Registration opened – and they were off! Blue Footed Boobies flocked in by the numbers creating a virtual team, taking action and raising funds for our sixth annual Walk with Love.
We know what you’re thinking…the WHAT flocked in? Blue Footed Boobies? The same question buzzed through the DSLRF office, and like we are doing with breast cancer, we decided to get to the bottom of this and get some answers.
We took a moment to get to know the leaders of this fantastic flock; Jeanne Rees and Liz Gardner, and we invite you to enjoy their amazing story:
DSLRF: Blue Footed Boobies? Where did this name come from and why did you choose this to represent your Walk with Love team?
Liz: I met my first Blue Footed Booby during a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Galápagos Islands in 2007, where I fell in love with these tenacious, powerful, lovely birds with funky, blue clown-feet. After my breast cancer diagnosis in 2008, I was desperate to reclaim that slice of invincibility that I had lost after undergoing several surgeries. I registered for a breast cancer walk, creating my team, the Blue Footed Boobies, with the intention to gather friends and family to join me, and to have the Boobies’ awesome spirit infuse our every step with strength, joy, and LOVE. After walking three annual breast cancer events in a row, raising nearly $100K for breast cancer research, and skiing to raise money for the American Cancer Society, the Boobies, who have grown from one to nearly thirty, are proud to gather again for the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation’s Walk with Love. Once a Booby, always a Booby. With Boobies all over the country, the Blue Footed Boobies are walking for everyone, everywhere!
DSLRF: There is definitely power in numbers. Who are the Blue Footed Boobies and how did you come together?
Jeanne: We are all associated with a boarding school, Northfield Mount Hermon, in western Massachusetts. There was an enormous amount of support from the NMH community for us as we walked in our first fundraising walk in 2009. The following year another woman in the community was diagnosed with breast cancer. She and other people whose lives had been touched by breast cancer (as survivors, caregivers, relatives, and friends) joined the group: 13 of us walked again in 2010.
Living and working at a boarding school means there are few lines between your professional and personal lives. We live and work in a wonderful community in which people care about and take care of each other. I think that the success of our group (in recruiting others to walk, in raising money and doing the actual walk) can be attributed to this sense of community.
In the fall of 2011, a student came to NMH whose father had recently been diagnosed with brain cancer. She decided to start the Cancer Support Team, a group of students who have done many events to raise money and awareness for all types of cancers. This year she is actively working with us to recruit students to join the Blue Footed Boobies for Walk with Love.
DSLRF: Jeanne – Your life has also been personally touched by breast cancer. Can you tell us about this?
Jeanne: I was diagnosed with cancer in my right breast in the fall of 2002. My surgeon was Susan Troyan, a remarkable woman who trained with Dr. Susan Love. In the spring of 2006, a tumor was found in my left breast. Following my second diagnosis, my oncologist suggested genetic testing – and I turned out to be BRCA2 positive. With this in mind, I decided to have my ovaries removed in 2008. In December of 2010, I then discovered that I had uterine cancer, followed by a third diagnosis of cancer in my left breast. I have been extremely lucky; all of my cancers have been detected incredibly early. I have had wonderful care and wonderful doctors, and an amazing circle of friends who have supported me. I also have an incredible husband and two wonderful sons!
DSLRF: Why DSLRF? Why Walk with Love?
Jeanne: For the Boobies, we are inspired by the Foundation’s focus on finding the cause(s) of breast cancer and preventing it. This is where the research should be. There would be no need to find a cure if the disease didn’t exist. We are committed to being a part of something bigger – and we believe in the work that the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation is doing. Looking for possible causes seems to be outside the “mainstream,” and the Foundation’s progressive approach may finally get us there. I live in a community of approximately 400 people and more than 20 women have been diagnosed with breast cancer in last 20 years – there is something going on here and we need to figure it out. This is why the Blue Footed Boobies are teaming with Love for this year’s Walk with Love!
If you’d like to support the Blue Footed Boobies in achieving their fundraising goal, visit their team page!
To learn more about Walk with Love and register to participate, visit walkwithlove2013.kintera.org.