Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Couch to 5k...

Many of you know that I have an article in the current issue of I Am Modern magazine... You can find it here: When I sat down to write the article, I sent the following version off... to which one of the editors sweetly replied, "Back to the drawing board." Ha! "This, my dear, is a news article, not a blog about you." I'm so glad I had someone to lean on, because this was a rambling mess... as are most of my blogs.:)

I wanted to post my first stab at the article anyway and invite anyone and everyone to join me for the Cherry Blossom 5k on October 10th in Leesburg. I was touched by this story and running in this race is the least I can do. Yes, I said run. I'm alive and well and grateful that I can run... And stories like this make me realize all that I have to be thankful for. Wish me luck. I'm officially registered and it's a done deal. Now does anyone have some lube for my thighs?

When I was contacted and asked to write a story for I Am Modern, I was so excited. But then I realized that I haven’t written a serious piece of journalism since I wrote for my high school newspaper over a decade ago. I immediately started freaking out and googling what a human interest story was and anything I could find out about the man I was set to interview, the prestigious Jim Atkins.

In less than ten minutes, I was completely at ease and realized that this story could practically write itself. Since the internet makes privacy a thing of the past, not only was I able to learn about how Mr. Atkins works hard to bring awareness to breast cancer, but I was also able to relate to this man because it’s as if I was about to interview my husband. Both men are passionate aviators and Mr. Atkins struck a chord with me. If my husband is able to come close to honoring me the way Mr. Atkins has honored his wife, then no matter how short my life is, it had purpose.

Immediately after sitting down with Mr. Atkins, I could sense that he had spoken enough about himself and wanted to dive right into his real passion- the fight against breast cancer. He is the founder of the Cherry Blossom Breast Cancer Foundation formed in memory of his late wife Cheryl Clayton Atkins, “The Cherry Blossom.” He spoke tenderly about his wife- about how she was always smiling, about her long, beautiful blonde hair, about how he convinced her to marry him, and about how she missed a mammogram at the age of 44. His voice quivered a bit, and then he quickly corrected his statement to “we” missed a mammogram. His wife didn’t go without a fight and in her last few days spoke with her husband about doing something to continue her wage against breast cancer, and as a man of his word, he has more than followed through.

Eventhough Mrs. Atkins lost her battle, her husband has continued the war against breast cancer and is focusing his efforts on making a concentrated difference locally. Up to 80% of the foundation’s grants go directly towards Fauquier and Loudoun nonprofits. They aim to help local women and men with a mission to help detect, treat, educate, and eliminate breast cancer. Jim spoke passionately about the importance of having a direct impact and how it can be so rewarding. For example, a small donation to the Loudoun Community Health Center was able to provide 350 women with mammograms. He spoke of being able to provide prescription assistance for local women, and about educating minorities about the importance of detection and treatment.

The Cherry Blossom Breast Cancer Foundation is well on its way of raising over $500,000 annually and will be holding three simultaneous 5K runs on Sunday, October 10, 2010 in Middleburg, Warrenton, and Leesburg. Opportunities for sponsorships exist and anyone can register to be a participant. Log on to for more information and to help make a difference in our area. As the organization states, “We are determined. We are focused. We are sure that the battle can be won. We ask for your support.” Shoulder to shoulder, this can be done as a community.

I know that I for one will be at this walk making a difference. I will proudly walk alongside my husband and not take our moments together for granted. And I hope that one day he speaks of me as his love that was happy, radiant, cheerful, and always smiling, just like a “Cherry Blossom.”

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