In August 2013, I celebrated a huge milestone: I had been cancer free for 10 years. 10 years previous, I left a stem-cell transplant ward and had not had cancer since.
I wanted to celebrate this event appropriately by celebrating each day of the gift I'd received.
Walking refreshes me, restores me, and centers me. I have walked all my life, but never as much as since my cancer. It is a reminder of both how impermanent life is, and how interconnected we are to the world around us. Upon the occasion of my 10 year anniversary of being free from cancer, I wanted to celebrate the event as I'd celebrated each day since, by walking. Not only did I want to celebrate this way, I wanted my friends and family to celebrate with me as well. Thus was born the idea of taking 3650 steps with me; one for each day I'd been cancer-free.
I also wanted to try to help those people enduring their own ordeal with cancer. I remembered from my time in chemotherapy that sitting in a chair tethered to an infusion pump for hours on end was VERY boring. I felt that a couple of tablet computers would be a wonderful way to help those people: they could read books, watch movies, listen to music, play games- all without having to get out of the chair.
So, my wife and I organized an event with two distinct purposes: taking 3650 steps to celebrate my gift of life, and helping us pay for two tablet computers to donate to my infusion center.
3650 steps was born.
We ordered 50 t-shirts made with the 3650 logo, in lime-green (the "ribbon" color of Lymphoma). They cost us about $4.50 each, so we sold them to our guests at $10 each. We invited our guests to walk with me on the Old Erie Canal towpath trail on a Saturday afternoon and then attend a party at our house afterward. We sold the t-shirts at both places. At the party, we sold raffle tickets for hiking sticks, baby blankets, wine and beer baskets. In all, we raised enough money to cover the cost of the t-shirts, so the tablets were still out of pocket.
Regardless, the memories of this event will last the remainder of my life, and hopefully we made some people's chemo a little easier.
If you're in a similar situation, celebrate each day you've received. They're precious.