My wife Susan (center), our Daughter Rachael Simon Proper (on right looking at the picture), and friend Nancy Kane (left) and I have been walking the walk, so to speak, for many years. Susan was on her 16th walk, and is a 17-year survivor from her advanced breast cancer. Nancy is on 13th walk and is a 22-year survivor. Rachael and I just want to end it.
Avon39 announced that the race raised about 1.3 million dollars. The money goes to support both local and national research, care and education initiatives.
Susan was walking for a decade before she told me that she wanted me to walk with her. I had always assumed that this was something for her, and that my involvement would be in some way intrusive. In my mind, I had separated my acting work and her walking as two separate personal endeavors. Perhaps that intersection came when or a I was writing The Actual Dance.
We don’t care particularly that it is Breast Cancer. And I do have a complaint about the Avon39 Walk that I will now give voice to. And that is the focus by so many on breasts: “Save the Tatas”, “Save Second Base”, “Boobs” and images of breast all over the place. I get it, it is breast cancer, and “I really don’t care that they will be gone. Or I least I don’t think I care. I wondered sometimes if she (would) be less physically attractive to me without them. I think that might be more important if her prognosis had been brighter.”
I am not the only one who has objected to these phrases. A few years ago, this point was made very effectively in a guest post by Anita Little, originally posted on the Ms. blog. Her bottom line and mine are the same. It isn’t about body parts – it is about life. Yes, the focus on the breasts in this way
This year this balancing act of mixed emotions tilted against these cute campaigns. Maybe because we are getting older and the walk I getting harder?
Maybe because one our close friends is struggling to stay alive long enough to meet her first grandchild. Maybe because it isn’t funny. Yes, we must laugh --- even in the face of Cancer. Let’s laugh though for the beauty of life, for the new humor in each additional day that is given to us, even after Cancer.
And for the record, I don’t give a damn that Susan’s breasts are gone. What I care about is that she is here every day.