On a beautiful, early autumn day last October, I attended a wedding in South Portland. The bride and groom, both early 20somethings, were beautiful, eager, in love, hopeful and grateful as they committed their lives to each other in front of their God and a few hundred of their closest family and friends. After a long day of celebrating, and a brief honeymoon, they settled into their new home to begin their life as husband and wife.
Just a few short months passed before these happy newlyweds were sent into a tailspin, their lives spiraling out of control with the news that the young husband had cancer, an awful, stage 4, aggressive cancer of “an unknown primary” that was spreading rapidly throughout his body. Their new married life became a new cancer-afflicted life of doctors, hospitals, scans, drugs, chemotherapy, pain and sadness.
I watch this story unravel – its downs and more recently some ups with good news of effective treatment – through the eyes of this young man’s mom, my good friend. Cancer is personal. Cancer has had an impact on every one of us, in one way or another. Cancer has changed our lives.
In just a couple of weeks, 1,100 women will be taking part in the fourth annual Tri for a Cure triathlon, because cancer has changed their lives in some way. Some of these women are athletes, some are survivors, some are friends, relatives, and co-workers of survivors, and others are simply supporters of a great cause. Meet Meghan Farrell, a 17-year-old girl from Scarborough, who will be participating in the event for the third time (see page 12). Farrell will be doing all three legs of the race herself for the first time this year. She likes watching all of the women cross the finish line – “it’s inspiring,” she says – and she likes raising money for a good cause.
Farrell and the other 1,099 women competing this year hope to add $1 million more to the $1 million that has been previously raised through this event to help the Maine Cancer Foundation continue its important, life-changing work here in Maine. All the money stays in Maine (see Diane Atwood’s story on page 10) and will be used in various ways to continue to improve the odds for all of us in our personal experiences with cancer.
If you have never been out to the Southern Maine Community College campus for a Tri for a Cure event, I urge you to go on July 31. You can find all the details about the event in this issue of Maine Women on page 6. I think if you go, in just a few short hours, you will be inspired – and your life may be changed, in a good way – because of cancer.
Thank you to everyone involved. We applaud you.
–Lee Hews, Publisher