It was a cloudy morning in Hartford, Connecticut seven years ago. I was 19 years old, right in the middle of pledging my sorority. My pledge class was running late (as usual) as we piled into our pledge sister’s Chevy Suburban. We were tired, grumpy, and probably bickering as any group of seven girls would. Admittedly, the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk initially felt obligatory. It was one of several philanthropic events that we were required to take part in during the pledging process.
Having lost a grandmother to breast cancer three years prior, the real power of the event did not sink IN until we got there. Pink balloons, women with “Survivor” sashes, rousing tales of remission, and general excitement to support a cause that effects EVERY
woman person in some way. I left the event with a feeling of contentment and like I had honored my grandmother in a small way. I continued to walk each October until I finished school. When I moved back home I decided that I wanted to keep up the tradition.
I do not think it crazy to say that we all know someone who has fought breast cancer. Whether it is a grandmother, mother, sister, daughter, aunt, cousin or friend we know someone. That is because it is such a wide spread disease that does not seem to be letting up. Some may have their opinions about breast cancer research, but in my opinion every little bit helps. I do not care how we find cure I just care that we find one.
My grandmother, Onelia Alfonso, had her first battle with breast cancer when I was 12 years old. It was a struggle, but she beat it. When it returned three years later we were hopeful that she would go into remission again. The second bout proved to be too much for my grandmother and we lost her in November 2005. An obviously devastating blow to my entire family.
My grandmother had a kind heart and a loving spirit. Her smile was unforgettable and her immense love for her entire family was undeniable. Nana, as we called her, was my first love and one of the people whom taught me what unconditional love is.
Each year, in Onelia’s honor, my entire family walks. We walk in memory of Onelia. We walk because no one should lose a grandmother, mother, sister, daughter, aunt, cousin or friend to this disease. We walk in the hopes that one day there will be cure and there will be no need to walk anymore.
Breast cancer isn’t a women’s issue, it is a human issue. It is something that can effect every single one of us either directly or indirectly. I have a call to action for my fabulous readers. Donate to breast cancer research this month. It does not matter how you do it or how much you give. Every little bit may bring us closer to the cure!
Below are photos from the event and a brief video recap, check it out!