4,000 in less than a day. I want to do the same this year, and to do that, I need your help. I had about 20 or so people donate to me last year and I am so grateful to them I wish there was a way to bundle this emotion of gratitude up and pass it back to them in a box with a little pink bow. I’m sure they felt it when they supported Dana and I, but I feel it times twenty – for those who didn’t donate last year, if you need a reference to describe it let me know – I’ll get you in touch with someone who gave me over a thousand dollars in a single donation and called me to tell me they were proud to know a man who would support a friend in need … and they’ll tell you what I’m telling you right now – it’s worth the money.
Now that you’ve read my tale I hope you feel something in your heart, and if you do, what I’m asking is this:
1) If you donated last year, and wish to donate again this year, I won’t stop you – in fact I’ll be incredibly grateful – but what I really need is for you to send a link to this post out to your family, your friends, and help spread this message. Everyone is on social media now, this should be easy – Twitter this, Facebook this, spread the message. I mean, my Facebook wall is always covered with friends posting heart touching posts about saving animals and stuff; all I’m asking is you post a link to http://danielfrye.com and tell your circle of friends you know this guy who’s passionate about saving boobs, and he needs their help.
Here’s the link to donate and here’s a music video to put you in the right frame of mind while you do it. Turn up the music and when people come by asking what that garish noise is, tell them what a great thing you did to support someone you don’t even know.
2) If you didn’t donate last year because we had never met, or maybe because you couldn’t quite get over the burden of procrastination, then this is your chance to do something good … and if you’re a woman do it for yourself. Any amount helps. I’m pledging $500 like I did last year, and I’ll pay the entire $2300 out of my own pocket if I have to, so don’t feel obligated, just feel lazy.
Again, here’s the link to donate and here’s a music video to put you in the right frame of mind while you do it. Like I said, turn up the music, turn it all the way up, and when people come by asking what that garish noise is, tell them what a great thing you did to support someone you don’t even know.
So in closing, I have two last things to say:
- My message this year is much more emotional to me than last year; I guess maybe that’s because it’s been a long road and I just want her to get better and put all this behind us.
- Or maybe it’s because being single now makes me realize how precious a girls boobs are. So to all the male’s reading this … think boobs. And go get your wallet. Then give your wife, girlfriend, or daughter a kiss on the cheek and tell her what you did to save her… because there’s a one in eight chance you’ll be walking one day for her.