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My Reason: Lady Di

by on March 15, 2012

A.J. and I thought we should explain how we came to embark on this adventure of ours.

We are Zeta Tau Alpha sisters.  Honesty, ZTA is the only reason we know each other.  As such, we “should” be focusing our efforts toward ZTA’s chosen philanthropy – Breast Cancer Education and Awareness.

Clearly, we have other thoughts about this particular focus.

But how did we come by those other thoughts?  Well, it’s a little different and a little bit the same for each of us.

Here’s my story….

I’d never known anyone with ovarian cancer before I met Diane.  I’d known a few people indirectly who’d had breast cancer but I never given ovarian cancer much thought.

Diane was (funny, I typed is) a good friend’s boss at the National Academies of Science.  We only met a few times over the course of a few years and I never knew her pre-cancer.

But Diane was a woman who doesn’t leave you.  She made a huge impression on everyone she met.

She was such an exuberant liver of life.

She was tiny and full of energy, laughter, and irreverence.

She often had a motherly streak.

She loved Alan Jackson.  A group of us all went to an Alan Jackson concert in ‘03 and there was no sitting on the lawn for her, she had to be up close to soak it all in.  There are times even today when I’ll catch an Alan Jackson song on the radio and think of her.

We started participating in the Northern Virginia NOCC chapter’s annual 5k in Reston with her as Lady Di’s Divas… or Lady Di’s Burninators.depending on the year.  Now we run in her memory.

She lost her battle with ovarian cancer on May 1st, 2007.

We know she’s watching over us, watching all our antics, and cheering on the crazy life decisions that we make.  I feel like she’s looking down on me and going “Finally. It took you long enough to do something.”  I know my friend considers Diane her personal guardian angel.

During the very first NoVA NOCC race that I participated in (which was probably ‘04), one of my very first thoughts was “why isn’t ZTA’s philanthropy ovarian cancer awareness? the ribbon is the perfect color.”  My thinking being that the teal ovarian cancer ribbons are so close to ZTA’s turquoise, it was like it was meant to be.

Sounds just like a sorority girl, right?

Since then I’ve watched breast cancer awareness become mass marketed and commercialized to the point that it began to lose its appeal.  I started to feel that it wasn’t possible for anyone to be more “aware” of breast cancer and that maybe we should start looking to raise awareness for other kinds of cancer.

I certainly don’t begrudge any research money for breast cancer cures – breast cancer research is still cancer research and helps all kinds of cancer – but, really, I think we’re all “aware” at this point.

Also during this time, I’ve begun to feel that in entering into a corporate partnership with Susan G Komen, the ZTA Foundation has, shall we say, saddled itself to the wrong horse.  There are days when the Greek system gets enough of its own poor press that there doesn’t seem to be a good reason to align itself with an organization that time and time again receives scathing press.

The recent run-in between Komen and Planned Parenthood (whether or not you agree with the organizations involved and/or their decisions) was the final impetus that I needed to begin working toward a change.

Thankfully, I gained a partner in change.

– Marcy

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