Lori M. is no stranger to the Susan G. Komen 3-Day. She has completed three 3-Day events, and is currently training for her fourth. This one is different though, as she comes back to the cause after an 11-year break. What happened during those 11 years, and why walk again now? Read on to find out more about Lori M.’s incredible story.
I have done the 3-Day three other times, all in Chicago. The first two times were done with my mom. Our first and second time was in honor of my mom’s husband’s first wife and daughter who both battled breast cancer and lost the fight. In 2010 I walked with three other ladies; our team was “cops for a cure.” I have been a 911 dispatcher for 16 years for my county, and at that time, one of our own was battling breast cancer: Flora #139 from the Portage Police Department. Flora is currently 11.5 years cancer free. She is still a police officer and continues to “fight like a girl.” In 11 years, two childhood friends of mine, one who is a single mom and one who is a very young friend, who both mean the world to me, are currently going for radiation once a week.
In August 2018, my husband, Mark (but everyone calls him Randy), was diagnosed with leukemia. He was the love of my life, childhood sweetheart and best friend. We started living a little more after that, we always loved going and doing things, never sat still, and enjoyed our vacations. We started taking more pictures and going more places. The only times we weren’t together was when we were each at work. We have three beautiful sons and daughters who have given us three grandchildren: two boys and a princess.
Our world took a gut punch again on December 31, 2020 when Mark was admitted to the hospital with Covid. He lost his battle on February 13, 2021 after fighting for six weeks in the hospital. I, along with my children, mother in-law, and a few family members, were fortunate in being able to be with him when he passed. We will be welcoming our fourth grandbaby in December (a baby girl). She’ll be named after her papa in heaven; Randi will be her name.
To say my days have been difficult is an understatement. In addition to taking care of my mom, my days are full of work, kids, and life. I am busy, consumed with trying to just go through life day by day. I didn’t find time to mourn, miss him, to have alone time to just focus on myself. I just kept thinking I need to get away, to think. I tried a vacation with some friends…that didn’t work. I then started seeing more ads for the 3-Day. I got to thinking about it, ignoring it, seeing more ads, ignoring them. Then I pulled up the Susan G. Komen Facebook page and tried ignoring it again.
I finally pulled up the page, looked at it, prayed and thought, “ok, maybe.” Then things started falling into place. I looked at my work calendar because I thought “oh, I’m probably working” (good excuse to say no). Nope, I am off work that weekend. I did a lot of praying, talking to myself, maybe trying to talk myself out of it. I registered and committed to raising the money and walking 60 miles again while not being in shape, 11 years older, and an emotional wreck.
I made contact with Coach Tisho; I had a few questions for her. I think I was hoping she would tell me something I didn’t like to give me an excuse to back out. I didn’t tell anyone that I had signed up, I kept it to myself. I did a lot of praying, planning, searching myself. I knew from previous walks I would have time to myself since I wasn’t walking with anyone this time. I could walk, think, talk to God, finally be alone in my thoughts, talk to my husband. I knew there would be no distractions. I knew I’d be surrounded with survivors, strong women and men on a mission. I wanted to watch them and be inspired. I told God, “If you want me to do this, I need to hear from you, loudly…I need to know this is something I’m supposed to do, not me running from life clear across the country.”
August 5, 2021, I walked into church; only the third time in seven months. It has been difficult to go without Mark. I walked in, sat down next to a cousin and they started playing “Nothing Else,” the same song I played daily for six weeks, the same song I played as my husband took his last breath. As our preacher began to speak, he told the story of Peter being commanded by Jesus to get out of the boat and “WALK.” The message I got was loud and clear: GET OUT AND WALK. I went home, posted about my Susan G. Komen San Diego 3-Day walk, spoke about how this all came about… and the donations started coming in.
Within five days, I passed the amount needed and have raised my goal to $5,000!!!!
I’m inspired by women who have battled and survived breast cancer. I’m looking forward to flying across the country, pushing myself, and being surrounded by strong men and women all on the same mission.
Walking 60 miles in three days is hard, but it’s STILL easier than breast cancer.