Lightning's Flower

Striking Down Breast Cancer Through Awareness

Leave a comment

Running- A heavy heart, not just a celebration

I ran in the Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure Saturday. The race was not like I remembered my first Komen race. That race had me tearing up from the supporters lined up cheering everyone along. This time, yes, there were people cheering, but I was kind of zoned out. As I ran I wasn’t sure what I was running for. I mean, I know I was running in support of breast cancer. I was running for Mommy and her memory. I was running for my family and my girls, so they wouldn’t experience anymore loss from breast cancer. I was running for a cure. But I wasn’t thinking about much of that while on the road. I was running to beat something. I don’t think it was breast cancer per se, but the anger of loss. Maybe it was the significance of breast cancer – in my life as well as the lives of so many. And maybe the celebratory vibe dulled me to the event. Someone’s shirt had a pin that said celebrate the survivors, support those battling, and honor those we lost. That’s the only thing that really stood out.

I support Susan Komen’s work advocating for funding for breast cancer research and keeping the issue in the spotlight. Nevertheless, I felt the event failed to capture how serious battling breast cancer is and the fact that some don’t survive. I do think its important to celebrate the survivors and those battling, but a moment of silence for those we have lost would have served as a needed reminder that we are still fighting and losing people in this battle.

The race ended in a wonderful reminder though, I finished and on the way out was signing the pink “In Celebration of” wall. I wrote “My Mom, Mable Rey – Always With Me.” As I walked away from the mall, Suavemente by Elvis Crespo started playing. My mom loved to break out her merengue hips, and sure enough she had been with me the whole run. She gave me a song to dance to as a reminder, “Yes, I’m always with you!”

1 Comment

Support and Strength


I was pleasantly surprised by a text from my aunt with a picture of her and my cousins doing a breast cancer walk this past Saturday. I wanted to do one this month, but didn’t realize there was one in Cleveland. It’s very special to see family support you. During this time, I find myself dealing with the loss of my mother, but also being reminded that others miss her and are honoring her as well. She still lives on in so many hearts.

My cousin walked in the Susan Komen 3 Day walk only a few weeks after Mommy passed. I was planning to walk and with all of the events leading up to August 2012, I didn’t really have time to train. Though I planned to cheer her on, the week before I knew I just couldn’t. Well, when she told me about the Go Dirty Girl Race, which donates to breast cancer awareness through an organization called Bright Pink, I said sign me up.

Fitness and health are very important. Being a healthy weight reduces your risk for breast cancer as being overweight is linked to increased cancer risks.. Being healthy means eating well, and exercising.

So join Team Lightning’s Flowers (with a “s” for all of us) to participate in the July 19, 2014 run in Cleveland. And sorry guys, it’s only for ladies, but maybe you can join us on other events in the works! Maybe you can be a Tough Mudder as I plan to join my husband the next time around!

So keep eating right, exercising, and staying healthy!!

Leave a comment

Follow your passion

Following your passion is something Mommy was all about. She believed very strongly that we all were brought here for a reason. By doing something you enjoy and are passionate about, you maintain a peaceful mind. Furthermore, health is very important in the fight in preventing and battling cancer. We should keep our health as our top priority. My first guest post is from Omari Faulkner (yes my wonderful other half). Omari did such a great intro that without further ado, My first guest post!

Friends of Lightings Flower-

Just last year in 2012, my mother-in-law, Mable Rey, and I discussed in detail the importance of diplomacy missions and giving back to youth, both domestically and internationally. She was so excited about my first trip to Montenegro to take part in Georgetown’s 2012 Basketball Diplomacy Program. I love that she always spoke to me about how she saw basketball (and all sports) as a form of art and anyone blessed with her presence understood her love and appreciation for art.
Her connection to the earth was amazing. As we researched Montenegro together, she was amazed at the historical Old Olive Tree at Mirovica, which is claimed to be one of the oldest trees in the world, dating back more than 2000 years. She looked at me, and in her Mable voice says, “Oh my God! You have to bring me back some olives and olive oil!”

Days before the trip, Mama Rey was called home, her passing paused the world around us and I immediately knew, I could not make the trip to Eastern Europe. Then I thought about our conversations, I thought about what she would have wanted, I thought about how excited she was about this program and my love for Sports Diplomacy, and most importantly, I had to get her those olives and olive oil- they rest next to her ashes until this day and always will.

Mama Rey loved international travel, other cultures, and proclaimed they healed her in so many ways; therefore, whenever I travel internationally, I travel with a piece of her with me. Last year’s trip to Montenegro, I wore one of her beaded Asian inspired necklaces and this year, last week, I wore a leather bracelet she bought for me while in Mumbai, India.

Thank you Mama Rey for the inspiration, thank you for your beautiful daughter, and the lovely angels we have created together. You know just how much we miss your presence, but you remain alive in us all. Team Faulkner forever….

Omari Faulkner

Georgetown 2013 Basketball Diplomacy Program

On Friday, August 9, 2013, myself and six other dedicated volunteers returned from Bar, Montenegro for yet another successful Georgetown University Basketball Diplomacy Program. With program support from the United States Embassy in Podgorica, Montenegro, and continued support from Georgetown University and men’s head basketball Coach Thompson, the diplomacy program continues to advance every year.

At this year’s camp, the students from the Balkan region were very impressive; their approach to developing relationships with other campers from neighboring countries and willingness to work hard were noticeable from day one. My former Georgetown teammate Sead Dizdarevic, a native of Montenegro, has led this camp for 6 years and continues to give back to his country’s youth and stress the importance of hard work, dedication, and volunteerism.

There were many highlights to this year’s camp, one being the volunteer project. The camp participants’ energy and enthusiasm was on full display as they cleaned the recreational area and neighboring park to a local handicap day home for small children and adults. The student athletes eagerly filled bags with trash and never once complained. A shining moment came when children playing nearby, joyfully joined in and began to grab rakes and bags, also becoming members of the cleanup crew. After 45 minutes of teamwork, the campers’ work was evident. They set a positive example.

On Wednesday night, all the Georgetown and local camp coaches played a full 40-minute basketball game against the Veteran Bar, Montenegrin basketball team (my first full game in almost 5 years). As the final buzzer sounded, we scored more points in the game, but the real winners were the Montenegro Veteran team; the team consisted of players ranging from ages of 45 up to 70+. They displayed the true essence of teamwork and the importance of physical fitness and maintaining a healthy lifestyle throughout life. Their mental and physical health fully supported U.S. Dr. Wilbert Cusano’s presentation on healthy living, which he presented the first day of camp. I walked away from the game truly inspired to remain healthy and active my whole life.

On the last day of camp, we were honored to have the United States Ambassador to Montenegro Sue Brown to attend the closing ceremony and speak to the importance of cultural diplomacy and building relationships.

I personally would like to thank all the youth camp participants and coaches, the United States Embassy in Montenegro, Georgetown University, and all the financial contributors to this wonderful diplomacy mission. It was a pleasure to spend the week with a great group of devoted volunteers – former Georgetown women’s basketball players-Kenya Kirkland and Monica McNutt, former Georgetown men’s basketball players- Sead Dizdarevic and Amadou Kilkenny-Diaw; current Georgetown University strength and conditioning coach Cameron Williams and health practitioner, Dr. Wilbert Cusano.

God Speed,

“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. Sport can awaken hope where there was previously only despair. Sport speaks to people in a language they can understand.”- Nelson Mandela.