Amy Donaldson: Cancer walk offers the chance to honor the life of a beautiful friend
She swore me to secrecy, afraid that if her immediate supervisor found out, he’d find a reason to fire her and she’d lose her insurance. She worked too hard, too long and gave our profession too much of herself. That’s the danger of our work. It can be so satisfying, it gobbles up your life before you realize what’s happening.
The last time I saw Lynn was just two weeks before she passed away last month. I picked her up at the airport and she looked so small, so tired and so frail. But she insisted on doing so much more than her friends and family thought she should.
It was her fierce independence that I admired. It’s what helped her survive in a profession that will eat you up and spit you out if you aren't completely sure of yourself. It helped her record and share in beautiful ways historical events. Her work is the only way fans like me, sitting at home in our Elway jerseys, could experience those magical moments.
She asked the questions that were hard to ask and sometimes harder to answer. She was fearless, aggressive and, like a lot of artists, prickly. She took things personally, and sometimes that made her hard to be around. But it is also what made her diligent and thorough.
Cancer ended her life at age 51, but I don't believe it beat her.
On that very first night, she told me how doctors told her she had six months to live.
Then she laughed.
Like any good reporter, she was never deterred by the first disappointment. Failure is simply not an option when you have a purpose. Roadblocks, detours, setbacks, they’re all a necessary part of success. And, of course, they make for much better war stories.
Lynn DeBruin beat cancer because she never succumbed to the self-pity or sadness. She might have a good cry about the tough stuff life gives to all of us, but then she’d follow that up with a hike, a ski trip, a shopping spree or an afternoon at the spa.
Cancer complicated her life, but it never defeated her.
I will honor her life and her spirit by participating in the Making Strides against Breast Cancer 5-mile walk. More than 232,000 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer and, like Lynn, 40,000 of them will die from the disease. The money raised by the event provides research in curing the disease, but also information for those diagnosed with the disease, as well as mammograms for women who can’t afford them.
Registration starts Saturday at 7:30 a.m. at Liberty Park, and the walk begins at 9 a.m. The walk, like my friendship with Lynn, is not a competition.
It’s about camaraderie and supporting those currently fighting for their lives. It’s about clinging to one another when the footing is unsure and making each other laugh when the situation becomes too dark.
And for me, it’s about honoring my brave, beautiful sister.
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