I walked every mile.
Distracted by the chatter surrounding me. At times hyper focused on the pounding of each step. One foot in front of the other, walking through the pain, this is nothing compared to chemo.
There are 1150 of us. Mostly women, mostly touched personally by breast cancer. Maybe it was a daughter they lost, maybe a mom, maybe a friend. For me it was my favorite aunt.
They say it isn’t a race. But we walk fast. It is hard to walk 20 miles in one day, wake up the next morning and walk another 20 miles then wake up one more day and walk another 20. So we walk fast. We try to spend the shortest time possible in our walking shoes. We stop for snacks, refill liquids and take our turn in the port-a-pot….then we walk on. If you stop too long the body will revolt. The body will stiffen up and refuse to keep moving.
We keep moving.
The miles are long, the emotions are raw, tears flow easily and laughter is spontaneous.
Total strangers cheer us up the next hill. Little children hand us candy, elderly adults sit along the route and clap their hands, dogs wear pink tutus….we, the people forming blisters on our feet, feel gratitude and kindness from every person cheering along the route. They too have lost someone, or maybe they fear losing someone, or maybe they fought the same fight….they thank us for walking we thank them for cheering.
Our family members surprise us along the route….a big hug, pat on the back and the same love that has supported all of our training up to this moment. The family members that watch us crawl out of bed each Satuday morning before sunrise so we can complete a training walk in July before the temperatures become unbarable. We must train. This is not a 5k. We can’t just show up and start walking….we must train.
We are fragile.
People post photos of their loved ones beside the walkway. Photos of the loved ones they have lost. Their signs tell us a daughter misses her mom, a husband misses his wife, a boy misses his grandma. They tell us how much our walk means to them. We are tired, even exhausted, we are fragile….we cry.
But in the end it is all worth it. We are making a difference, we are part of the solution, we are raising money to find a cure. The blisters will heal, our eyes will dry….a cure is what we need, so we walk…through the pain and toward a future without breast cancer we walk.
Congratulations on finishing the walk, Tree. All those early mornings must be worth it. A triumphant and memorable display of emotion along the way. Very heartening to see everyone cheering all of you on. That must have certainly carried you across the finishing line 😀
Thank you Mabel!
The people that support us throughout the 3 days certainly do encourage and inspire us.
I hope all is well with you.
I’m not too bad, Tree. I hope you and the others rest well after this taxing journey. Maybe you’ll participate again someday 🙂
I have already registered for next year’s event!!
You are so keen, Tree. Way to go! 🙂
That is a great achievement and is so meaningful! I like the “we are here fighting” photo. 🙂
Thank you Amy! It really does mean a lot to us. I’m glad you like the “we are fighting” picture. Out of the hundreds I took over the weekend it was hard to know what to post! 🙂
This is beautiful and you are awesome!
I can imagine how difficult, how emotional, how rewarding, how humbling, how amazing this experience is for all of you. Congratulations ❤
Thank you so much Joanne for such encouraging words!!
What a great cause and an amazing accomplishment!
Thank you Sue! I appreciate your comment! 🙂
Yay! Great job and great cause!
Wow, Tree, I am so touched. You are so awesome.
I lost my sister last year. She was diagnosed with breast cancer 10 years ago. It’s not easy to lose someone you love, as you know. Anyway, I want to thank you for you have done. Is this a regional event or it is all over U.S.? Thanks. Helen
Thank you Helen. I am so very sorry for your loss. I do know it is difficult to lose the ones we love. