Warriors together at Reach & Raise
Today is Earth Day 2021. As I am looking for a picture of a powerful tree to post on my Facebook wall, I am reminded that today is my seventth cancerversary. Seven years ago I finished six rounds of a chemo cocktail consisting of carboplatin (Paraplatin) and docetaxel (Taxotere). My family surprised me by showing up to the infusion center with a photographer and wigs, feather boas, and beads. My sisters called it “Wigging Out at Megan's last day of chemo.” We cried, we laughed, and we were relieved that I was done.
I was diagnosed with triple-positive breast cancer in 2013, I was quickly embraced by my mother who was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 34 and had three young daughters. Times had changed and treatment was different. I decided that I was going to be transparent about my cancer journey and posted on Facebook about my port placement, chemo round 1, 2, 3, 4, pics of me dancing on stage with a bald head at a George Clinton concert, me teaching spin (indoor cycling). Jean Sachs, MSS, MLSP, from Living Beyond Breast Cancer was told about my diagnosis and called me days after the news and offered LBBC services and support.
A friend told me about a Facebook support ground that consisted mainly of women from Pennsylvania and South Jersey. Warriors Together is a private group and is organically monitored. I instantly found breast cancer sisters that were able to answer questions that I perhaps didn't feel like calling my doc about; I couldn't get enough info. I have been on the receiving end and now I’m happy to be on the giving support side helping folks through their journeys.
Warriors Together is the one place/spot in my life that I feel truly supported and understood. I love that I don’t have to explain myself or my point of view over and over. In fact, I rarely have to explain myself at all. You guys just get it. And I feel loved. It is home. – Tracey Miller
Jean called to check in a few months later, to see how I was doing and asked if I was signed up for Yoga on the Steps, the name used then for Reach & Raise, LBBC’s annual yoga and fundraising event. Yoga was new for me and I was starting to feel the benefits of breath work. I signed up for my first yoga event with LBBC and decided to call my team Warriors Together. Our first year, we were a small group of about 10 women. My sisters had shirts made up that said “Team Megan” and “Warriors Together” on the back. The day was gorgeous and I felt strong as I held Warrior II pose surrounded by my family, friends, and the city of sisterly love. I was hooked.
This year, 2021, will be my eighth Reach & Raise. Warriors Together has become one of the top fundraisers. We went from 10 people in 2014, to over 100 teammates.
I found about Warriors Together back in May 2015 when I went to my first Yoga on the Steps (back then) by myself and I met up with Sarita, who introduced me to Megan. Megan asked if I was with anyone and I told her no I came by myself and Megan was like do you want to join Warriors Together and I said yes.... Best decision I made thanks to our beautiful Sarita. – Co-Captain Roberta Albany
Each year I pick a new color of shirt to wear for the event, but our logo stays the same, designed by the founder of our Warriors Together support group, Tegan Stadnyck. I create a fundraiser campaign with Custom Ink and encourage teammates to purchase Warriors Together gear to wear at the event. All proceeds from the gear goes towards Warriors Together team fundraising. I also have organized and taught outside yoga classes where all donations have also gone to Warriors Together team.
I look forward to every Reach & Raise event. It is a powerful day to reconnect with an organization that has been so close to me from the beginning. I love seeing the little kids get into getting into yoga poses with their moms. It is a day to feel happy to be alive, lucky to live in a city with so many amazing hospitals. It is a day for feel proud.
Join Megan and hundreds of others who have been affected by breast cancer at Reach & Raise: Yoga for a reason, happening virtually on Sunday, May 16. Join a team or start your own at reachandraise.org.