A powerful bond between mother and son brings us to share their story this Mother’s Day weekend. We met the Behrens family from New Jersey last October when Brendan participated in the Pink the Boathouse Challenge in honor of his mother, Krisi. In March, Brendan once again got on the erg to support his mom at the Mercer Indoor Row for the Cure. A man of deep conviction and love for his mother, Brendan was passionate and dedicated in his quest to raise funds for the Princeton YWCA Breast Cancer Resource Center. There was a tremendous outpouring of support for the Behrens family, and, in the end, Brendan was the top fundraiser for the event.
Both Krisi and Brendan are committed to helping those who are fighting. We thank them. They will always be an inspiration to us. In honor of Mother’s Day, Row for the Cure asked them to share a bit of themselves and their incredible journey.
“Brendan started rowing in college. We have watched him from the shore and loved every minute of it.
“My husband, Drew, and I play paddle tennis. Teaching tennis and paddle tennis has been my way of getting through my various treatments. My director and workplace have been 100% supportive of me and let me work pending my energy. I went from working an hour last March back to a full day, five to six days a week. Work has helped me gain my strength, energy, and stamina back.
“We have two children, and we are very blessed. They both give back to the community and have most of their lives. Our daughter is finishing college in May and will run a Virtual 5K with me this summer to raise breast cancer awareness. As you have seen, our son, Brendan, has been inspired to make a difference. I was overwhelmed by his first race entry in the Row for the Cure Pink the Boathouse Challenge and his friends coming together to surprise and recognize me in October. There are not the right words to describe what that meant to me. I did not need chemo, yet three of his friends shaved their heads. One said, ‘We know you didn’t need chemo, but we also know breast cancer is a fight for the rest of your life, so we wanted to show you we will be there for you.’ This gesture was incredibly moving.
When Brendan mentioned that he was doing the Mercer Indoor Row for the Cure to raise funds and awareness, we continued to be very proud of him. We appreciate his giving heart, discipline, and focus on raising awareness and funds. It is shocking to hear one out of eight women will experience some form of breast cancer in the U.S., and we want to help people detect it early. This will be an accomplishment if we can help other people detect cancer early, before it becomes invasive and avoid treatment.
We have received so much love. We have had tremendous support from our families, social, and work communities: prayer groups, hot meals, plants, candles, and notes from children. The support has made all the difference.”
“I picked up rowing in college my freshman spring after encouragement from my parents to try a new sport. Having a background in high school football, one of the things that always stood out to me was how much all the guys looked forward to October when they could wear pink and support Breast Cancer Awareness.
“Last year, after my mom’s diagnosis, it was no longer just about raising awareness; it meant showing my love and support for my mom. I had no idea the pain and discomfort that many experience after treatments. My mom went back to teaching tennis as soon as possible. Despite having doubts about her level of play and still being in pain, she would still go out almost every day for us. It can be hard watching her walk around after she spends a day teaching because of the pain in her joints and feet caused by her current cancer medication, but she does it out of love. That is what true strength is.
“Row for the Cure is the perfect way for me to represent her in my races. Giving has always been one of her core values, so becoming a fundraiser meant I could represent her in the best possible way.
“When my closest friends heard about the diagnosis, they all planned to shave their heads for her in October. I see support from everyone I know. They always ask about her and how she’s doing. Thinking of my mom and participating in Row for the Cure has given me the strength to keep going when I question if I have anything left to give. Thank you to everyone who has supported me and honored my mom.
“Just a bunch of some of the most incredible guys helping support the greatest, most formidable, most inspirational mother. Since finding out and battling through her cancer treatment, she has posted 60 videos about living and loving life. She is a great inspiration to all as she continues not to let this define her.”
Happy Mother’s Day to all of the fantastic families within the Row for the Cure community. Thank you for your unending support, and have a lovely weekend!