Little did we know it, but that moment in time would be the beginning of a journey. A journey that, if someone had described in words, we wouldn’t have believed it.
When my wife was diagnosed, we had only been married five years. We had a two year old son (The Boy you’ve read about) and a six month old daughter (the fish kisser). We were living the perfect life – a wonderful marriage, two incredible babies, a little suburban home - the life fairy tales are written about.
When the oncologist confirmed the diagnosis we both felt like we had been sucker-punched in the gut. That day started a new chapter in our lives, one filled with the expected fears, sorrow, and pain that accompanies such a devastating illness.
I often say that our “faith and family” are what helped us get through those dark days. After dealing with the shock and immediacy of situation, my wife and I made a distinct decision one day. And that decision was that we were going to live with cancer, despite how things may ultimately end up. We had very young family and it would not be fair to let the disease rule our lives while we were engaged on the battlefield of cancer. We chose to live.
And live we did. I am so proud of my courageous wife, for all she endured and the spirit in which she persevered. Seven years later I beam when I tell people that she is living cancer-free and considered to be cured.
If you’ve read this far, I appreciate your indulgence and promise this really does have something to do with the outdoors!
Last week one of my favorite hunting magazines arrived in the mail and as soon as I got in the house I plopped down on the couch and began thumbing the pages like an excited school girl looking through her first Teen magazine. I LOVE it when my hunting and outdoor magazines arrive. They sustain me during the Spring and Summer months when the only thing I’m shooting are clay pigeons at the local Sporting Clays course.
As I turned the pages I came across an article talking about the explosion of pink-colored gear targeted at women in the outdoors. There were accompanying pictures of some very colorful outdoor products – everything from guns to arrows to binoculars and the like.
The fascination with pink products is relatively new, but there has been several writings written over the past year about them and whether outdoorswomen find them attractive or offensive. Some of my favorite blog peeps, like Deer Passion and NorCal Cazadora, have written on the subject.
But what struck home about the story in the magazine wasn’t the pink products – which I honestly don’t get; do woman really look at this stuff and say, “Ohhhh, piiiiinnnnkkkk, must have!”, and buy it knowing that it is pretty much impractical to use in the field. But I digress, that’s another post.
What struck home about the article was the description of a pink product that I can get behind; pink arrows from Victory Archery of San Diego. The reason I was drawn to it was that Victory has a campaign called the Pink Arrow Project. The company makes and sells their VForce arrows in pink, with the majority of the profits going to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Now that is just too cool.
I contacted Bart Lawhorn, Victory’s general manager, and asked him how and why they started the Pink Arrow Project. Bart said the idea came about in 2007 at an International Bowhunting Organization National Triple Crown in Erie, PA where for the first time, his wife of 27 years came to help set up the Victory product booth. Bart had made several pink arrows for a young girl that is on Victory’s National Shooting Staff and when Christa saw the arrows, the idea sprung to mind. As a nurse, Christa has been around cancer patients her whole career so the idea was natural.
When several people came by the Victory booth and asked how they could purchase the pink arrows, Christa quickly orchestrated that they would offer them for sale in October, since October is breast cancer awareness month.
Bart says that he receives hundreds of calls and emails about the project, which now donates a large portion of Victory’s profits to this project. Bart says that anybody can help, even if you don’t shoot a bow.
In fact, yours truly doesn’t archery hunt, but I’d buy a few pink arrows from Victory just to support the cause. I admire any company like Victory for their commitment to making a difference. With funding from efforts like this we have made great strides at increasing the cure rates for breast cancer.
If you know someone struggling with breast cancer or simply want to be part of the cure, there are wonderful resources through organizations like the American Cancer Society, and Susan G. Komen For the Cure. Or, simply buy a pink arrow from Victory and slip it in your quiver or put it on you shelf to show your support.
My wife and children personally thank you.