Sunday, May 31, 2009

Race For The Cure! :-)

*warning...long story, but REALLY worth it! So get your cup of coffee, settle in, and enjoy! (lots of fun pics at end of entry)

I woke up yesterday morning around 7:00 and went through my usual routine. Turned on the tv, fed the dogs, and made myself some tea. As usual, I had the channel 4 action news turned on (they are my favorite) and I listened while I busied myself in the kitchen. I heard the news reporter say that he was broadcasting from downtown Detroit where "Race For the Cure" was taking place that morning. What?!! Race For the Cure?? I had heard of the "Three Day Breast Cancer Walk" but didn't even know that today's race was going on. How could that be?? I've been sitting in chemo now every week for 10 weeks (not to mention Round 1 which started in January) you would think that somewhere along the way I would have heard about "Race For the Cure!" But I hadn't, so I turned and watched the newscaster for more information. Then he said the magic words, "There is still time to register for today's walk, some come on down and help fight breast cancer." Well, that's all I needed to hear! Being the impulsive person that I am (who me?) I got dressed, printed off directions to downtown Detroit (sorry, don't go there much) and jumped in the car! Half way down I-75 I did think, "am I crazy?" But I answered myself with a resounding YES...and kept driving. (absolutely no surprise to those that know and love me!) I felt compelled to be there. I know I'm not alone in this battle, but sometimes it feels like I am, and I just wanted to be with others (ok THOUSANDS) that knew how I felt. I had no idea the emotions that were going to come from this experience. But I was soon to find out.

After I parked the car, I started walking toward Comerica Park (where everything started) and all I could see was a "sea of pink" flowing down the streets. There were people everywhere! Two ladies passed me in the street and I asked them if I was going the right way. (nobody wants to get lost in Detroit) They took one look at me and started hugging me tightly (this was going to be happening a lot) and pointed me in the right direction. I found my way to the registration table, filled out the form, and paid my money. (proceeds go to Susan G. Komen foundation) I then proceeded to pick up my race number and tshirt. Now, survivors were supposed to get a pink tshirt, while everyone else received a white one. But considering how late I registered (like two seconds ago) I was told there were no pink shirts left. I said no problem and was about to walk away when a volunteer from behind the table came running over with a pink shirt! She said that it was THE VERY LAST ONE but it was a size small. Hmmmm...small and I have never been mentioned in the same sentence, but she told me to take it along with the white one. And I did and just draped it over my shoulder. I proceeded to walk around the giant lot in front of Comerica Park where booths were set up, freebies were getting handed out, and every kind of "PINK" piece of apparel was on sale. (I even saw dog collars with the breast cancer ribbon on them. (No, I refrained from buying one. But I did consider it! lol)

I headed over to where the race was starting on Woodward Avenue. It was a massive sea of humanity. It was standing room only and you were standing shoulder to shoulder. Now, by this time you have to know that I was standing there bald for the world to see. You see, my nose started running and I had no tissues. So I did the only thing an inventive person would do (no, I didn't wipe my nose on my sleeve) I took my bandana off and used that instead. Hence, my shiny bald head for THOUSANDS to see! Well, that's all it took. The rest of the race (walk) I was approached over and over again. People asked me my story and I gladly told them. I met the most amazing people, and they all showed me that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I even received gifts from strangers. The first gift came from another survivor in a pink tshirt. She overheard me when someone asked me why I wasn't wearing my pink shirt. (remember...size
SMALL!) She approached me and said the shirt she was wearing was a large and she would gladly change shirts with me, as hers was too big. People suddenly formed a human "dressing room" around the woman to shield her, and she took off her shirt in the middle of Woodward Ave. to give it to me. I was so touched. I immediately put on MY pink shirt.

I was also given a pink rose by a man that walked over to me and said, "God Bless" and while I was walking another man gave me a beautiful bookmarker (which I can really use) with photos he had taken from Bryce Canyon in Utah which also had an inspirational poem written on it. It was such an emotional morning I really can't even put it into words.

