Of Moose and Mammaries


October 20th is fast approaching. What is so important about October 20th you ask? Well, that is the day of the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Nashville. And October 20th is the fifth appearance of Team Moose in the walk.

What on earth is Team Moose? Team Moose is a varied and wonderful collection of my friends, family, and perfect strangers that walk with me each year to help raise money to find a cure for breast cancer and to fund programs that support victims and survivors.

I’m not normally a “do-gooder” kind of gal. But this event was important to my Mom. She was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in her early forties. She had a double mastectomy that removed most of her lymph nodes. This resulted in extensive reconstruction that caused some issues with her upper body strength, range of motion, and self image that she fought until the day she died. Breast cancer had a tremendous impact on my mother’s life. It is nasty, nasty business.

Some wonderful ladies  visited her in the hospital while she was recovering. They were breast cancer survivors . They understood. And they sat and talked with her and helped her in a way that no one else could have. Those ladies walked in the Making Strides Event. It was that unsolicited show of solidarity and understanding from perfect strangers that made my Mom want to walk in this event too. She walked every year she was able.

The last year she lived, she made a point to walk every inch of the five miles despite some pretty serious arthritis in her hip. She wore her Survivor ribbon. We laughed and joked. We enjoyed a beautiful morning. And I was so very proud of her.

Six months later she succumbed to stage four lung cancer.

Mom’s breast cancer had an impact on everyone close to her, including me. So a few years after she passed, I finally put myself back together. I decided that since she couldn’t walk, I was going to. I would be her feet. Because I am still so very proud of her. Team Moose, named after my brave, eclectic, wonderful mother and friend, was born.

Yes, it was named after her. And no, I can not post on the world wide web why it is named Moose. It is an inside joke. If I told you, assuming I make it there, she would commit the first murder in heaven. But I know she is watching and I think she probably appreciates the joke.

This is the fifth year that Team Moose has donned pink feather boas, pink Mardi Gras beads, pink feather pimp hats, antlers, and various other crazy things and taken part in the Making Strides event. And in keeping with the spirit of that last walk with my Mom, we laugh and joke and enjoy the beautiful morning. It is a celebration of the lives taken from us. It is show of support for those that remain to fight.

Mooooooooooooosssssssssseeeeee!

I walk for my Mom and my Aunt Jan. Everyone who walks with Team Moose walks for someone close to their hearts. They walk for mothers, sisters, friends, daughters, aunts, nieces, and grandmothers.

Special Thanks to all of the folks who have walked with Team Moose over the past 5 years listed in no particular order:
Terry Trapp, Rusty Miles, Alisa Adkins, Claudia Rodriguez, Noelle Fenske, Cheryl Hunter-Grah, Richard Fuller, Carrie Thornton, Alina Hunter-Grah, Steve Hammer, Dovie Mae Pearson, A.J. Pearson, Laura Brugeman, Rebecca Hagler, Shelby Davis, Ms. Elizabeth, Cameron Hammer, and Quinten Hammer.

And of course thanks to all of the folks who have donated on behalf of Team Moose.

Most of us know someone who has battled breast cancer. I bet you have someone to walk for too.

So please mark October 20th on your calendar and join me and a few other crazy folks to raise money and celebrate the beautiful lives and spirits of the women we know that have battled this terrible disease. We will congregate in the back corner of the A parking lot of LP field and go from there.

If you can’t walk with us…please donate some money. If you can walk with us…please donate some money. Every dollar counts. You can donate and sign up to walk at http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR?team_id=1234166&fr_id=47454&pg=team. You can also send an invite to everyone you know on Facebook at this link: Team Moose Facebook Event

Let’s help beat this thing.

If a sappy story about my Mom doesn’t convince you to embrace your inner do-gooder I will tempt you with something else. Beer. Some members of Team Moose stop by the Gerst Haus after the walk to continue the celebration, indulge in fattening German food, and rest our aching feet amongst friends. Some of us partake in the wonderful goodness that is Gerst beer and feed the kids applesauce covered potato cakes.

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