It's been six years since the first Run4Rett in Ontario. As many of you know, it was the inspiration of Abby's aunt, Judy. She thought it would be a fun way to raise money and awareness for Rett syndrome. We had just been to our first O.R.S.A. conference in Ottawa (2004) and saw all the great work done by the Ontario Rett Syndrome Association. The whole family soon got involved and the idea developed into the major annual fundraiser for O.R.S.A. It took a real team effort to make it work, but the bulk of the energy and organization came from Judy.
This year has been a challenging year for Judy. Last summer, she was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer. She's been through surgery and a grueling six months of chemotherapy. She has put a positive face forward through all the difficult days.
Naturally, Abby wanted to do something to honour Judy this time. Rett syndrome leaves a person almost completely dependent on others. What could she do to contribute and be a helper for a change?
When I explained the idea to Abby, she got excited right away and she didn't hesitate to agree to do it. She got to "tell" her class all about it the week before and they were full of questions about what would happen to her hair. Abby thoroughly enjoyed being the centre of attention for the day!
Twelve inches of Abby's hair was donated and she was sent a thank-you certificate from the organization. She has been proudly strutting around with her new look ever since.
I thought Abby might agree to participate in this, but I completely underestimated the how excited she would be to be the giver, instead of the recipient, for a change. It really does feel better to give than to receive. Something to keep in mind with anyone who depends on others for so much. The whole process turned out to be a gift to Abby.
Abby got her hair cut in April, during cancer awareness month. In June, she will join our whole family in the Relay for Life. Most people are now closely affected by someone who has cancer. Abby's Grandma Liz has also been struggling with cancer full time. We will walk in honour of Judy and Liz especially this year.