This is the tenth time I’ve sat down to write a publisher’s note for the annual Tri for a Cure issue of Maine Women Magazine. When the event first started in 2007, the founder and then-coordinator for the Tri, Julie Marchese, approached me and asked if Maine Women Magazine would be a sponsor of the event. The rest is history. Together with parent company, Sun Media, we are proud and honored to celebrate 10 years of this incredible event. Inside this issue, you will find compelling stories about the Tri and about cancer and its impact—both the uplifting and the heartbreaking. Look for the Tri for a Cure overview story on page 16.
Most everyone I know has had a personal experience with cancer—if not their own, then with a friend or relative. Sometimes even hearing a story from a friend about someone important to them who is undergoing treatment or just learning of a diagnosis can be a life-changing experience for us. My first experience was when I was in the seventh or eighth grade and learned that the mother of a friend of mine (a boy I had a crush on) had cancer. OK—this is not shocking today—but back then (circa 1975-ish) talking about cancer was TABOO. We didn’t know how to talk about cancer, or any other life-threatening illness, and we certainly did not know how to talk about death and dying. And back then, a cancer diagnosis was almost always a terminal diagnosis.
I learned of this friend’s mom passing on a very sunny spring afternoon when he did not show up for the baseball game. I have never forgotten the shock and sadness that I felt. I went home for dinner and I could not stop crying about it. My own family was less-than-understanding about my sobbing through dinner and I was sent off to my room to deal with my teenage emotions. Over time, and as I matured and looked back on this scene, I have come to realize that my extreme emotional reaction had more to do with recognizing mortality—and oh-my-god what if my mother got cancer—than it had to do with my feelings for this friend or his family. Naturally, I felt bad—but really, I felt scared. I felt scared that this could happen to me (I had not yet lost a close family member), and that thought almost paralyzed me.
Now, about 40 years later, I’ve had many more personal life experiences with cancer—some sad, some happy. In this issue, we are spotlighting some amazing women and their journeys with cancer. Read about two sisters, one an oncology nurse and the other a cancer survivor, who came together to build a business called SaltyGirl Beauty featuring all natural, non-toxic cosmetics (page 12). On page 8, you will meet two other women who have channeled their experiences with cancer into fundraising for the Maine Cancer Foundation through the Tri for a Cure. They do this with love and a lot of good-natured fun and compassion.
This issue is packed with a variety of content that we hope touches more than one aspect of your life. From things to do, things to eat and drink and places to go—we’ve got it covered. We are also introducing a new feature that we are calling “It Happens Here.” This month we are taking a look at sex trafficking in Maine—yes, it happens here, more than you might imagine. Read about this on page 26.
Finally, be sure to look for us at the Maine YogaFest in Portland on July 7–9—such an awesome event—and again at the Tri for a Cure pre-race event on July 22 in South Portland. In the meantime, be sure to follow us on Facebook.