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Working in the cancer field I know the stats on how many people are affected by cancer each year. How many will be diagnosed. How many will die. What the stats don’t tell me is the heartbreak of a cancer diagnosis on a family, a colleague, or a community. Nothing can ever prepare you for a cancer diagnosis and nothing can ever ease the pain that goes along with its treatment or the loss of a loved one.

It’s what you do with that pain that is important. Some donate money to cancer research, some start foundations to help others, some raise awareness or volunteer for cancer-related causes, and some walk or run.I’ve done it all and on September 25th, I’m walking.

Sara and Jamie Cooper

Joining me in the walk is my colleague Jamie who is walking in memory of her sister Sara, who lost her battle with lymphoma at the age of 17. September 27th will mark the 10th anniversary of her family’s loss. Jamie and her family have chosen to mark the anniversary by gathering at the 5K to celebrate Sara’s life.

Learning Jamie’s story was bittersweet for me, as I too am walking for a Sara. My Sara was a beautiful young girl who taught me more about life and how to enjoy it then I could ever have imagined. Sara was just 3 years old when she was diagnosed with brain cancer. Sara waged a 10 year battle before passing away shortly after her 13th birthday. I carry Sara with me every day and in March her family and friends will also sadly see the 10th anniversary of her loss.

Sara, Jan's inspiration

Run or walk with us. I would love for you to share why you are running or walking? Is it in memory of or in honor of someone? Is it in support cancer prevention and early detection? Is it to reduce your cancer risk through exercise?

There is no wrong answer when you are participating in an event that could help save your life and the lives of thousands of other people.

Whether you’ve been personally touched by cancer or not, sign-up today to run or walk, or to help with the morning’s activities by volunteering.