REMEMBER ONLY YOU CAN HELP COMBAT OVARIAN CANCER
GAIL PURTAN FUND
KARMANOS CANCER INSTITUTE
4100 JOHN R DETROIT, MI 48201
"IN MEMORY OF MARY LOGSDON" - IN NOTE SECTION OF CHECK
AUGUST 27, 2006 - "WALK THIS WAY, TALK THIS WAY…"
This morning the rain could be heard hitting the roof of the house and it was not a soft "romantic" type of rain. This was a let's get everything soaked kind of rain. It didn't let up as we drove toward the Detroit Zoo. We would be performing in the rain today.
I am the director of a truly unique music group. Over 30 years ago Mary and I started the 1st Michigan Colonial Fife and Drum Corps. If you want to have some idea of what this is all about, visit www.1stmichigan.com and learn more about early music, 1st Michigan style. Today marked the first time in three months that I was able to Drum Major for the extended family that is the 1st Michigan. Were it not for this group of people, along with my family, I don't think I would have made it through my wife's illness and subsequent death.
They were then and are now, my lifeline. Today we performed at the Detroit Zoo. Why would a bunch of us dressed in Colonial garb and performing on Colonial Instruments volunteer to stand in the rain and belt out fife and drum music? We did this because this day at the zoo was in remembrance of women who had passed away from cancers. It was also done to raise awareness and money for research to eradicate the cancers that invade women's bodies. Prior to the kickoff of the Cancer walk, we were able to meet and talk with many who were cancer survivors. We also met and talked with many who were there to remember lost loved ones.
So many of those walking clapped for the corps as it played the music that helped create a country. So many mouthed or spoke the words "thank you" that it became difficult for me to speak. Earlier in my travels around the country, one of the subscribers to the web page had said that I was "amazing". I argued the point, saying that all I did was do something that I enjoy doing. I like riding my motorcycle. These women who undergo radiation and chemo treatments and x rays and mammograms and all the tests that can be thought of to make them uncomfortable are the amazing ones. They fight; FIGHT; for everything that they achieve. I ride a motorcycle. I also direct a musical unit that created a tool to remember one of their loved ones. We are not surgeons. We are not Oncologists. We are not Gastroenterologists. We are, however musicians.
Three years ago, I approached a local radio personality about using the fund set up in his wife's name to accept what ever funds that would be raised by the members of the Corps. He graciously allowed us this ability, and since that time the 1st Michigan has been putting money earned from the sales of the new CD "LOVE FOREVER, THE SWEETNESS OF MARY". I had decided while planning the trip around the country to dedicate it to creating a better awareness of Ovarian Cancer and the problems that women face who contract the disease. The response has been wonderful.
Many of the people that I have been handing out cards to along the way have sent in donations. Response cards have been coming in all along.
Today put a very human face on the problem that women who are in need of further research deal with. There were women being pushed in wheel chairs because they were not able to do it themselves. I watched ladies go by under pink umbrellas with far less hair than I have. I saw smiles and tears. I heard laughter, but not one complaint. I talked with no one who felt sorry for themselves. There was pride and determination on the faces who walked by. There was not one person who looked like they had resigned from life. As a population, they were actively involved in living.
And I looked on and remembered. I listened as the corps performed on fifes and drums, and I remembered November of 1974 when that sound entered my soul and never left. The rain wasn't even noticed until we had quit to pack up the gear. I noticed once again that there was one seat empty in the van driving home. This time, though I knew that I could handle it; if not for those in the Corps and in my family, then for those hundreds of women and their families who walked today. They were there to remain full of hope that sometime soon the only reason they would need to walk, is to remember a time when there was no hope.
We packed up and left.
But we; all of us, remember.