Yep, we got all kinds of fancy this weekend in the Southwest, supporting Colleen’s Dream, and of course, Brittany! I’ve had a difficult time finding the words to express all that was this weekend, for many reasons. Maybe it’s because I’m tired, maybe it’s because it was overwhelming, or maybe because things were different this time when I flew into PHX…I haven’t quite been able to put my finger on it, but I thought I’d go ahead and try…sometimes when I start to type it gets a little easier.
So many wonderful things happened this weekend, the first being that the three of us were back together again, which in and of itself is more than worth it, oh, and we let the boys come this time too 😉 ! Not knowing how we all would feel, but being the Type A personality that I am, I did a bit of research to see what we could do, if we thought we had enough time to do everything. We ended up deciding on one hike, Camelback and spent the remainder of our free time hanging out, low-key, eating and taking in the Scottsdale area – ummm, if you live in Scottsdale or the surrounding areas, consider yourself lucky…your restaurants are top notch AND there are so many healthy/organic options that we’re missing!
All three of us (Mandi, Brittany and myself) had been looking forward to the gala, because let’s be honest, there aren’t many times we get all dolled up. Shoot, I can’t remember the last time I purchased a formal dress, it was fun! All three of us had a bit of anxiety about the whole thing for one reason or another as well – one of us was speaking, all of us were going to an event that leaves it a bit difficult to pretend our situation isn’t what it is, there’s really no turning a blind-eye when you’re in a room of 650 people supporting an organization whose sole focus is ovarian cancer. Let’s just say that I was a wee bit sweaty (there you have it folks, I sweat when I get nervous/anxious), and when you’re in an off the shoulder, cap-sleeved dress, there’s really no hiding it when hugging someone!
For those of you reading this (the majority), who were unable to attend the event in person, I have the video of Brittany speaking posted on my FB pages, both personal and Kick Ovarian Cancer’s. I couldn’t have been more proud of my friend, she did something very brave, very outside of her comfort zone, very well – she was honest, raw, and poised. Mandi and I had both read her speech prior and were aware of what she was going to say, and what was to come, but I soon found that didn’t make it any easier to hear the words spoken. You see, for someone who rarely sheds a tear in front of people (we all do it, we keep it behind closed doors, so you don’t see us), when they breakdown, you breakdown. And hearing the words “chemo will only buy me time…not cure this disease…”, it’s reality hitting you smack dab in the face (Brittany is currently participating in a trial treatment program, which we hope will turn this whole thing around). If you were sitting anywhere near our table of 12, all you heard were sniffles, ruffling for tissues or the cloth napkin. Deep down, I think we all wanted to be strong for her, but sometimes that’s just not possible. Brittany represented all women effected by ovarian cancer better than anyone could have, and what was to follow, was simply amazing.
The remainder of the night went like this. The live auction raised some major funds, the fund a need portion left all of us in a state of shock – for a type of cancer that we feel like gets the back burner most of the time, the people in the room raised their paddles for us…to the tune of $280,000 — yes, you read that correctly. The live auction and fund a need raised $280,000 – enough money to fund the remaining amount needed for 10 women to start a trial with tgen, focusing on an extremely aggressive form of ovarian cancer that most often affects girls and young women (SMARCA4 gene mutation). We also laughed, danced, made silly videos and took some serious photos – just like everyone else at the event. Here’s the thing, I think we actually showed everyone in the room what you think an ovarian cancer survivor should look like, isn’t necessarily the case – as you can see in the photo, and this isn’t all of us young ones at the event.
And the next day, we put on our regular attire – athleisure, as many call it – and made our way to the top of Camelback! Why do we do these things – why not?!? Nothing’s stopping us from living, nothing’s holding us back from doing things everyone should be doing – we’re all purposefully living this one life we’ve been given. Hmmm, think about that for a second, are you doing the same?? If not, what’s your excuse, why aren’t you, and what can you change to make sure you’re not missing out on things that could be setting you free, making you more alive?
A huge thank you to the Drury and Cundiff families for all that you do to support research for ovarian cancer treatments and early detection testing. THANK YOU to all of you in the room raising your paddles on Saturday evening – I personally know two women who hope to qualify for this trial, we’ve got our fingers crossed they do. THANK YOU to those of you who are spreading awareness every day on behalf of those of who are fighting/surviving/thriving through this thing called ovarian cancer – it’s hard, it’s not fun, and it’s time for more of us to have a fighting chance!