Monday, December 6, 2010

The Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure

Wow. What an experience. It was more than a month ago, but I still think about it everyday. Mom flew in from Austin the day before (on Thursday) and we woke up on Friday morning at 5 am. At 5:30 am Aunt Sally, a gift from God, arrived to take us to Plano. Aunt Sally said that she would willingly take us to Plano as long as she did not have to walk 60 miles in 3 days. In the car Aunt Sally told us what her strategy would be. Walk a block or two, go to the side of the route and put your thumb down indicating that you needed to be picked up by the sweeper van. The sweeper van would then take you to the next pit stop. Aunt Sally recommended walking a few more blocks and repeating the sweeper van pick up move. We laughed and laughed and wondered if that would be what really happened. I am happy to report that we walked the entire 60 mile route and never once had to ride in the sweeper van.

The first day seemed to fly by. Opening ceremonies (pictures below) began at 7:30 am and we saw women walking who were undergoing treatment for breast cancer, yet, still had the desire to participate in the 3-day. We saw banners with words like Anniversaries, Birthdays, Births, and heard words reminding us that there are many whose lives are cut short because of breast cancer. They deserved a lifetime, and that is why we walked. There were 2,700 walkers with 425 volunteer crew. Every walker raised at least $2300. The 2010 Komen 3-day for the cure Dallas/Fort Worth walked raised over $7 million!

The last few miles on Friday were hard, but the constant support from the cheering stations were amazing. We did not go more than 3 miles without a pit stop or a cheering station. The cheering stations were where hundreds of people lined the sidewalks with posters, candy, kleenex, trash cans, and even margaritas! When we walked through a cheering station, we felt like we could have walked 20 more miles (maybe). I was also amazed at how many people were in costume, we saw 2 pink gorillas and so many men in drag, so many pink wigs! I was totally blown away Friday morning to see Sonja Gold (pictured below), my friend from Oak Lawn UMC. Seeing her totally made my day!

My mom and I decided that if the other person was not there, we would not have been able to walk each day. Having that accountability, that companionship, that support, made it doable. If we could just make it to lunch (pictured below - we look great!), we were more than halfway through for the day! Friday night my hip was hurting, so I made a visit to medical, and was given the gift of a wonderful physical therapist who helped me stretch. When we got to camp Friday night, we had to set up our pink tents, you have never seen such a sight as 1500 matching pink tents on soccer fields! We made a beeline to the 18-wheeler showers and the non-stop hot water was another gift from God! We had a great meal of chicken parmesan that had been cooked in an 18-wheeler (not the shower one), and were asleep by 8:30 pm!

Saturday was cold. Friday night I had gone to bed with my pajamas on, and even slept with my jacket on under my sleeping bag. Saturday was colder. My hip was really hurting me, but the cold froze my legs so much, that I did not feel much of anything! What a gift! We took pictures of the frost on the ground and just kept putting one foot in front of the other. People had told us that Saturday was the hardest day, so I was determined to not have Saturday be my hardest day! I was amazed at the walkers in costume! One of the 450 men who walked was the largest fundraiser and he raised over $17,000. Every day he wore a pink bra and shorts. It was cold and he only had on a bra! There were bees (boobees), angels, and people with pink cones on their heads. It was amazing!

We were able to see Lee and the kids (pictured below) at one cheering station in the morning, and my sister, Kristin and her kids (pictured below) at a cheering station in the afternoon. Those cheering station were a huge morale booster! We somehow made it through Saturday, and even though we had heard that those curbs would hurt, walking up and down a curb by the end of the day felt like we were climbing up and down Mt Everest! Saturday night we had steak that was delicious and we danced a little bit in the dance party, but my hip and knee were pretty tired and I was asleep by 8:30 pm again.

Sunday was hard. Sunday was supposed to be the easy day, but it was hard. It was daylight savings day so we got to sleep in! but we were on a bus to get us closer to Dallas by 6:15 am! We saw Scott Trulock and Jennifer Sowders in the morning (pictured below) and were so thankful to be cheered on by such wonderful friends! At lunch we discovered that we both had blisters. We had gone 50 miles without a blister! The last 2 miles were brutal. My knee hurt so bad (I think I was walking funny because my hip hurt). When I saw a sign that said "limping is walking," I agreed. The last 2 miles were unforgettable for the pain but also because of something that my mom did. She got out the list of people that she carried with her the entire 3 days. A list of women who had died from breast cancer. Friends from her work, members of our family, people whose families had given money to us in their memory. My mom began to tell their stories. She told me about people that she worked with who had gone every week for chemo, her namesake Aunt Nan who had wondered what the large lump on her breast was. My mom telling those stories made me feel like my pain was nothing. It would go away, and as another sign said, "blisters don't need chemo."

Walking into Fair Park was amazing. We had made it, we had walked it! But at Closing Ceremonies when the people who were survivors walked out with their pink shirts, I felt like I had been a part of something that I would never fully be able to explain to someone. I had seen heroes, I had walked with them, and I would be forever changed.

It took a good 2 weeks for my knee not to hurt and even a month later when we walked the Turkey Trot, my knee hurt again. My blister eventually went away, but when my mom called and asked if I walked to walk with her again next year, I did not hesitate to say, "Yes, I'm in!"

No comments: