**NOTE: I wrote this out on May 9, what would have been the 2015 Revlon Run/Walk in Los Angeles. It took some time to pull together the pics and edit together this tribute. I hope you enjoy it! And thanks again for all your years of support!**
Ordinarily this time of year, I would be participating in the annual EIF Revlon Run/Walk for Women’s Cancers. Those were my favorite two days of every year. I would have been home in NYC last Saturday, May 2, and then flying to the west coast to do the LA run/walk the following weekend (Mother’s Day weekend as always!), which would have been today. But after 20 years and after raising over $70 million for cancer awareness, research, patient support, and outreach programs, this incredible, wonderful annual event is no more.
My first Revlon Run/Walk experience was in New York in 2002. I don’t even recall how I found out about it, but I was celebrating being in remission (at least I thought I was!), and this was the perfect way to do it — in my heart of my Big Apple home, Times Square, NYC! I joined my team (Go, Gilda’s Club!) and various family/friends who roused themselves outta bed at the crack of dawn to join me, and thusly we walked! From that first year, I was hooked! I showed up every year since then, and, starting in 2007, I added the Los Angeles event to my annual itinerary. Thirteen years of bi-coastal celebration and fundraising!
So, when I found out that the Run/Walk wasn’t happening anymore, it brought up a lot of emotions for me. Mostly I was really bummed out, to say the least. I started thinking about all the people that I see there each year — some old and some new — all the cheer and support and the feeling of solidarity and togetherness, and LOVE. Even though it’s just that one day every year, I will miss seeing and hugging everyone.
It also made me think a lot about survivorship, and the unexpected ways that the idea of “survivorship” as a thing reveals itself. One of things is in how we mark time. Besides how all people generally do it — one day at a time, weekdays, weekends, winter-spring-summer-fall, and so on — we survivors have a concurrent calendar in our minds. We mark time based on how long we have been in remission. That could be based on the date of our last surgery or last treatment or the day our oncologist actually told us we were in remission. Or . . . we mark time and celebrate our “being aliveness” by attending an annual event like the EIF Revlon Run/Walk!
The Run/Walk was more than just an annual fundraising event. It’s been how I commemorate making it another year of not having cancer, and celebrate being ALIVE — and also honor those who have passed away and support those who have been newly diagnosed — all together at the BIGGEST OUTDOOR LIFE CELEBRATION PARTY ON EARTH, surrounded by 50,000+ people gathered in love and community.
This event also, for me, was a reminder of the infinite possibilities when we work to make our visions a reality. The EIF Revlon Run/Walk started 20 years ago in LA with several hundred participants and grew to including a second annual event in NYC, with over 40,000 people participating in each city and raising millions of dollars. All from one woman’s passion and compassion, and her ability to galvanize other activated and awake people to join together to make a difference.
I want to especially thank Lilly Tartikoff and Lisa Paulsen and Kathleen Lobb and everyone I have met over the years from Entertainment Industry Foundation and Revlon, as well as all of the celebrities who lovingly participated and (literally) cheered us on at the run/walks all these years, for their ongoing commitment to bring support and healing to so many and for activating and inspiring others to realize their visions and be forces of Light and Good in the world.
Yes, one person can make a difference!
Bald Is Beautiful is my vision and, while I will always consider my red t-shirt to be my Revlon Run/Walk “uniform”, I will also continue to live the words emblazoned on it: BE THE CHANGE.
Visit www.eifoundation.org for more about EIF and their ongoing fundraising and awareness efforts.
Visit me at www.baldisbeautiful.org for new and updates!
Peace, Light, Joy, Love to all!