Last night, I decided it was time to write a new fundraising letter. Each year, I write a few different letters, depending on how I’m approaching our fundraising. It’s important to change it up, and after 10 years, that sometimes gets difficult. After all, how many different ways are there to say, “Please help”?
For inspiration for my new letter, I decided to review the facts sheet that the Komen folks sent to me when I agreed to be an “online ambassador”. One fact I hadn’t seen before reached out and hit me in the face.
>> A person dies from breast cancer every 68 seconds. <<
68 seconds?! Every minute another person dies from breast cancer.
In the ten minutes that it took to brew my coffee this morning, someone’s daughter died. A young man lost his only sister. A husband held his dying partner’s hand. An older woman had to tell her granddaughter that mommy wasn’t coming home. A woman said goodbye to her brother forever. A man died quietly, ashamed of his body. A single mother died wondering who would care for her children. A woman with no family died alone in a sterile hospital room. A family gathered around their matriarch to say goodbye. Somebody’s best friend died. All that loss while I waited for my coffee.
This litany of loss could be devastatingly depressing. But it doesn’t have to be. Instead, I choose to use it to inspire me to be stronger in my training and more intentional in my fundraising. Every minute that I am walking in The 3Day Walk, I am saving lives and supporting people who are living with breast cancer. By raising money with my footsteps, my minutes are counting in this battle. I am waging war by using my feet, and engaging the hearts – and wallets – of my family and friends.
Walking at full speed, it would take me about 950 minutes to walk 60 miles. The 60 miles of The 3Day will actually take a lot longer than that because I need to stop and stretch and eat snacks and visit those beautiful porta-potties. So, it will take me around 1500 minutes of walking. And in those 1500 minutes, all across the world, 1500 more people will die from breast cancer. But in those same 1500 minutes, the money that my feet helped to raise will help to change the face of the disease.
I have raised at least $3000 each of the years that I have walked, so each minute that I walk is worth two more dollars towards the cause. Two dollars might not sound like much but those dollars really do add up. Each minute that I walk, I will be walking with thousands of other people, so my dollars are matched by all those other dollars.
Just last year alone, our minutes were part of $93 million in grants offered to 1900 community organizations. In 2009, our minutes helped 3.9 million people to receive breast cancer education materials. Our minutes helped more than 260,000 women to receive a potentially life-saving mammogram. Our minutes helped approximately 5,000 people to be diagnosed with breast cancer who otherwise may not have been diagnosed, and our minutes helped more than 100,000 women to benefit from treatment assistance.
My minutes, multiplied by the thousands of 3Day Walkers and Crew in fifteen cities this year, will lead the fight to change the statistics and transform the litany of loss to a celebration of hope.
Another person dies from breast cancer every minute? That may be true, but it is also true that every minute, there are also thousands of us all across the world, walking towards a different future. We all get to decide which minutes of our lives to make count. Make your minutes count.