By Sheila Mulcahy-Bell
The journey may be harsh, but in the end I pray many are able to stomp out sarcoma.
I knew nothing about sarcoma until an acquaintance of mine told me she had it and is now cancer free. When people think about cancer they think of the more “popular” cancers. Sometimes I think cancer gets swept under the rug when it comes to discussing the less “popular” ones and sarcoma in my eyes is one of them. I am joyful for the experience my family has had in learning about sarcoma through our participation in the 2017 Sarcoma Stomp, and in helping to try to raise awareness and money to find cures.
When we found out about the Sarcoma Stomp 5K, I knew I wanted to participate. What I didn’t know was that 5 out of 6 in my family would join in! (The 6th was there in thought, but a 5K isn’t her thing.) It was a delight to be able to join Julia’s Jamboree team to STOMP out sarcoma. Something I didn’t expect was that this event would also lead to our family agreeing they all wanted to do more 5K’s to raise awareness and money for more organizations. Most may think that this is no big deal, unless you have the “couch potato” thing going on in your family like we do. So I am proud and joyful about this new commitment!
Sometimes in life we get too busy — and forget to stop and think about what others are going through and how much they need prayers and a cure. I look at Julia and I am grateful for her strength and courage to have fought and beaten sarcoma. It has been an eye opener for me to remember to appreciate any time I have with family and friends, and the Sarcoma Stomp was just one more way I was able to spend time with them.
I am glad I was able to support the cause to help find cures for sarcoma. I look forward to the next Sarcoma Stomp event and hope that in the near future there will be cures.
I’ve wondered for a number of years now who Rockin’ Wendie was and I always admired Team Rockin’ Wendie’s Warriors at the annual Sarcoma Stomp. Tonight I finally found out in an email from Wendie’s sister and it felt SO good. Why? Because she didn’t just explain why this team shows up at the Stomp each year donning rainbow wigs, smiling brightly, and lighting up the course with their smiles. Heather told me the story of a woman so beloved, not only by her family and friends, but also by thousands of elementary school students learning the value of character traits through her music and dance.
“We are looking forward to coming to the Sarcoma Stomp once again this year,” says Wendie’s sister Heather Mitsopoulos. “We will be there with our wigs in tow! I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned why we dress up the way we do, but my sister who had Sarcoma, Wendie, used to film these character trait videos that would get played in local elementary schools in Macon, GA where she lived. She played a character called Rockin Wendie and her co-star was Poppin Pj (a close family friend who wore a mohawk during the videos). Chick Fil-a was working on a contract with my sister to use the videos in their marketing materials, but unfortunately my sister got too sick to continue filming. The elementary age kids that the videos went to never knew she was sick or didn’t have any hair because she wore her wig. 🙂 So, we honor her memory by dressing up as Rockin Wendie and Poppin PJ! She joined us for 1 of the Sarcoma Stomps a few years ago and got to speak with Paula…shortly after that Sarcoma Stomp both Paula and my sister passed away. The Sarcoma Stomp falls usually within a few days of my sister’s b-day, so it’s a celebration of her b-day for us!”
Thank you for writing about your awesome sister, Heather! There is no doubt that the stories behind the mission gives this foundation texture and soul. And Wendie sure did have soul! :-)))
Click this link to watch a Rockin’ Wendie and Poppin PJ video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f120n1K2CfU
Click to see a news story about Rockin’ Wendie and Poppin PJ: https://youtu.be/hOHL-C5eKe0
If you’d like to join the Rockin’ Wendie’s Warriors team, either in-person or as a Virtual Stomper, click HERE.
If you’d like to donate to the Rockin’ Wendie’s Warriors team, click HERE.