Why TBBCF? (7/6/17)

How I decided to volunteer with the Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation

Michele Gardner (left) and Aimee Reed

My co-worker Michele, who at the time was going through treatment for breast cancer herself, first introduced me to the Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation (TBBCF) in 2014. One glance at the TBBCF Facebook page, and I was hooked. What really stood out to me is that they donate 100% to breast cancer research. Growing up I was taught that it is always better to give than to receive, and the TBBCF proved to be a worthy foundation to give to.

I was immediately intrigued by the TBBCF Walk Across Southeastern Connecticut, their largest fundraiser of the year. Individuals come together to create walk teams to complete either a marathon (26.2 miles), half-marathon (13.1 miles) or quarter-marathon (6.55 miles). The teams and individuals then raise money through donations from friends, family and community. I knew this was something I had to be a part of. However, in 2014 I had a prior engagement on the day of the walk; then in 2015 I was undergoing my own aggressive chemotherapy. It wasn’t until 2016 that I was able to participate. Not only did I walk, but I was also being honored by the TBBCF as the Greater Westerly Breast Cancer Awareness Honoree.

2016 Walk Team

I was asked to join as a teammate of the “TONORMA” walk-team, which this year was changed to the “TONORMA in support of We TRI 4 Aimee” team. I was beyond proud to be a part of this team, especially after learning more about the type of person Norma was and how influential and positive she was going through a breast cancer diagnosis. In 2016 we had the largest team, consisting of 33 walkers, in the history of the TBBCF walk. The team was made up of a variety of individuals including high school students, cancer survivors, limb amputees, tri-athletes, friends, neighbors and family members.

It was shortly after the walk that a friend suggested that I spend some time volunteering for the TBBCF. I had a few conversations with Sandy Maniscalco, co-founder and Director of Development and Outreach, and we came up with a plan of how I can be involved. I started out volunteering on various projects and assisting with the newsletter. There has been an interest particularly in my story of journeying through a breast cancer diagnosis and determination to continue doing triathlons. This has brought me to chronicling my experiences of living with stage IV/metastatic (inflammatory, triple negative, BRCA2+) breast cancer.



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