Why We Walk
|February 20, 2012||Filled under Life|
Edited to add: This post was written prior to the recent events surrounding the Komen and Planned Parenthood issues in the media. My goal was to show a “day in the life” of a 3-Day walker. Had a known then what I know now, I might have made different decision regarding my decision to participate…however, at the time my heart was in the right place and I ask that you keep that in mind as you read this. Thanks!
I am so excited to share this post with all of you today because it really, truly is something near and dear to my heart!
We all have things in our life that we are extra passionate about, and for me one of those things has been participating in a Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure (formerly known as the Breast Cancer 3-Day). I have done 3 of these 60-mile walks, and when I tell you that these are life changing, it is no joke!
Breast cancer has touched my life is a few ways. I have a couple of family members who are survivors, but I also have family members who have had friends and loved ones in their lives who did not survive. I have had a couple of lumps myself that required extra investigation (mammograms before the age of 30 and ultrasound), and I have met women and men on these 60 mile walks that are survivors, in chemo…and widowers.
If you aren’t familiar with the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure, you can read more about it here.
This is me, on the first day, at the start bright and early. This particular year my MIL, who I walked with my first year in 2008, was on the crew and had to be there looooong before the sun was up. Oh, how I wish I could share enough pictures and video from the opening ceremony to even begin to get the excitement and tears across…but it’s really something you MUST experience first-hand.
This is pretty much what you see as you walk the route. Lots of pink! There are cheering stations, some with hundreds of people, some set up in front of peoples’ homes…handing out candy or spraying you down with water.
The folks on the crew are AWESOME! They are up from sun up to sun down and do all the heavy lifting, keeping us fed and hydrated. All we have to do it walk! lol
About every 2-4 miles, we have a stop. This is what a basic “Grab-N-Go” looks like, which offers food, water/sports drink, port-a-potties and medical. The larger Pit Stops have themes with costumes, music – they are a lot of fun, which must be why I don’t have many pictures to show for it! I was too busy taking in the sights to stop and take pictures!
One of the days at lunch, my 2 boys and my husband came out to cheer me on with signs they had made. They sat and kept me company while I ate my lunch. It was really great, and really allowed me to keep going for the remainder of the day. The first and second days are the longest days (I think it was 24 miles the first day, and 22 miles the second). They keep the third day shorter to ensure that the walkers can finish the route and get to the closing ceremony in time.
This firehouse was great! And that red VW bug followed the walkers all 3 days honking and waving. You get honked at a lot. :)
Here’s what it looks like coming into camp at the end of the route each day. You are so happy to see it all you want to do is run, but your body won’t let you because you are tired and sore. :) And what an awesome feeling!
Here’s me after one of the days back at “Tent City”. This sea of pink tents was only a portion of all the tents you see. It really is like its own city!
Ahh…all the comforts of home! Seriously, you have not lived until you’ve showered in a shower truck!! It felt like HEAVEN.
There are signs everywhere so you know where to go…which also show the latest heat index warning. This was a HOT weekend. Whoa Nelly.
Most people naturally want to head to the showers or to lay down, but that is not a good idea, because people can tend to faint in the showers. Or get overheated in the tents. They advise heading straight to the dining tent. Even standing in line for food, a woman in front of me passed out. The medical team is outstanding – and were with her right away giving her IV fluids. I repeated the chant I kept telling myself all day, “Drink, Pee, No IV”!
I did have to go to the medical tent to get blisters drained on both my feet. I’ll spare you the gory details.
More walking! And talking…and drinking (water!).
This day was even hotter! I wanted to hug and kiss the people that would come out with coolers filled with baggies of ice! I stuffed them into my bra. :)
The third day is very exciting, because you know that at the end of it you will be at the end of the 60 mile route, being cheered on by THOUSANDS of people. My MIL (holding the phone) was anxiously waiting for me and was trying to snap a picture of me on her phone. I burst into tears when I saw her.
You pick up your T-Shirt and head to the holding area for the Closing Celebration. Not many dry eyes as people relive the last 3 days and think about who they are walking for and what the experience meant to them.
The Walkers and Crew head in first, followed by the Survivors that were either a walker or on the crew. When they file past, the walkers remove one shoe, kneel down and hold it up to symbolize WHY WE WALK. Even as I type this, I still get emotional…and I’ve done it 3 times!
And, in the end…this is WHY WE WALK…to have a world without breast cancer.
I cannot even put into words what a truly wonderful experience this is. I wanted to do a post on this now, because now is the time that men and women all across the country are registering for the event they want to attend and begin their training.