Karin Lippert

"I feel her looking down on me on all of us--with a smile and with joy! She would love the idea, the energy and the commitment of everyone involved with The Weekend to End Women's Cancers!"


Today, it is 25 years since my mother, Wilhelmine “Mimi” Lippert died of inflammatory breast cancer at age 65. It was a beautiful morning, just like today!

We had spent three days with her while she was lying in a coma in our living room as family and friends came to say farewell. She was leaving us and we were encouraging her to let go. She had stayed through her wedding anniversary on April 20th and that of my brother and sister-in-law’s on April 21st. It was time.

And, this year at age 65, it is the right moment for me to participate in The Weekend to End Women’s Cancers. I am doing it to honour my mother and all the women who have struggled with cancer – the survivors and the women whose fight, like my mother’s, continue to inspire us. We have made progress on behalf of breast cancer, but so much more remains to be done for all women’s cancers. When my mother died we created a fund at Ms. Magazine for health and science reporting. Since 1985, so much has been written on the subject, so many women have told their stories.  And, we have come together again and again asking for, demanding, pushing for research that will find the cure.

The Weekend to End Women’s Cancers will benefit all of things that will make a difference - from care giving to research, and just as important, it will bring thousands of us together to reach these goals and to celebrate life.

The morning my mother first called me to say that her left breast had become swollen, red and blue-ish/purple, I had to put the phone down for a moment. I went to the freezer in my kitchen got the ice cube tray and put some on my forehead. I thought I was going to faint…my heart was already breaking. Days later, when we heard the diagnosis, we were shocked. I had never heard of inflammatory breast cancer. I began calling around the country for solutions, treatments. She did everything. Not just the mastectomy, chemo and radiation – she did visualizations, reading (I bought travel books to take far away…), a photo of the beach in the Hamptons helped, my brother and sister-in-law took my parents to Florida (my mother had always wanted to see the Space Center), we went to restaurants although she couldn’t really eat, and after checking around for a wig made with real hair (as gorgeous as her own), we settled on one from the Eva Gabor Collection – which highlighted her spectacular blue eyes and her smile!

As usual on this morning, I am looking at a photo of my mother with tears in my eyes. But, this year I feel her looking down on me – on all of us - with a smile and with joy! She would love the idea, the energy and commitment of everyone involved with The Weekend to End Women’s Cancers.

Last night, I trained on Poplar Plains Road (8 times up that hill!) with a group from the Running Room, and I am already walking almost 20K. I feel like I can do the two-day, 60K walk! That means I am definitely ready to begin my fundraising campaign today!

Karin Lippert, Toronto


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