Monday, May 30, 2011

A Special Memorial Day Version of Motivation Monday

When we were growing up, my younger sister and I have a large enough age difference between us, that when I was in Junior High I was old enough to babysit my eight year old sisters friends.  One of them, was Riky.  I used to love babysitting Riky because A. Her parents paid *really* well.  B.  Her parents were young (actually doing the math I'm quite sure they were about the age I am now)  and hip  and  her Dad, Mark would always let me listen to "my" radio station when he would pick me up and drop me off (the whole like four minute drive from their house to mine- but when you're thirteen that is just THE coolest)

Riky's Dad died of cancer earlier this year.  And, she recently did Relay For Life in honor of her dad, so they could raise money to Kick Cancer's Ass.

In Riky's own words,  here is her experience with Relay for Life

Riky Pictured on Far Left 

I'm lazy when it comes to working out. It's just my nature, can't help it. In high school I could eat whatever I wanted and be a twig. 10 years later I'm 30 pounds heavier, and yet somehow it doesn't kick in that I actually need to work for that I let it go. I have random spurts of motivation. A month on Weight Watchers, seven days of 90 minute workouts on the elliptical machine. Then once I get distracted it's a lost cause. 
I read the health magazines, I like knowing that my food has the words "Low Fat," but in my mind, that just means I can eat more of it, right? I'm the girl that watches The Biggest Loser and feels better watching other people work out. 
I think to get the motivation you need to make changes, the source has to hit you close to home. That's what happened when my dad called and said he had stage 4 lung cancer.
While my dad smoked a pack of day for forty years, he actually tried to stay healthy in other ways. He loved his daily walks. While he was sick, that was the one thing he missed. He just wanted to go for a walk. It inspired me. If he couldn't walk, I would. 
My boyfriend and I moved to Seattle 4 months before my dad was diagnosed in Chicago. Since I couldn't be with him everyday I wanted to do everything I could from where I was. I found a Relay For Life event in Seattle and from the minute I signed up, I was on a mission. For those who don't know, Relay For Life is an overnight walk put on by The American Cancer Society to eliminate cancer. 
When I started to train I started small. I would jog for 5 minutes, then walk for 30, five days in a row The next week I would run a mile, then walk 2 miles more. Anything I could do to build endurance. I heard the stair machine was the best for cardio, so I'd make myself step for 45 minutes straight. I would walk around my house moaning from being so sore. My body wasn't used to  this. But after awhile the pain started to feel good and no matter what I did, it wasn't enough to quit or slowdown. All the old excuses didn't matter anymore. There was no more getting bored with working out because this wasn't about me. 
Finished!  Riky Pictured in Green
My dad passed away two months ago. My relay was two days ago. I walked 13 hours and 26.25 miles in the footsteps of someone who wanted nothing more than to do just that. I have felt real pain, emotional and physical, and I now have enough motivation to last a lifetime. I want to work hard and stay healthy so no matter where he is, my dad is proud. I will walk in Relay For Life for years to come, and each year, I will walk harder and be stronger for my dad. It takes one moment to change your life, and that's all the motivation I need.

Riky's dad dying I think has affected me more than any other friend or acquaintances parent passing.  He was young-  younger than both of my parents, and Riky's blog chronicled the stages of letting go. It demonstrated in such a bittersweet way, that our parents, no matter how invincible we believe them to be, are also people with hopes and dreams, with successes and short comings, having the same anxieties and fears that we all do.  

So, on this Memorial Day, lets remember Mark and all the parents who have gone sooner than they should due to a bully called Cancer.  Riky's Relay For Life team is still accepting donations to Kick Some Cancer Ass.  If you feel moved to do so, you can follow the link below to donate to Relay For Life.


Jeannie said...

That's an inspiring story. Thankyou for sharing! Life is invaluable.