May 16th, 2005
|11:11 am - Only I could think so hard about something admirable that it becomes tarnished|
So on Saturday, I walked in the "Race for the Cure" for breast cancer.
I did this for many reasons:
1) I've been meaning to do a race like this for a long time.
2) My Grove was doing it, and it never hurts to have other people doing it as well. It makes sure I do it.
3) It's a damn good cause, and it affects a lot of women.
4) It also affects men, but that's rarely talked about.
5) I like boobies.
Yeah, I'd be lying if I didn't mention that last one.
When I finished, though, I found out something I'd never known: my Grandmother is a survivor.
My mom told me about this, and I also found out that my mom is on preventative medicine to keep her from getting it. I didn't know any of this.
It was sudden and strange, but when I found that out, I wasn't sure if it devalued or increased the value of my walk.
On the one hand, I was walking this with the idea that I was doing it simply to do a good turn for others who had lost their lives and for the millions who still might, but then I realized that, had I known that my Grandmother had been a survivor, I would be walking for her.
On the other hand, I was there and didn't know that she had survived, so I was pretty much there just for me, because I felt it was important, and because I knew that one doesn't need to have a family that's been affected by cancer to walk.
It bothers me that I'm not sure exactly how I feel about it.
Current Mood: unsure
Current Music: "The Handiest Frenchman in the Caribbean", -JB
Oh, I did a good thing. I just wonder why I did that good thing.
It's value-added. There was great value in the fact that you did it thinking it wasn't personally-related. Since you found out afterward, it polished rather than tarnished. If you knew beforehand, it would have colored your motives, but I hardly think lending support to others for any reason is a bad thing.
Perhaps. I think the kicker is that I really, really liked the idea that I was walking this because I genuinely wanted to help, not because I had been affected by it. I liked the idea that I was out there even though I had no reason to be out there. It was just a good thing to do.
Now, though, I have a reason, and it makes it seem less special to me.
But you hadn't been affected by it when you did it because you didn't know beforehand. So your motives were "pure," as you were defining them. Next year, do it for Grandma, and it'll be a different experience. Hell, do it with Grandma, if possible.
And stop thinking already.
but your reason wasn't changed! The intent is no different. It may be different on future occasions, but you can't change intent after the fact.
Ha. You're talking to the guy who was inundated with time-traveling mages two weeks ago. There is no such thing as "after the fact" in my current paradigm.
Or, everything is after the fact. It's all already happened, and you're just waiting to hear about it.
I remember a passing conversation about breast cancer and grandma many years ago with mom. I know you weren't there, but it happened so long ago that only by your mention did I remember the fact that I had been told it. Well, that lack of communication of such things is prevalent in the family;) You have heard about some unnamed older cousin having a 2nd child come September, haven't you? I didn't know about the first one till it was born:-p
Yes, I certainly have :) Of course, I never hear much from Toledo :)
I can understand why you feel strange. I would probably be thinking along the same lines, too.
Your friends, however, are right. WHy you did it hasn't changed. You didn't go because you were seeking to celebrate or remember anybody in particular, but because you were seeking to celebrate and remember all people who have been and will be affected by this disease. Or at least, that's how I thought of it, and I'm fairly sure you did too.
At first there was a strange sense of out-of-placeness for me, like what right do I have to walk with these people whose lives have been so much profoundly touched by breast cancer than mine. But then I realized that that didn't matter, that if I were one of those people it would make my heart soar to see a crowd of people making a sacrifice to help me, even if they had no moral or emotional obligation to do so whatsoever. They just did it because they cared. Though on the surface it seems like a simple walk where we go mooch lots of free bagels, it is truly a celebration of life and a way of honouring the mighty dead.
Just because now you realize it HAS affected your family more personally than you thought does not change what you are doing -- yes, you perhaps feel more of an obligation, but moral obligation or not you did it anyway, completely unaware. And when you do it again, it will be a different experience, but you can still say that there is a part of you would support these people regardless of if the issue hit close to home to you or not. It is, in a way, like some people's reactions to September 11.
Be proud of yourself, Mike. You did well and there was not a single person in that crowd of thousands who would have questioned your motives or felt ungrateful to see your face. After all, if cancer doesn't care who you are, why should the 5K?
Ah, I know the race doesn't care. As good as the people are who are doing it, they're in it for one thing: the bottom line. They don't care how they get their cash, or who that cash comes from. It all goes to cancer research.
However, it's my own perception of running it (or, in our case, walking it slowly because of the crowd) that is altered.
I only know one person who has (openly) had breast cancer and he's a man.
A group in Ottawa was holding this boat race for survivors of breast cancer but he wasn't allowed to participate because he's not a woman and they didn't believe men could have it.