Despite the challenge of torrential rain at the 2013 SEA Blue Prostate Cancer Walk & Run, we were very pleased with the number of people who braved the elements to participate in the event. It demonstrated how much people care about this cause and about those who are affected by prostate cancer.
The event this year raised more than $340,000 through sponsors, teams, individual participants and donors. We thank you for helping to fund our vital mission of prostate cancer Support, Education and Advocacy – SEA Blue. We’re already looking forward to raising even more money and awareness next year, which will be the 10th Annual SEA Blue Prostate Cancer Walk & Run. It's tentatively slated for either Sunday, September 14, or Sunday, September 21, 2014. SAVE THE DATES!
About one man in six will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, which is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men. African American men have a prostate cancer incidence rate up to 60 percent higher than that of Caucasian men; and double the mortality rate. The SEA Blue event is the culmination of thousands of people who have a personal connection to the battle with prostate cancer. We truly appreciate all of the sponsors, participants, donors and volunteers who made this year’s event so meaningful for so many.
The experience was especially significant for Mindy Kissinger, who lost her father, Byron Ross Hudson (pictured below), to prostate cancer one month before the walk. We thank Mindy for sharing her story and we extend our sincere sympathy to her along with her family and the members of Team Byron.
My dad had been sick with prostate cancer for a long time. But over the last year his health took a drastic turn for the worse. For Father's day I thought it would be very encouraging for him to know that a group was getting together to run in his honor at the 2013 SEA Blue event. At the time I was hoping that he would be able to join us.
So on Father's day I gave him the gift of community. I made a Facebook page and invited family, friends, and church members to come to the SEA Blue Walk & Run to honor my dad, Byron, and, of course, to also raise awareness and funding for prostate cancer. My dad was brought to tears at the thought that people cared enough to travel, spend money, and run or walk for him.
I had never really thought about what it would be like if my dad passed away before the event took place. But that is how life happened. My dad lost his battle to prostate cancer at the age of 55 just one month before the SEA Blue Walk & Run.
I appreciated all of the support for my dad that I was expecting from those present at the event. But I also found that there was more support for my family and me than I had imagined. Even though it was so soon after his passing, I was deeply helped by this event. Grief can be extremely isolating. My participation in the run helped me to feel supported and to know that I wasn't alone.
It also brought my family together. We hadn't had a family reunion on my dad's side for quite some time. The SEA Blue event provided us with a unifying purpose and an opportunity for us to spend much-needed time together after the event.
I couldn't help but think of my dad the entire time I was at the SEA Blue Walk & Run. He was a wonderful person, father and friend. Carrying the flag with his name on it was a difficult and powerful task. As we made our way through Lincoln Park I kept thinking how happy and proud my dad would have been.
It’s not been easy during these past few months. But the SEA Blue Walk & Run gave me something to look forward to, it provided me with a physical activity to do in my dad's honor, and it reinforced the support of the prostate cancer community. It’s a beautiful event. I know I’ll be back again.
In the Team Byron photo above taken at the event, Mindy Kissinger is standing to the left of the team flag. As we read Mindy’s story, we are reminded of the importance and true meaning behind SEA Blue: Support, Education and Advocacy. The SEA Blue event helps to support those who are surviving prostate cancer, as well as those honoring the memory of loved ones lost to the disease.
We hope you will join us on September 14 or 21, 2014.
Our best to you all,