Many have asked how Eva and I ended up on a billboard. Here's the story...
It was December. I was on the Komen email list, because I have donated in the past. I received an email saying they were looking for models for their 2011 Race For The Cure campaign. They wanted real life stories; local people who had faced breast cancer; friends and family members of those who had battled breast cancer.
I had just finished chemo and felt horrible. At the time, I didn't want anything to do with anything that identified me with cancer, including Race For The Cure. I wanted to put cancer behind me and forget.
I don't know what compelled me to respond. I don't like attention. Without thinking, I immediately replied. I told them I was currently receiving treatment and that I had three little kids who would be adorable models. I sent them links to my blogs. They emailed back and told me their campaign slogan was, "I race for _____" The three kids might be too much to fit in one picture with the slogan. They asked if they could do pictures of just me and my husband. I said we would do whatever they needed. Then I respectfully requested that they consider doing just Eva and I, because I race for her. Because I don't want her to go through what I went through. Because I don't want her to live her life in fear. They agreed.
About a month later, Eva and I drove up to a beautiful house in the foothills, equipped with my wigs and scarves. We spent about half an hour there. They took pictures and we visited a bit. I was encouraged. They were warm and friendly, and passionate about finding a cure.
I had no idea how they would use the pictures. Another month went by. I received an email with a couple of pictures that they might use for posters, banners, or billboards. They also sent me a copy of the registration brochure, with me and Eva on the cover.
I didn't get any warning about the billboard. Damie called last week to tell me one of his co-workers saw it. Then I got an email from another friend about it. I packed up the kids and ventured out, terrified of the humiliation I thought I would feel at seeing it.
They had used my favorite picture. There is something about Eva's innocent, perfect, little hand reaching up and touching my scarf, the scarf being so indicative of all of the pain and fear associated with cancer.
But what touched me most was what it said, "I race for her future." The words "her future" hit me hard. My embarrassment at being on a billboard disappeared as I realized what this was all about. It's about finding a cure. It's about raising awareness. It's about preventing anyone else from having to face this disease.