Breast Cancer Killed my Mom 10 Years Ago

Posted on October 17, 2010


It has also killed friends’ mothers and more than likely some of your friends’ mothers, too. The fact of the matter is this disease needs to be cured…..period!

October is designated Pinktober in honor of fighting and surviving breast cancer. The NFL turns their jerseys pink, the Amway Center lights up pink, Panera Bread does pink bagels, and my wife even dyed a strip of her hair pink last year for the month.

One of my favorite events, however, is the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. This is a nationwide event, where we can support it in Florida while my sister and her family do so in Texas. It has raised millions for breast cancer research, and hopefully this will all lead to a cure soon.

Why am I blogging about this on Well, because it ties into how families and swimming go hand-in-hand. Three of my best friends, Blue Dolfin coaches Charlie Rose and Kevin Meisel as well as former Blue Dolfin swimmer Brandon Bryant and I have all lost a parent to some form of cancer. And we were there for each other for each parent’s loss. We all knew each others parents as if they were our own, and so we each felt the pain and heart ache that comes with saying good bye much too early. Growing up my swim team was just an extension of my family and they still provide support even today.

This is the family-type atmosphere that I believe a swim team should provide to all its members. I strive hard to do this as a coach. So, I was extremely moved when one of my current swim parents, Teri Gilbert, told me she was participating in this year’s Race for the Cure. She wanted to ask me for my mom’s name in order to put it on a poster for the “In memory of” portion of the walk. I was touched, a little choked up in fact.

This reaching out from Teri Gilbert reminded me of that and it got to me. Wow, swimming is a great family to be associated with. What other sport will keep you with the same group of athletes and parents from beginner through college and beyond? Not many!

I wish that all my swimming brothers and sisters hug their moms a bunch this month, and remember they are absolutely golden and they are the glue that keeps things together. If you are a young swimmer, one day you will know what I am talking about.

All of Us Need to Pay Attention
According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women in the U.S., and more than 200,000 women are diagnosed each year. More than 11,000 of those cases belong to Floridians.

“I wish I had known how prevalent it is,” said Vanessa Echols, WFTV Channel 9 news anchor and founder of Compassionate Hands and Hearts breast cancer outreach. “Now there are people in their 20s and 30s being diagnosed, it’s not just older women.” With breast cancer now affecting 1 in 8 women, as well as some men, in the U.S., Echols hopes that students will take interest in the issue.1

Thanks Teri
Thanks Teri for thinking of my mom and my family! You are a thoughtful and caring person who I won’t forget. Thank you for reinforcing that swimming is more than coaching kids and leaving, but more of a family that sticks together as times get tough.

To get more involved in the fight against breast cancer, please visit,

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