Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Debra Adams: Her Story

Update: Success!!! God is Good!

Hi ya'll,
We've gotten to that point in the 3-Day year where I've met the minimum $2200 required to walk in both Dallas and San Diego -- Can't wait for either! But unfortunately, some of my team members haven't had the easiest time of fundraising. I'm going to put some of their stories up over the next few days. If you feel inclined to donate under their names, please do! If you do, please let me know -- so I can stop hounding you (personally) for a donation this year. If nothing else, these stories will help illustrate that we desperately need to find a cure for breast cancer.

Thanks for all the support that you give our team. You rock!

Big Hugs,

Here's Debra's Story:

When I was in eighth grade, approximately 13 years old, we had an assignment in our English class involving signing up with a high school pen pal exchange program. You could select the age, gender, and nationality of your desired pen pal, and then the service would facilitate you getting in touch with each other so you could begin writing (pen and paper letters mind you, before the invent of e-mail). I opted for a female about my same age in the UK, and was delighted when I received contact information for a girl named Liz Budge in Bedfordshire, England. We began corresponding immediately and learning about each other’s families and culture. All through high school, and more than one move for each of us, we kept writing and occasionally calling, and developed a remarkably close friendship. She visited me for the first time in the early 90’s and then again a couple of years later – hosting her was such a joy, and she was greatly entertained by the rodeo and Dallas Cowboy football game I took her to. Liz loved Mexican food and margaritas, and was so amused with all things Texan! Our lives evolved and we grew, but we never lost touch. Liz had a rather exciting life I thought, as she served in the Royal Air Force and then in civil service as (what we would call) a “911” operator. Shortly after we got married, Lewis and I traveled to Europe to visit Liz and her husband John, and their 2 year-old daughter, Abigail. It was such a fabulous vacation, and our relationship was like we were girlfriends who just lived around the corner from each other – not “across the pond.” We had truly grown up together, albeit thousands of miles apart. A couple of years later, Liz had another daughter, Harriet, and Lewis and I had Julia, Olivia, then Ethan. Liz and I both had our happy families and beautiful homes, and were content with our lives -- but sadly, that was about to change.

In mid 2007, Liz informed me that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. I was horrified and in shock, but I prayed and provided her with all the moral support I could from afar. She commented that she was nervous about her upcoming chemo and losing all her hair, especially because she could not find any good hats to wear. The next week, I sent her a book on how to tell young children about cancer… and a box full of colorful, funky hats to lift her spirits! She underwent months of chemo and in February of this year got the “all clear” from her doctors… the cancer was gone and she was well again. We rejoiced together and I honestly felt as if all my prayers had been answered. Our oldest daughters – her Abigail and my Julia – had become pen pals by this time, but via e-mail, not the “snail mail” we started with. Once again, things were back on track and the future was bright.

I received an e-mail from Liz on April 15th of this year explaining that after a series of infections, the doctors had determined that her cancer had returned and metastasized to her liver. The devastation I felt was amplified by Lewis explaining to me that this is precisely what killed his mother, years before I even met him.

On May 12th of this year, on my 41st birthday, I received an e-mail from John, sharing the sad news that my lovely friend Liz had passed away – in her own home, listening through the windows to the sound of her 3 year-old and 9-year old daughters play in the family garden. Liz was just 39 years old.

I am told that even until her last breath, Liz never lost hope that some day, someone would find a cure for this horrible thing called CANCER! In her last weeks, she would tell her husband, “maybe today they will find the cure, and I can take a pill and it will all be gone.” I lay awake at night still thinking about Liz and the sadness of her last days, knowing that she would soon be taken from her beautiful daughters and loving husband. In her final weeks, John told me that she labored over boxes of items for her girls – special boxes to be opened on their 13th birthdays, 16th birthdays, for their weddings, and so on – knowing that she would not be there to share those moments with them. She was dying, yet she was selfless and utterly hopeful – a true testament to just how special she was. I miss my friend dearly, and I am haunted each and every day by thoughts of her sorrowful demise. And so, to show the love I have for her, and to pay the deepest, most heartfelt respect to her memory, this year I have made the commitment to participate in the D/FW Breast Cancer 3-Day event.

I have sent out 125 e-mails and 45 letters to date, with more to follow, but only have about $225 in contributions. I am desperate (as in need "big-dog" help) and fear I will have to drop out and not get to walk. I am truly heartbroken about this too, so ANY help would be greatly appreciated. It will not, however, deter me from continuing my fund-raising efforts for this worthy cause. Thank you so much, in advance, for you kind assistance!

To donate to Debra, check out our Team Website at http://08.the3day.org/goto/teamtiara. Just click on her name and it will take you to her personal website where you can make a DONATION!

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