By Sue Falco
My list for why I get my rear in gear gets longer each and everyday. I am not only fortunate enough to do it for my family, my children and myself, but for every story I’ve ever heard about someone battling colorectal cancer. I do it to help prevent others from having to tell the tale of a loved one lost to a very preventable and curable cancer. There are many children who have lost their parents or grandparents that never had a chance to meet their grandchildren because the disease took them too soon.
A few weeks back I was lucky enough to attend a party for a dear friend celebrating her 10 year stage IV battle with colorectal cancer. Along side her stood her best friend who is battling stage IV colorectal cancer. Yes, they met before either one of them got cancer. They are two of the most amazing women I’ve ever met. I admire their strength, belief in miracles and the hope they give others. I get my rear in gear for them everyday…I truly do not know how I would have fought their very battles. What is so amazing is that even at completely different ends of the battle they were both their for one reason…celebrating life!!!!
The party was themed “Survivor” and the team captains were those that had survived colorectal cancer of which I was a team captain. Our first team exercise was to search for our team’s boxes while blindfolded and stack them in an order that created the Get Your Rear in Gear logo. Here were a bunch of grown adults crawling around on the ground blindly searching for pieces to the puzzle, relying on others for guidance and inspiration, hoping this small part of their life would be over soon, not worrying what they looked like to the other fifty or so onlookers/party goers, their hearts were fixated on the goal. Hmmmm where have I experience that before?
It was amazing to see how different participants reacted to the difficulty of the task…some asked for help while others stayed silent and became frustrated at the lack of control and knowledge they had to solve the problem. Those that seemed to thrive regardless of their winnings were the players that hoped for the best, had faith that they would succeed and enjoyed the game regardless of how it played out. Lucky for me I was not one of the team members crawling around on the ground…my blind search for answers began 3 ½ years ago.
From the day I was given my first survivor challenge I have enjoyed the journey. I chose to tell my story, I chose to make a difference and I chose to get my rear in gear and change the game for others!!!! Funds raised from the first annual Get Your Rear in Gear 5k in Charlotte allowed us to fund the first ever Colorectal Cancer Support Group in our area…I am so honored to know that our amazing community of participants, volunteers, survivors, family and friends were able to give this gift back to our community to make the game of “Survivor” a little more enjoyable and a lot less lonely.