You may recognize eHarmony couple Sam and Debbie from our television ads. We loved them because their love for each other leapt off the screen. Get to know them a little better through Sam’s story of love, and how he, along with friends and family, supported Debbie at this year’s Race for the Cure in Salt Lake City, Utah.
My wife Debbie and I met via eHarmony in June 2008. We have been inseparable ever since. As Debbie and I were getting to know each other via telephone conversations, Debbie told me that she was a breast cancer survivor.
Right after Debbie’s youngest child was born, she went to her six-week appointment and they found a lump in her breast. The rest of the story is a whirlwind. She ended up having a double mastectomy and all the trauma that went along with being diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 27.
I remember the first conversation we had about the cancer. Debbie said that we needed to have a “boob” talk. Like most men I was EXCITED to hear this!!! Well, the story was not quite what I was envisioning. It was deeper, more meaningful and made me love her more! I was not scared, intimidated and I accepted her, scars and all!
So, for Mother’s Day this year, Debbie asked the kids, some friends, and me to run the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. We signed everyone up and we had a goal to raise $500. We did GREAT—we raised almost $1000 and Debbie and I had our own little competition to see who could raise the most money. I KICKED HER BUTT!!!!
I had no idea how this race would affect me. When we got to the race, I could not believe how many people and how many survivors were there! I had such mixed emotions: sadness, happiness, inspiration from all the strong women that have been through it and are currently going through it. When the race started and 20,000 people cheered and took off, it was breathtaking. When we finished, they announced they would be doing a survivor walk. So Debbie went to the “Pink Cafe” where all the survivors met. We heard bag pipes and then all the pink shirts of the survivors followed. While the crowd cheered and many tears flowed, I was so proud to see my wife in the line of survivors!!!
The day of the race marked Debbie’s 11-year, 9-month, and 3-day cancer-free date. We celebrate on August 5th each year as a remembrance. Debbie calls it her birthday, not an anniversary, because she said she was born again that day. My wife is an incredibly strong woman and this event made me realize what she might have went through 11 years, 9 months, and 3 days ago. I did not know her when she had cancer, but I know the impact her cancer has had on me. You don’t hear Debbie complain of scars, or the experience EVER. She has the most incredible positive attitude I have ever seen. People will occasionally ask her about the breast cancer or bring it up. She is not embarrassed by it and always will tell people what they want to know with ease.
Debbie said there is a 3-day walk coming up, and I guess I will someday be lacing my shoes for that! What a great experience that would be, but until then—every year, the day before Mother’s Day, you will find this proud husband “hiking for hooters” at Salt Lake’s Race for the Cure!!!