The area’s next big 5K takes over The Viaduct next Sunday morning: The annual Race for the Cure, raising money to fight breast cancer. Many West Seattleites are among the thousands of participants (including Team WSB, as we’ve written in the past). And this year, the Kids’ Run Grand Marshal is from West Seattle – read on for his story:
(WSB photo from 2008 Race for the Cure, heading northbound on The Viaduct)
By Keri DeTore
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
In 2007, West Seattle resident Eddie Westerman walked in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure for her friend Dottie, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. They called their team “Dottie’s Hotties.”
One year later, her participation was in a different light: In 2008, Eddie herself was diagnosed with breast cancer; they renamed the team “The Fast Eddies.” This year, yet another friend of Eddie’s has been diagnosed with breast cancer and because the list is getting so long, they’re using the first initials of the friends who have been diagnosed and renaming the team “Pledges for EDJS.”
Throughout her journey, Eddie has had a very special partner working with her — her 12-year-old son Adam Westerman. (Photo at left, family-provided, shows Adam and Eddie)
Last year, Eddie and Adam teamed up to raise funds for the 2008 Susan G. Komen race and much to their surprise discovered Adam was the #1 youth fundraiser. This information came to them through a phone call months later from the Susan G. Komen Foundation who called Adam to tell him the good news and said, “We have something for you” — a Nintendo Wii. Says Eddie, “He thought they were joking; that it was something we’d put them up to.”
Adam was then asked by the Komen Foundation to speak to a group of their volunteers. He did such a great job, the Foundation asked him to be the 2009 Kids Run Grand Marshal.
Being a spokesperson is part of Adam’s job as Grand Marshal and he’s been granting a lot of interviews— including a TV interview in which he appears with Mona Locke, Executive Director of the Puget Sound Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Foundation:
Adam has also been busy fundraising with his mom, and while raising money for cancer care is serious business, they’re having a lot of fun with it too. They’ve been competing with each other to see who can raise the most money. So far, Adam seems to be ahead, though together, he and Eddie have raised nearly $5,000. His fundraising secret? “You gotta be a kid.”
And being a kid with a shtick is even better. During one event, Adam worked a room full of people by dropping on one knee and “begging” for donations. Another time he had people stand as if to give the Pledge of Allegiance, put their hands on their hearts and repeat after him: “I pledge allegiance to Adam…to donate very generously…”
Additionally, Adam wrote a heartfelt “ask” letter for the Susan G. Komen website which Eddie has republished on her website.
Adam has taken it upon himself to be a partner in his mom’s well-being with a level of wisdom and maturity that belie his twelve years. When asked what inspired his activism, he responds: “I wanted to make a difference … when your mom has cancer, you want her to be normal again.”
And regarding the day-to-day challenges of Eddie’s treatment, Adam says: “Everything was different and that’s good and bad. The good is that you hang out with your family more and establish a bond with them.” He adds: “It was my job to make her relax — I told her she didn’t have to be on top of everything. I gave her permission to do things like stay in pajamas all day!”
Along with his other activities such as baseball, acting and music, Adam still has some duties to fulfill as the Kids’ Run Grand Marshal: an interview tomorrow morning on KING5, and speaking to the crowd on Sunday before the Kids Race. Asked if he’d met Race Honorary Co-Chair Edgar Martinez yet, Adam said he hadn’t, though he had sent over a bat to be autographed.
Eddie has finished the heaviest portion of her chemotherapy treatments and is now doing “light” chemo and starting drug therapy. Of her own involvement with the Race for the Cure, she says: “I had great care. We don’t want anyone’s mom/daughter/sister not to have the care I had, or get the same chance I got — not everyone gets that chance. We want everyone to be able to get a mammogram.”
As for inspiring others to get involved, Adam modestly says: “You don’t have to be special to do special things — I’m just a normal kid, I don’t have superpowers.”
Modesty aside, it’s pretty clear that Adam’s efforts for his mom Eddie are both special and inspiring.
The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is this Sunday, starting near Qwest Field, traveling over The Viaduct and back. If you’d like to donate to Adam or Eddie’s efforts, their pledge page can be found here. You can sign up for the race by going here. The Kids’ Run is at 7:30 am, before the other events, which include the Women’s 5K Run, a 5K Wheelchair Race, a Co-Ed 5K run, and what’s usually the biggest event, the 5K Co-Ed/Family Walk at 8:30 am.