Steps of Hope:
Cancer awareness walks raise more than money
Phil Brabbs is aiming for domination -- which makes sense if you know him as a
former University of Michigan football player. But if you meet Brabbs these days, you wouldn't necessarily think of "domination" as you chat
with this exceedingly polite, laid-back family man. That is, until he tells you about multiple myeloma.
Phil Brabbs channeled his passion by starting the Cancer Kicker Foundation to raise funds for multiple
A day after his 28th birthday, Brabbs was diagnosed with multiple myeloma -- an illness whose median age at diagnosis is 68. Now
30 and married with three young children, Brabbs is determined to find a cure for his disease. While still undergoing aggressive
treatment, he started the Cancer Kicker Foundation to support multiple myeloma research at the University of Michigan
Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The organization taps into volunteers' creativity, providing fund-raising tools for volunteers who would like to raise awareness
as well as dollars. One of the many events Cancer Kicker volunteers are participating in this year is the Dexter-Ann Arbor Run.
"The ultimate mission of the organization is to encourage people to dominate life," Brabbs says. "To live with passion and energy,
and especially for those diagnosed with cancer, to look beyond it and live passionately. I'm living that out, and I'm encouraging
everyone to do that as well."
With that in mind, we've put together the top three reasons our patients have chosen to direct their passion toward participating in cancer
awareness walks. No matter which charity you choose to support, you're likely to gain.
STEP 1: Walk Because Your Cause Is Important
Sisters Emily Avers (right) and
Laura Duda completed the Strides
for Hope half-marathon for the
Cancer Support Community.
Don't be shy about asking for donations. Asking for money may seem daunting, but people like to give to good causes -- especially if
you can convey how important that cause is to you.
When it became clear in 1998 that Emily Avers would need a blood stem-cell transplant to treat her non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, she
turned to her only sibling, Laura Duda. Doctors told her that siblings only have a one in four chance of matching. Laura did. Ten years later,
the sisters decided it was time to commemorate the procedure, which eradicated the cancer. Avers and Duda flew to Jamaica to walk a halfmarathon
for the Cancer Support Community (which at that time was known as The Wellness Community of Southeast Michigan).
"The walk was a celebration of getting to that point," Avers says. We couldn't believe I was all of a sudden cured because no one
wanted to say that word for a long time. But now that I had been cancer-free for so many years, I wanted to involve people in a cause
that we both cared about. We wanted to support not only patients, but the kids and families of cancer survivors. It was easy to gather support
return to the top of the page