A couple of posts ago, I talked about my father and how I was about to undertake a huge physical challenge in his memory. I also talked about doing the right thing. For me, at this point in my life, 'the right thing' is to try to help people who are battling the disease that took Dad - cancer. I'm attaching a piece that will go out in the InspireHealth newsletter to announce my latest project. I leave in a few days to begin my epic journey. Follow its progress here if you like. And, if you can, please help me help others by following the links in the story below.
From the first time I heard about the Camino de Santiago in Spain, I just knew I had to walk it. The funny thing was, when I told people what I was going to do, those who knew me didn’t seem surprised. In fact, I think I was more surprised than they were. As I started reading about the Camino and planning my trip, I realized once again how very lucky I am to be healthy enough to consider doing the pilgrimage. But, as I contemplated spending so much of my savings to go and walk across a country I knew nothing about, I began second-guessing myself. Was I being foolish? Maybe I should wait and do the Camino later.
Then I thought of my Dad. I remembered all the wonderful plans he and my mom had for what they would do ‘one day’, when the time was right. Only they never got to do those things. Cancer took my father from us before ‘one day’ ever came. And when he went, he took with him my belief that there would always be time for what I wanted to do later. I needed to walk the Camino now. I would do it for myself and for my father, for all the things he would never get to do, for all the unlived dreams that linger here like ghosts since he died.
Thinking about Dad made me think, too, about the others who have cancer and may never get to live their dreams. So gradually I realized I wanted to do something more. I thought I could ask people to sponsor my walk and give all the money to an organization that helps people with cancer. That would be a fitting legacy for Dad.
When I looked around at the wonderful groups here that work with cancer patients, one stood out in my mind. One stood out as giving people something more than information and support through their medical procedures. InspireHealth gave people hope. And hope is one thing my father desperately needed during his battle with the disease. InspireHealth gives patients back some control over their lives and the people who go there get encouraging results. Preliminary InspireHealth research shows that integrated care leads to better health outcomes, with some patients surviving up to three times longer. Through initiatives such as their LIFE program, InspireHealth is taking the lead in innovative healthcare service delivery. They are becoming a model for optimal cancer care, both in Canada and elsewhere. For these reasons and others, I chose InspireHealth. Now I hope you will choose to sponsor them through my walk. Together, maybe we can help others live long enough to do the things they dream.
Christine Grimard is a BC writer who earns her living doing technical and business writing while also working on fiction and creative nonfiction projects. She loves travel and the outdoors, which both provide plenty of adventure and inspiration for her writing. She likes to challenge herself physically, which has led her to go dog-sledding in Greenland, enter snowshoe and trail-running races, and take up snowboarding and mountain biking even after the resiliency of youth has passed.
The latest challenge she's given herself is to walk the ancient Camino de Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route in northern Spain. Beginning in September 2010, she will start her journey from the country's border with France and walk, approximately 800 kilometers west, to finish in Santiago about mid-October. Along the way, she will contemplate life and pay tribute to her father, whom she lost to cancer several years ago.
As a legacy for him, Christine is asking you to sponsor her walk by supporting InspireHealth - Vancouver, BC's innovative integrated cancer care treatment centre. She wants to raise a minimum of $1,600, roughly $2 per kilometer. By pledging your support to InspireHealth for Christine's walk, you can help ensure people with cancer have a chance to live their own adventures; and perhaps you will even help find a way to prevent the disease in the first place.
To Donate (Tax receipts issued for all donations of $25 or more)
Online: Go to https://payment.csfm.com/donations/healing/index.php. Select 'Camino Against Cancer' or write it in the box under 'Other'.
By Mail: Mail your donation to InspireHealth directly at Suite 200 – 1330 West 8th Avenue, Vancouver, BC V6H 4A6. Make sure to say it's for 'Camino Against Cancer' and include your full name and contact information for a receipt.
To find out more about Christine and the journey she's about to take, check out her blog at http://girlscribe.blogspot.com/.
To find out more about the great work InspireHealth is doing, see their website, http://www.inspirehealth.ca/.