Why I Walk. . . And Hope You Will Too

Written on May 31, 2013 at 12:00 pm , by

In honor of National Cancer Survivor’s Day on June 2nd, guest blogger and mom of five Staci Salazar talks about the people who inspired her to do a Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk in November.

Imagine getting the news that your mom has cancer. Your mom. The woman that gave you life. Nurtured you. Taught and molded you. A woman to whom you owe the world.

That was my reality one Friday evening. My brother, sister and I were given the news that my mom had Mantle Cell Lymphoma. We talked about a plan and prayed for direction. There were sacrifices to be made and my mom became the center of our universe.

I remember holding my husband that night and telling him I knew everything would be alright. I already felt at peace with the diagnosis, yet I feared the battle.

As a family, we endured seven out of eight chemotherapy treatments with my mom. I say seven because the last one was almost too much. An infected port brought on a staph infection that was detrimental to her already fragile immune system. The fight was a tough one, but my mom went on to win her battle. This June marks her 3rd year of remission. And for that, I am grateful.

My mother isn’t the only brave woman I’ve witnessed fight—and win—a war against cancer. Diagnosed within 6 weeks of each other, two women I know weathered the heartbreaks and the triumphs of breast cancer together. Both women always sport a smile and hand out hugs even when they were in the midst of their battles. And together they were able to celebrate victory with a strength and character admired by many.

Unfortunately, I have also seen cancer at its worst. Lung cancer took my grandmother and an aunt within 7 months of each other. I saw a valiant 5-year-old battle DIPG (a type of brain tumor)… and lose. His fight changed my perspective.

Therefore, today I choose to be proactive. To be passionate about making a difference. To do my part to see a change. Why? Because my family is worth it.

My oldest daughter turns 18 this fall. Behind her, I have a son ready to learn to drive and a tenacious daughter entering the double digits. Not to mention, a 7-year-old princess and a curious 3-year-old with special needs. Along with their dad, they are the driving force behind everything I do.

Consequently, my husband and I decided to make lifestyle changes that include eating healthier and exercising more. We began to limit process foods, cut out sodas and cook more at home. We also started moving more.

He and I now hold each other whole-heartedly accountable as we train for the Dallas/Fort Worth Susan G. Komen 3-Day, a three day, 60-mile walk that makes us feel like we are part of something bigger than breast cancer, or any other kind of cancer. Often with our children in tow, we set our responsibilities and duties aside and take an evening walk. We admire the landscape and reflect on daily events. It has become part of our family routine and we are all better for it.

When we have time, my husband and I leave the girls home with the teens and take a more brisk walk alone. Not only are we able to push ourselves with more intensity, but we get much-needed alone time. Time we often spend reflecting on our children. Lives we pray they lead. Battles, like cancer, we hope they never face.

This passion, this driving force, leads me to work harder. Push myself further. Strive to do more. All that it takes is for me to lace up my tennis shoes after a jam-packed day with the kids and train myself to walk 20 miles a day for three consecutive days, on a mission to end breast cancer forever. To empower all cancer patients, survivors and their loved ones with every single step I take.

What has inspired you to get moving for a cause? Post a comment and tell me here.

Want to do a 3-Day in your city? Find a list of upcoming walks here.

Staci Salazar is the blogger behind 7 on a Shoestring. A mom of five, she lives in Dallas, Texas. 

25 Responses to “Why I Walk. . . And Hope You Will Too”

  1. You’re such an inspiration, Staci! I love how passionate you are. And love that you’re able to make this walk into not only supporting a cure for breast cancer but a way of coming closer together with your husband.

  2. I can’t even put into words how much I am inspired by you. You have the ability to take a bad situation, face it head on and turn it into something positive. My hat goes off to you Staci Salazar, you are definitely someone I look up to.

  3. Best of luck with your journey! It all starts with a change in lifestyle! I love your story.

  4. Great post and very inspiring! Glad to see that you were able to turn a negative situation into a positive in your life!

  5. You are sooo inspiring and courageous. I really think I will sign up for the next walk in my area. Thank you so much for sharing.

  6. I lost my grandfather to cancer 9 years ago and watched him take his last breath. That is something I will never, ever get over. It changes you to see someone you love suffering like that.

    Thanks so much for sharing how you have made changes in your life because of this. I should make a better effort, and you’ve inspired me to try.

  7. You inspire me!!!

  8. Thanks for sharing a beautiful picture of family … and transparently encouraging so many to persevere through the hard journeys together. Blessings to your “7 on a shoestring” family — and thanks for your spectacular blog … please keep writing and sharing!

  9. I admire anyone who can do the 3 Day! I’ve had coworkers who have done this and it’s such a physical and emotional challenge. Best of luck, and great job!

  10. You really, truly are an amazing woman! You are an inspiration to all and I will be cheering for you and Colby during your 3 day!

  11. Staci, I am forever humbled by your strength and your drive. You are an inspiration to others. Thank you for walking the 3 day for all of those you know that have been touched by cancer. Maybe next year I’ll come walk it with you.

  12. What a touching story. I hope I can find something like that in my area.

  13. Can I just say how amazing I think you are? I’ve only “known” you for a year and a half but I have watched you go through so much and always, ALWAYS with such positivity and devotion. I hope more people read your story and get inspired to join this great event for a great cause. You truly are an inspiration.

  14. This is so great. I love to hear success stories and I’m glad your mom is one of them, praise God! This walk sounds great, and I’m proud of you for doing it!!

  15. This is a wonderful and inspiring post, Staci, than you for sharing it with the world.

  16. Very proud of my children and the strength they have all endured during “our” jOURney with MCL. My husband and My kids were what kept me going!! So very blessed to have had them there to help me. I am Staci’s Mom and so very happy to say so!!

  17. Staci, you are such an inspiration to all of us! I hope one day I can walk as well, but this year I’m happy to follow along on your journey and cheer you along the way!

  18. What an inspirational story. I have lost my father to cancer and it was rough watching him go through treatments and such. It is nice to read stories of loved ones surviving and being an inspiration to the world!

  19. You are amazing! Good for you and your family for making all those positive changes! I recently had a test for bladder cancer. Thankfully it was negative, but it was a very scary experience. I talked to my doctor today and we discussed some lifestyle changes I need to make to lower my risk. Thanks for sharing your story!

  20. Staci, you are a true inspiration. I am definitely going to look up this walk in my area to see if they have one and get involved. These are steps toward a healthier future, and that is so important. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  21. You truly are a remarkable person and so positive with your outlook on life. You are very inspiring with everything you deal with and I feel so very blessed to call you a friend.

  22. Staci, I love you. You truly are an inspiration. You manage to find a way to keep going, in various circumstances. I’m so proud of you for doing the walk.

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