Most of you know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But did you know that our area has the highest rate of breast cancer and one of the highest incidences of late-stage breast cancer in the nation? Not only do many women not have basic access to screening or treatment, a large number aren’t given vital information about the latest developments in breast cancer treatment to make an informed decision. To address these needs, the National Breast Center Foundation is very excited to bring a breast cancer walk back to Alexandria.
This Sunday’s Walk to Bust Cancer will help us raise awareness and funds to help turn the tide. The day will bring together breast cancer survivors and their families, those currently facing the disease, and anyone who wishes to walk to show their support.
One such survivor is Delia Sullivan. Delia is part of the Walk to Bust Cancer organizing committee and her words below embody the spirit of the event, and serve as a powerful reminder of why we need to continue to raise awareness: so that every woman in Alexandria is supported and has the best chance not only to survive, but truly live.
Martha Carucci is an author and the Executive Director of the National Breast Center Foundation. Its inaugural Walk to Bust Cancer walk will be held 8am, this Sunday, October 16, 2016 at Fort Hunt Park. Visit www.walktobustcancer.org to register.
After my breast cancer diagnosis in 2013, Breast Cancer Awareness month has been a reminder to “live more fully alive!”
I’ll never forget the day a stranger stopped me in a store with these gentle words “I just wanted to say I have been in your place and have made a full recovery. You will be okay and soon feel more alive than ever.”
When she approached me I was startled because for a moment I was admiring the beautiful items in the shop and forgotten I was sick. I was still bald and had forgotten until she reminded me, “oh yeah, I have cancer.” I was touched by her compassion and for a moment realized everything will be okay and
I was already living more fully alive.
By fully alive I don’t mean spread myself too thin and “DO” too much. It’s so easy for us to overcommit and let our mind become so cluttered with worries and judgments that we can’t see clearly to our hearts. Keeping my heart full includes writing handwritten notes of encouragement to newly diagnosed women with breast cancer, and teaching yoga with compassion and encouragement to all my students, not just cancer patients. The lesson is to listen to your heart and find what makes you feel fully alive. Not what you think you should “do,” but what makes you feel more alive.
Delia Sullivan gets a kiss from her daughter during treatment three years ago. Photo credit: Rashmi Pappu
During my treatment in 2013, my husband, daughter, niece, and I walked with a community of people in a breast cancer walk in Old Town. As a patient at the time, it was so moving to see families, co-workers, patients, and survivors walk together on a cool crisp fall morning to bring awareness and to honor survivors plus beautiful souls who were not as lucky. Today, I am happy to be part of the committee organizing the National Breast Center Foundation’s first “Walk to Bust Cancer.”
This Sunday, come join our community for crisp fall walk in Ft. Hunt Park and bring family and friends. In the meantime, listen with your heart and less with your head! How can YOU live more fully alive?
Delia Sullivan is a native Alexandrian, where she lives with her husband and three children. When not working as a yoga teacher and professional photographer, she can be found on the river standup paddle boarding early mornings or evenings at sunset. For more info visit http://www.deliasullivanphoto.com/.
How do you spend your time? Most days are a combination of my work as a photographer including photographing clients in various locations, teaching yoga, taking guitar lessons, volunteering, and family time. Family time includes enjoying lots of activities with our daughter, our youngest, who is a senior in high school! We also are helping to plan a wedding as our oldest son is engaged!
Neighborhood: Villamay currently, but lived in Old Town, Rosemont, and Del Ray over the years.
What is your hometown? Lucky to be a native Alexandrian!
What would surprise people about you? I like solitude as much as I like socializing
You’re a superhero: what’s your superpower? Blink and a healthy meal would be provided to anyone and everyone at all times!
Favorite cocktail: Mt Gay and OJ
Last book read or movie seen: Gifts from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Guilty Pleasure: Nap in a hammock
Phrase you overuse: Check out this photo…
Bucket list travel destination: Bali, Sundance Film Festival, El Camino in Spain, back to Greece
If you only could have one for the rest of your life: wine or coffee? I love wine, but actually I’d prefer an HONEST tea.
Define your style in three words or less: Casual, relaxed, natural
Heels or flats? Not a fan of either. I prefer flip flops, cowboy boots, and clogs to be honest.
Favorite way to entertain: Spontaneous, simple + casual. For me it’s more about visiting with the people then being in the kitchen.
Clutter-free or well-lived in? Well lived in and proud of it!
Your go-to work-out: I like to mix it up. I combination of yoga, stand up paddle boarding, tennis, walking, an occasional hike. Usually not all in one day!
Fitness goal: To complete my annual paddle board race with a faster time in 2017.
Haven’t yet, but might be willing to try with coaching / encouragement: Kitesurfing
Proudest fitness achievement: Competing in my first stand up paddleboard race five months post-cancer treatment.
Favorite spot in Alexandria: Near the water, Belle Haven Marina
How do you spend your time? Working and being a mom; writing.
How long have you lived in Alexandria: 25 years
What is your hometown? Pittsfield, Massachusetts
What brought you to Alexandria? Work — lobbying
What would surprise people about you? That I wrote a book
Favorite cocktail: Mocktail — Jinja
Last book read or movie seen: Sobrietease – I wrote it ☺
Guilty Pleasure: Ice cream
Phrase you overuse: What’s happening?
Facebook or Instagram? Facebook
Latest binge-watch: Reruns of Modern Family
Bucket list travel destination: Egypt
Define your style in three words or less: Tailored + classic
The go-to piece in your wardrobe: Black turtleneck sweater
Favorite current trend: Ripped jeans
Beauty product you can’t live without: Concealer
Last item bought for your home: Candles. I love candles.
Proudest fitness achievement: Shooting a 77 in golf
Favorite spot in Alexandria: The sledding hill in Waynewood when it snows
Last purchase in Alexandria: Dress at Kiskadee
Favorite charity: National Breast Center Foundation
Favorite annual Alexandria event: Walk to Bust Cancer!