A girlfriend of mine just finished a marathon walk for breast cancer. She had been drumming up pledges for six months prior, while in training for it, and eventually raised well over $3000, all by her little self.
I'm a little overcome with pride for her at the moment, so I'd like to post her report in the aftermath of the walk, so that you can maybe share the feeling, in case you've never participated in one of these. Or if you've never understood why they do it. Personally, I used to wonder, "Why not just collect money for the cause, but skip the punishing long walks?" . . . Now I understand. The walkers do it as a labor of love, a symbolic gesture to the men and women who suffer. It says that they will walk a mile in their shoes (or 20 miles, or 30, or whatever it takes).
I hope you'll read it. It's so perfectly humanistic and life-affirming that it filled me with joy. And I wasn't even there. It was held in downtown Chicago last weekend.
posted by Melissa:
Sorry, didn't mean to make anyone worry. I'm doing good. Monday, I slept. Tuesday, I slept some more. This week has just gone by so quickly. This weekend I'll get my pictures posted for you guys to see. I had an amazing time.
It was so powerful to see all the people there working toward the same thing.
I raised $3,275 can you believe that!!! http://img4.smiliedb.de/sdb87871.gif I almost doubled the requirement. And I was worried that I wouldn't make it to the $1800 required.
There were 3,600 walkers and together we raised ..... (drum roll) .... $$$$$ 8.2 million dollars!!!! it was really neat to watch the foundation present checks to all these organizations at the closing ceremony.
The oldest walker was 80 years old, the youngest 18 (required age). I met a woman from New Jersey who is a survivor herself and has now decided to do all 8 of the Avon Walks for Breast Cancer. I met another who has been doing them all for years and this year is also doing the 3-day walks also. Those nutters walk 20 miles a day for 3 days straight. She alone has raised something like $600,000 over the last 5 years or so. There was another woman who just 9 days before the walk had her last chemo treatments.
I sat down to rest at one point and looked over at the woman sitting next to me and her finger was bleeding. I asked her if she was ok and if she needed anything. Turns out she was diabetic and just checking her blood sugar.
These women amaze me!!!
And it wasn't just women eiether. I saw many men walking with their wives. It was amazing to see one fuzzy headed lady (recent chemo) walking while holding her husband's hand. oh, I'm getting all teary just thinking about it now.
One of the best things was the men who were there supporting their wives. Cheering us all along. When you started feeling like your feet were going to give out there would be some group of people clapping and telling you what a good job you were doing. It just gave such a boost of energy!
For me especially I really brightened up every time I saw my family in the distance. My wonderful Husband, my mom, my step-dad, and my friend Lynn were all there to support me. Their cheers and hugs kept me going like nothing else could. My mom made a sign that said "Melissa H., Wild Woman" and had a big breast cancer ribbon in the background. It was awesome! The first time I saw the sign I thought I was going to cry. And then on Sunday, the second day, and my one year wedding anniversary. I did cry when I walked by and saw my husband holding a sign that said "happy wedding anniversary!" The women behind me were talking about what a nice thing to do that was, and I turned around smiling and told them that was MY husband http://img9.smiliedb.de/sdb17351.gifhttp://img9.smiliedb.de/sdb17351.gifhttp://img9.smiliedb.de/sdb17351.gif They were surprised to find out I spent my one year wedding anniversary walking (and walking, and walking)
I have… 6 blisters, at least. 2 huge ones on my heals. I don't know how it happened. I did a practice walk and didn't get any blisters then. different socks? I'm not sure? But they are mostly healing up good. I wore sandals all week because my feet were swollen. My muscles were so sore by the time I was done that I could hardly move. To sit down on the ground I had to have help. It must have been a laughable sight to see.
I received a Connection Ribbon on Sunday. Every 3 minutes a person in the U.S. is diagnosed with breast cancer, so on the walk every 3 minutes a ribbon is given out to represent the people we are walking for. I was glad to receive one, it meant a lot to me. Of course the goal is to hand out less and less of those until someday we don't need to do it any more.
oh, oh… I learned a good walking song… http://www.clicksmilies.com/s0105/aetsch/cheeky-smiley-034.gif
99 boobies with lumps this year,
99 boobies with lumps,
we'll take a walk, they'll find a cure
98 boobies with lumps this year!
98 boobies with lumps this year,
98 boobies with lumps,
we'll take a walk, they'll find a cure
97 boobies with lumps this year!
and so on and so fourth….
(to the tune of 99 bottles of beer on the wall)
A group of us actually sang the entire thing….that was long….but kept us walking!
There were other funny things too. A group with signs that said "Save the Boobies" And a whole group that wore t-shirts that said "*@*# the whales, save the boobies"
There were small kids with their dad that had tshirts that said "go momma" on the front with their mom's picture. and the back said "momma's crew" They were adorable.
There were people, including children handing out lifesavers along the route telling use we were life savers.
One house we walked by gave every walker a frozen flavor ice to eat. And several houses had coolers full of bottles of water for people.
It was just amazing!
One more amazing thing… 274 of the women walking were cancer survivors themselves!
Thanks for reading. In doing do, you honored my brave friend who walked 26.2 miles over a 2-day stretch. She did it for the people in her family who have either survived a form of cancer (her young husband, in his late 20s, being one of them), or who have succumbed to one, and she walked for those in the world still battling it http://img8.smiliedb.de/sdb07255.gif.