"Scariest thing I've done in a long time: submit my application to Dana-Farber to run Boston in 2012. I hope they like me as much as I like them!"
The quote above was my Facebook status from Tuesday. From the second I hit share, I recieved nothing but an outpouring of support. Those friends telling me how awesome I am, those wishing me luck and those asking me what's there not to like. Yet, despite the positive confirmation that I have found my "village", I have never been this nervous since college application times.
My friends know my story and they love me for it. They have seen the transformation as I reclaim my life with each mile that passes under my feet. They see the dedication that has been formed as I hang the awesome medals on my now full wall hanger. Heck, many of them are sick of seeing me in race shirt after race shirt. Yet how do we translate this on paper to showing people what it would mean to race for their cause.
A one page application is not much real estate to tell a committee how much cancer has touched my life. There is no place to write of the fears you have that one day your OBGYN will retire and you will be left without your security blanket. The doctor that was there for you the day they found abnormal results and insisted on a follow up. The doctor that calls you after every routine test to tell you that you are safe for another six months. Would they even understand that?
Would they understand the holes in your heart left by people taken to soon? How many funerals have been attended in the last ten years all a result from the same disease? Family members, family friends and even now before we hit 40, friends. It is not fair that a disease so common has not had a cure and that so many of us are without loved ones to share special occasions with. Am I selfish to want those people back? How on paper do you express the loss you feel when invitations come for special occasions and you know certain people will be missing from the simcha?
How on paper do you write of the success you have seen with chemo, radiation and removal of masses? Saving every message your grandmother sends you because you know that even in remission, it can still come back. Cheering extra hard for a friend crossing the finish line of a race cancer free. Trying not to focus on the scar on a friend's chest when they talk as to not remind them that cancer left a lasting reminder. Celebrating another friend's 30th birthday as it was the most important day as they have been cancer free for 3 years. These experiences and joys can't be expressed in 3200 characters or less. They become part of you and part of the reason you run when it hurts and when you want to quit. They didn't quit and they faced a much harder battle.
So how do you let a team of unknown people know how much it would mean to you to raise money for their cause? You don't. You submit your application, make your hopes and dreams public and hope that they like you as much as you like them.
Here's to hoping I get the honor to raise funds for Dana-Farber in 2012!