Tag Archives: Avon39

Wild Walkers

My son and my dog are always eager to join me in the woods.

Walking in nature is my favorite medicine. No matter what is happening in life, I come back to the simplicity of breath and the alert wisdom of my senses. The breeze kisses sweat from my brow, my ears fill with the magical mimicry of the mockingbird, and I smell the sweet rot of leaves mixed with pine sap and wet earth. This May will mark the threshold of 5 years since my cancer diagnosis, and I am still conscious that each step forward holds newness and potential. I am deliberate with my walking, not in a way that is urgent or set on a fixed destination, but I walk with gratitude and awareness shaping each step of the journey.

It wasn’t always this easy to move through the woods. I remember how I felt during treatment, when at only 36 years old I gauged each day with a perceived age. My husband Joey would ask, “How do you feel today?” and I might reply, “I’m 87 today,” after  the Neupogen shot left a shattered glass feeling in the bones, or I might say, “I’m only 63 today!” when I was on the upswing between treatments. I forced myself to go out on slow walks down our long gravel driveway, no matter what. The dappled light through the trees brought me out of whatever funk I was  feeling, and helped me have a sense of accomplishment, even if I knew that an extra mid-day nap would be required.

The year after treatment ended, I desperately wanted to get my strength and stamina back. I wanted to give back in a meaningful way too, and help others going through cancer treatment. I signed up for the Avon 39 Walk to End Breast Cancer, and spent months going on longer and longer training walks, preparing my body to make it through the 39 mile trek that would take us all over Manhattan over the course of two days. By mile 34, I was limping with every step. At each rest stop, there was a parked van, taunting me, the driver gently offering to drive me to the finish line, but I refused to stop. I had fought too hard, and come too far to let some blisters get in the way. I held a mantra in my mind with each step thinking, “F*ck Cancer” and repeated that in my mind. I pictured each step as walking towards my health. Then I repeated the names of my friends and family who were still facing their diagnosis, as well as those who had died from cancer. I said their names over and over, each step bringing me closer to the finish line.

I am bringing my love of walking in nature to my local community, coordinating nature walks and hikes twice a month here in the Mid-Hudson Valley of New York. I’ve dubbed the group the, “Wild Walkers”. I’m hoping more cancer survivors will join me, but want to also welcome people who love and support  cancer survivors. Come celebrate life with me, one step at a time.  Visit www.melissaeppardcoaching.com/events for more info on the two types of walks. Make sure your doctor has cleared you for exercise and join me for Walk Gently or Walk Strong, depending on what your body needs.


A little can go a long way

Think about this…
Lunch at a restaurant: $12
Week of coffee: $15
Weekday Happy Hour: $20
Brunch: $30
Mani/Pedi: $50
Dinner and Movies for two: $60
Spa Day: $100
In the next week, how many of you will go out for a coffee, eat lunch out, or go to the movie theater? In lieu of these everyday pleasures, would you consider making a similar size tax deductible donation?
As most of you know, I put up the fight of my life 2014-2015 as I battled Breast Cancer. I am so grateful for the generosity and support that our family received through donations of food, time and money that went towards co-pays and keeping us afloat during that very difficult time.
I know not everyone is as fortunate to have such a great caring community, or find it difficult to even ask for help. Having intimate knowledge of how hard this can be has inspired me to fundraise and walk the AVON 39 -The Walk to End Breast Cancer. It won’t be easy, but that’s why it’s worth it. From now until AVON 39 weekend, I’ll train to strengthen my body to walk over 39 miles in two days. This is also going to serve to get me super healthy and strong before I face surgery again just 2 weeks after this epic walk!
But I need your help again to do this. I am required to raise at least $1,800 to EARN MY 39, and to be able to participate in this walk. I hope that I can count on your support! You can make a donation on my webpage by clicking the “Donate Now” button to the right. If you prefer to write a check, click the “Donate By Mail” button and follow the instructions on the form.
THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT TO ME, SO EVEN IF YOU CAN ONLY CONTRIBUTE A FEW DOLLARS, PLEASE DO. ALSO, DON’T FORGET TO SHARE THIS WITH YOUR NETWORK OF FRIENDS, FAMILY & CO-WORKERS. (If you are receiving this as a forward and want to know about me and my journey, check out my other blog posts where I wrote all through my battle with Breast Cancer.)
Your donations will be managed and disbursed by the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade. The dollars you pledge will put food on the table of a breast cancer patient and her family. They will enable access to mammograms and medicine, fuel research, and save lives. Need any more reason to click that Donate Now button?
I’m walking with thousands of other 39ers. We’re banding together in solidarity and have one goal: to take breast cancer down. So many sisters and mothers and friends have been lost. We see a world without breast cancer for our daughters and nieces. By supporting me with a donation, you’re part of it. I thank you in advance for supporting me in walking the Avon 39. Together we can help so many!
Melissa Eppard
Approximately 230,480 women and 2,140 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer this coming year. I will walk in honor of all these people through Manhattan and back again, through the Upper West and East Sides, Greenwich Village, SoHo, and Chinatown eventually crossing the legendary Brooklyn Bridge on the way to the finish line!
pink shoes