Why We Walk: Arpita Patel
The tricky thing about some cancers is that most of the time it doesn't present itself by rearing its ugly head with loud noises or explosions (pardon my GI humor).
Instead it starts with subtle signs and symptoms, such as fatigue, weight loss, or decreased appetite. Then, the symptoms worsen as it grows. If there is one thing I have learned in my personal and professional experience, it's that no one knows their body better than themselves. It's important to trust your gut instincts.
I have known "Mommy Wells," as I lovingly refer to her, for several years. The Wellses have been like a second family to me. I would describe, Sharon as an active and athletic woman. She has hustled up the Hancock in less than 15 minutes. So, when she was winded just climbing one flight of stairs during a family outing, we all knew that something else was going on.
As a health care provider, I am sure she knew that something was off, too. She trusted those instincts, which led her to seek other opinions and ultimately led to her early diagnosis of colon cancer.
She bravely faced a battery of tests and a surgery. Through it all she never stopped being a mom or a wife. She used her humor and positive thinking to put her family's worries to ease. She was more concerned about how her boys would handle and deal with the diagnosis and arranged for their support instead of her own.
I guess that is what makes Mommy Wells such a great mom.
But, what makes Mommy Wells an extraordinary person is how she took the opportunity to learn from her situation and educate the public by bringing the Get Your Rear In Gear campaign to her community.
The work that goes into coordinating and planning a charity run is a large endeavor which shows how ambitious and dedicated the Wells family is to this cause.
Last year, I was so happy to see the community support and fundraising we were able to accomplish and I hope we can do it again this year. It's inspiring to see families, friends, health care workers, and neighbors come out to honor survivors, remember loved ones, and celebrate life.
Being a part of this event has helped me create new and meaningful friendships. For example, last year I met a beautiful and strong woman named Sana Mahmood. She is a kind, brave, and optimistic fighter. How she carries herself and remains strong is inspiring and I'm lucky to know her. I gave something to the walk and in return it's given me support and friendship with some amazing people
This year I'll volunteer and participate with my family to celebrate two beautiful people -- Sharon Wells and Sana Mahmood. They are the embodiment of courage to me.
I hope that the suburbs rally and come together to support this wonderful cause, if not for these two amazing women, then for someone they know who has been affected by cancer.