"And I sat where they sat, and
remained there astonished among them"
"Dad, then why don't we just send the money? That way, we
don't have to run." My 8-years old son asked on our way
home after Race for the Cure of breast cancer event on May
7, 2005 in Boise, Idaho.
"Son, when we care, we give what we have earned. When we
love, we offer that and ourselves. We run, walk or cry
with those we love, when they hurt. Our presence and
participation in the race is the beginning of the healing
process for many. Those who are grieving the life of a
loved one, that has been claimed by cancer, know there is
someone racing with them."
Later in the day I wondered, "How could I be so deep
responding to a third grade student's simple question?"
Maybe it was the rain. We braved the rainy morning and
ran/walked with about ten thousand people.
promised myself to be back, and this time
with a team. My team's name was Blessed Beyond. One member
was a survivor of another form of cancer. My whole family,
less my daughter in college in another state, was part of
If you have never participated in this Susan Komen-Race
for the Cure occasion, my writing will do you no good.
There are life experiences that are better pondered in a
participant's heart. Think of seeing a woman running and
you read the back of her tank-top (message couldn't fit on
a placard)--In Memory of my Mom. I miss you. I have
survived. I do survive. I will survive.
How do you stay strong when you see a man in his forties
running in memory of his mother, aunt and surviving
sisters? You see a grandma, with a placard written, "In
memory of my daughter," holding her three or four years
old granddaughter whose placard reads, "In memory of my
Mom." On the grandmother's back there is another line,
"Thank God I have survived."
There is an image I am unable to force out of my mind.
It�s of a gray haired man who was running, if you can
classify limping here and there as running and walking. He
seemed to be in great pain. He was there for many women,
relatives, friends and colleagues, some had died from
cancer and others are either surviving or undergoing
Cancer, the disease that knows no tribal, racial or
religious boundaries, strangely has grouped us into those
who have suffered from it and those that have not yet.
Those in the not-yet category know a relative or friend in
the first group. We are literally fighting a common
enemy. An enemy that is attacking mothers, daughters,
fathers, neighbors and teachers.
As a child of a uterine cancer survivor, I know what it
means to be called by your mother to prepare you on how to
take care of your sibling should the enemy have the last
word. That moment, when you hear the possible days given
for your mother to be alive by doctors, your own days lose
their meaning. A part of you dies from a cancer affecting
someone else. That's the moment when you could race all
In the race of our loved ones lives, the little we can
offer is racing with them and for them. We race with the
hope that soon we will see fewer pink T-shirts (survivors
color), and if possible a lesser number of placards with
the inscription, "In Memory of"
Galatians 6:9, we read, And let us not be weary in well
doing: for in due season we shall
reap, if we faint not. Next year, by the grace of God,
you can count on the Blessed Beyond Team.
Dr. Vincent Muli Kituku can be reached at