Linda Hammett

Posted by on Feb 21, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Linda Hammett

It was November 1999.
And my Mother said “You’re going to do WHAT???!!”
Walk 60 miles in 3 days in Boston with Barbara and Colleen.
“Really? Why?”
For you, Mom .
“Me ?? But Why?”
Well, I can’t cure you or heal you or make it go away…but I can fight and do what I can. I can raise money for research and outreach programs.
I can dedicate every step of every mile to helping some how some way to end this damn disease.

That was the beginning of 12 years and 25+ events of walking and crewing in support finding a cure, being there, doing what I can with what I’ve got.

There is, of course more to that beginning. When she was first diagnosed in 1993, it was decided to just remove the tumors and not much else. Needless to say, I was not pleased. In fact, 2 of her doctors actually tried to ban me from their offices and the hospital. Fat chance. I think the words they used were “she’s had a good life; she’s much older and why put her thru all that…” OK, so she was 84 but them were fightin’ words and this Texas Gal wasn’t about to back down. I think Springfield Missouri didn’t quite understand what they were getting into — at least those 2 so called doctors sure didn’t. Each trip Friday night 408 mile up to Springfield and 408 miles back to Dallas on Sunday night, I wondered if they would sic the highway patrol on me to keep me away. Eventually my sister (Susanne) and I talked Mom into deciding to move 1) to New Jersey with Susanne or 2) down to Texas with me to find a more receptive and aggressive medical response. That was probably her easiest decision…she was born in Texas so that was a no-brainer…she was ready to “come back home”.

Back to that 1999 discussion — Mom was actually thinking about “joining” me on that first walk. By that time, a total of 7 tumors had been removed and she was reaching the limits of her endurance. But all our discussions were about how she could get to Boston, where to stay, could she meet up with me on the route, what the logistics would be, who could be her “escort” while I was clocking and logging those 60 miles. And yes, we made plans and set all of it in motion. One of my sorority sisters would push her wheelchair and drive the van along the route, the hotels had handicap access rooms, the airline would accommodate us. Many of the details kept Mom busy and looking forward to “the event”. The walk was in June 2000. Alas, it was not to be-it was a very solo and emotional walk for me. Mom died peacefully, she let it all go on 16 Feb 2000.

Was I hurt-yes
Was I emotional at opening and closing-yes-still am
Was I missing my Mom — yes, every step of every mile of every day
Was it difficult-yes, but blisters don’t need chemo
Was I angry-beyond words
Did I do that 60 miles in joy and sadness and tears-still do

And then Seattle the next year I walked with Leslie
And the next year in Dallas on my motorcycle with MotoSafety Crew-all whopping 8 of us; 7 guys and me (yes, the walkers called us Snow White and the 7 dwarfs)
And the following years in Arizona, Dallas, San Diego, Tampa Bay—with Route Safety Crews
Even added Houston with Avon for the 2-Day walk on MotoSafety Crew in 2008-this will be the 5th year of that event. Been there for every one of them.

So why do I still continue?
Because breast cancer doesn’t take a day off
It doesn’t discriminate-man, woman, old, young, black, white, Asian, Native, Hispanic, ethnic background, economic status —
Maybe I can say it best by how I sign my message board posts ——

For all those who have gone before us, those present with us,
and the hope that one day there will be no one who needs to walk after us.

I look to the day when only 1 walk remains-that all of us walk one more time in celebration that breast cancer is only in the medical history books.

Donate to Linda Today!

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