As many of you know, I'm running my second marathon this year on 10-10-10 in Chicago. With around 10-days left before the race, I'm feeling excited and ready to reach my goal - but I need your help to get me to the finish line. As part of my goal, I wanted to use my marathon as a way to raise money to help someone in need whose story would serve as an inspiration to me as I challenge myself to running 26.2 miles. And as you'll see below, 30-year-old Becca Babcock who is in her 4th year of battling colon cancer, is the perfect inspiration.
I had the pleasure of meeting Becca in May of this year and was really moved by her plight. Becca is an open book with a courageous heart. She's a fighter who doesn't dwell in the "why me?" part of her continuing ordeal, but rather takes each step as it comes and finds a way to deal with what is being dealt. Despite the fact that she is facing such turmoil herself, she has found the time to volunteer with Imerman Angels in order to be a sounding board to others who are facing cancer. After posing for the 2008 "Colondar" she joined the board of directors for The Colon Club which tries to give young people diagnosed with colon cancer a community to find support, etc.
As Becca says in her own words: "I figure I can't have gone through all of this for nothing, if all I've have is my story and experience, then I'm speaking out and breaking down the 'scariness' and mystery of it. Cancer is a scary word. But COLON is damn near a taboo word. I just want people to get over that, and start talking about their guts more. Maybe I wouldn't be in such a position so young if it weren't such a taboo."
Here is just a part of Becca's story, scroll down to make your donation to help Becca.
"Exactly one full year apart. How much difference a year makes. On August 21, 2009 I weighed 92 pounds. I had to be pushed around in a wheelchair, my heart-rate was through the roof, my potassium way out of whack and truthfully, I could have croaked at any minute (I was trying to look cute in that photo...but I was pretty sickly). Fast forward to today, I have made it to THIRTY YEARS OLD and feeling good at a healthy 130 pounds. No more blood transfusions, potassium pills, or wheelchairs! I needed to take a moment to reflect on where I've been and where I am now. Appreciating how far I've come and how strong it has made me.
In August of 2009, I had been on chemotherapy for over a year. I was beginning to notice I was increasingly more exhausted than normal. Tasks such as walking from my room to the kitchen would cause my heart to race and pound wildly and I would often have to go lay back in bed after a few steps. I also noticed a continuous throbbing pounding sound in my ears. After several days of being too exhausted to walk up the 5 steps to my house, I called my doctor. He thought I may be dehydrated, it was the dead of August after all and I have a tendency to dehydrate easily because of the loss of my large intestine. I came in immediately to get a hydration IV drip. When I walked in, the look on the nurses faces said a lot. I had also lost over 20 pounds in literally less than 2 weeks. My skin was sallow and sunk in. I didn't realize how skeletal I looked at that moment. They ran many tests, and over the course of 3 days returning to the office for hydration they finally came to the conclusion that my liver had shut down. "Chemotherapy Induced Liver Toxicity." My liver had enough. They immediately stopped treatment and focused on letting my body heal. They also discovered my potassium levels were off, which was the cause of my dangerously fast-beating heart. With these levels, I was in immediate danger of my heart stopping. They stressed the importance to take it easy, not do anything, take potassium pills, get my hydration, and hope my liver kicks back in.
However, I had other plans. That same weekend, I was already set to take a road-trip down to Little Rock Arkansas for a fundraising awareness walk for Colon Cancer across a bridge. I had hotels booked and cars rented. I was determined to show up as a guest to the walk. Against my doctor, nurses, and mother's better judgment, I found a wheelchair and we made our way on the 12 hour drive. My mother (a nurse) delivered hydration IV drips to me while on the road in the car. My friends pushed my wheelchair across the bridge for the walk. I survived.
That photo was taken a day after arriving back from the walk. Within the next week my liver enzyme levels evened out, my potassium came back down, and I slowly started gaining weight. My appetite came back and I started packing on the pounds. Since that photo was taken over a year ago, I've gone 92 pounds to a much healthier 130."
However Becca's fight is far from over. Becca has tried many different surgical and medical therapies to eradicate the cancer from her body and has endured more than anyone should have to in their lifetime. But the cancer is still not gone and Becca's doctors recently told her she needs a Total Pelvic Exenteration. And yes, if you Google that it is just as awful as it sounds:
Exenteration is a major operation during which all the contents of a body cavity are removed. Pelvic exenteration refers to the removal of the pelvic organs and adjacent structures including the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix and bladder. Pelvic exenteration is performed to surgically remove cancer that involves these organs and that has not responded well to other types of treatment.
After hearing this, Becca wrote the following note to the friends, family and supporters in her life - click here to read. I hope that after reading this, you be as moved as I was and will join me in donating just $10 to help Becca. If we can get 1,000 people to donate just $10 then we can raise $10,000 in honor of 10-10-10 so that the Foundation for Community Betterment can donate the money to Becca to help her financial struggles as she embarks on one of the toughest chapters in her life.
Many thanks to all of you for sending your positive energy and small financial support - when added together we can make a big impact!
Molly Conway, Foundation for Community Betterment National Board Member