Why? Why would some decidedly non-morning people willingly get up early on a Sunday morning and head outside to run (or at least walk as fast as they can) around a Johns Hopkins campus?
Well, here are our four major motivations:
--to raise money for the Johns Hopkins University Kelly Gynecologic Oncology Service and all of the amazing work that they do, including innovative research into detecting and treating “below the belt” gynecologic cancers, as well as supporting the women and families affected by these terrible diseases. Selfishly, we hope this research leads to a breakthrough that knocks Bethany's cancer into remission so that her diagnosis can lose the word "terminal."
--to raise desperately-needed awareness for the signs and symptoms of “below the belt” cancers in hopes that even one woman will see a doctor early on and maybe be spared having her cancer become stage 4.
--because too many people with cancer are no longer with us to walk or run and this seems more productive than simply yelling “F🔥🔥🔥 CANCER” or “CANCER SUCKS” (as true as those statements are).
--to celebrate the doctors, nurses, technicians, friends, family, and community members who have kept Bethany moving forward and doing her damndest to thrive regardless of what obstacles cancer throws in her way.
If you will be in the area on May 20 and would like to walk or run with our team, we’d love for you to join us. If you’d like to donate, that would be great. Seriously, even if you just want to give up one coffee this week and throw a few dollars into the pot, we'll appreciate it mightily. Little donations add up.
We know there are many great causes, please consider donating and increasing the hope for better days ahead. Regardless of whether you’re walking, running, and/or donating, what we most want you to do is to read the common signs and symptoms of “below the belt” cancers and then tell at least one friend, male or female, about the list and ask them to tell one friend.
When Bethany first got sick, she brushed off her symptoms as just signs of stress and tried to tough them out. It’s normal not to know these signs and symptoms. Thankfully, we can change what’s normal.
Common signs and symptoms of "below the belt" cancers
· An unusually long or heavy period
· Unusual vaginal bleeding or discharge
· Trouble urinating
· Pelvic pain
· Pain during intercourse
· Abdominal or back pain
· Changes in bathroom habits
· Changes in the vulva
These symptoms aren't always cancer. They could be relatively easy-to-remove fibroids or something else that can be fixed fairly quickly. However, it's important if you're experiencing any of these symptoms to talk to a doctor. If your doctor dismisses your concerns or fails to give you an exam, seek a second opinion.
Seeking a second opinion after Bethany’s first doctor failed her was what led to her cancer being discovered and is quite literally the primary reason she is still alive today. Learn more about below the belt cancers on the CDC's website. Read Bethany's blog to see how she continues choosing and fighting to live and laugh.