Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Mudmoiselle Effect

As I mentioned before, I was asked to be a "Mud Ambassador" for the 2016 Mudmoiselle run in the Beaver Valley at Talisman Resort near Kimberley, Ontario, Canada.  I was honoured from the start, but also a bit nervous. 

Obviously, I openly share my cancer story at any given moment...blog...public speaking...etc.  Usually I take the opportunity in stride, motivated to try to help others avoid at least some of the challenges I have met, but the odd time I do find it overwhelmingly emotional.  Melanoma Monday this year was like that, I was very sensitive and almost backed out at the last moment.  

I am happy to share, it is cathartic for me, but even after all this time I still sometimes have an anxiety attack from the fear in which I live.  BUT.... buoyed by the support of my family, friends, fellow Ambassadors, and the organizers of the event, I stomped that fear and jumped on the Mudmoiselle train in my bright pink shirt. 

From the moment I began talking about the event on social media, I received texts and messages from friends all over saying they wanted to participate.  Crazy ladies - I posted the previous years' videos and photos and made sure they all knew I wasn't myself doing the run but I would be there to cheer them on - and they did it!  

Some old friends (like haven't seen them since Ukrainian school in Sarnia almost 30 years ago old!) and some new friends, with whom I have vowed to get Mudmoiselle tattoos in preparation for next year!! haha..just kidding on that one, not sure about the tattoo part.  
All these lovely ladies dived into the event head first so to speak, raising pledges to smash our team goal, getting their friends to join in the fun, and showing up on a pouring rain muddy ski hill to fight the cancer fight.  

 The Crazy Mud Sisters - my Uky childhood friends from Sarnia :-)

Seeing my friends and all of the other 300+ women so pumped up to have fun for such a huge cause made me feel incredibly humble, and empowered, at the same time.  

My emotional moment was private, from my viewpoint partway (a very tiny part) up the hill; looking down across the organized area all set up, the music pumping, the obstacles shiny and ready, and I felt ready too.  I felt like a survivor.  I felt like the kind of person these women might be thinking of as they were getting muddy for their families and friends. I was ready to represent.  

I was given the honour of representing those who could not join us that day, and of being a symbol of hope to anyone who may need it, now or in future.  All of the Ambassadors were.  We all had our own reasons for being there, but I know they were mixed with the honour of simply being alive, and being able to keep kicking the crap out of cancer.    

The well-spoken DJ for the day made a very good point that hit home for many of us:  100% of people are touched by cancer.  

We ALL know someone who is or has been fighting the cancer fight, is or has cared for someone, or lost someone in a cancer battle... it was a heavy point but an effective theme for the day.  300+ Mudmoiselles wore their names proudly and fought to overcome the obstacles of the day.  Rain, mud, sweat, tears, smiles and cheers - it was all there - in the name of fighting cancer. 

Very powerful! And so inspiring.  I got to personally THANK so many of the muddy ladies as I gave them their medals at the finish line.  I felt like I was somehow giving back to them at least a tiny bit of the grit and effort that showed on their faces as they overcame all sorts of challenges to arrive at the finish line smiling and triumphant.  

I felt so energized by the day, and that strength is still sticking with me.  It's incredible.  Thank YOU Mudmoiselles, thank you Canadian Cancer Society, thank you friends near and far, thank you to everyone involved.  For donations and media, organizers and volunteers, for the hugs and the cheers of encouragement, I will remain grateful.  

Mudmoiselle in the Beaver Valley September 10, 2016 will always be in my memory books as stellar. 

Thought I'd share some photos in addition to the ones I or Bluewater Canadian Cancer Society put on facebook... enjoy!

These are the shirts Sonya had made up for "Natalie's Team(s)" - everyone generously donated to "buy" the shirts and then Sonya and Greg donated the money back to the event!  Thanks All!  *honoured*





Oh and my kiddos were Volunteers for the day as well, they helped run a couple of the obstacles - was SO fun!  Can't wait 'til next year!! 

Thank you to Save Your Skin Foundation for the UV indicator bracelets and key chains for the event - next year we'll need some more ;-)  ---^


Photos are all mine except where hyperlinked... thanks!  

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