The highlight of the walk however, had to be when I turned and saw my favorite channel 4 news anchors walking right behind me! Rhonda Walker and Guy Gordon. There they were... dressed in pink and walking to support the fight against breast cancer. I approached Rhonda for a picture
(I really do watch her every day!) and instead, she hugged ME!! I told her how I had seen the news that morning (channel 4 of course) andjumped in my car to come down. She called Guy over to tell him my story. I was overwhelmed to say the least and started tearing up. It turns out that the whole thing was recorded by the camera guy and I wound up being on the channel 4 news last night! Ahhh the hilights of fighting breast cancer :-) (well, there have to be SOME good things)

I also want to mention (for all my Riverside Elem. friends) that towards the second half of the walk, I looked to my left and saw my old friend Dana Gorman! (for non school blog readers she was the speech teacher in our building but went to a new school district several years ago) I was shocked and yelled over "DANA GORMAN!" She looked over, but had no idea who I was. In her defense, it is hard to recognize a bald woman in pink that you haven't seen for years. I said, "It's JOANNE SHEIMAN!" I got the puzzled look that I'm now used to getting and then she flew over to give me a hug. We have not been in touch and she had no idea that I had been diagnosed. She told me that her family has been participating for 17 years (sorry Dana if I got the number wrong) as her Aunt had passed away from B.C. many years ago. I walked with her family the rest of the way. THANKS Dana and Family! :-)

I happy to report that I completed the 5K walk (3.5 miles), took lots and lots of pictures, and have enough memories now to last a lifetime. I plan on joining The Race For The Cure for many years to come (next year I'll pre-register lol) and hopefully some of you reading this will join me.
Together WE CAN make a difference.

Enjoy the pics!


Had to include this pic...BALDIES UNITE!! :-)

There was LOTS of entertainment along the way...this was just one of the groups. I loved their outfits!

Me and the Channel 4 Action News team! Guy Gordon and Rhonda Walker!
Dana and me! It was SOOO good to see her!


  1. OMG! I love all the pics! I love that shirt too! I want one :o) That is a great picture of you with the Channel 4 people... I can't wait to watch the story when I come home! Love you! So PROUD of you :o)

  2. OMG! You are amazing! Why didn't you call me? I would have joined you! You never cease to amaze me with your inner strength as well as the crazy impulsivity gene you have!!! You may have driven to Detroit on your own, alone, but you certainly were given a dose of support when you hit the pavement in Motor City...excuse me...Hockey Town!!! Someone was watching over you when you found Dana! OMG!!! I can't wait to get caught up on Dana and her family! Thanks for posting the pictures.

  3. All I can say Joanne.... is YOU ROCK! (And now I have to go wipe the tears.)

  4. so glad you had a great time and so glad you woke early and got to partake.... I loved the story and the photos! I wish I could have been there too.... but I will continue to walk for you in my area, you are such an inspiration to all of us! God Bless you friend!

    Lori (Sugarbakerz)

  5. Yea!!! What a great way to encourage and be are wonderful!! SO glad you got to feel the power of a cancer's amazing.

    There were literally thousands of people you found Dana is just - wow! Great to hear about it. Please send her our love when you talk with her.

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. OMG, AWFUL picture of me, GREAT one of you!!! I tell everyone about that day and how lucky I was that you found me in the crowd of thousands!! I plan on walking with you for the next 17 races and the 50 after that!!! You have now joined our walking group, like it or not:)

  7. My girlfriend ran in thesame race last week,she said it wasso uplifting. Shehad a great time. Great Job Joanne!

  8. Joanne... you are just so AWESOME!!!! Seriously awesome!!! I am so glad that you had such a wonderful day! Although you found support from others, I can only imagine the number of people who drew inspiration from you! I wish I could have seen you on the news! You, star, you!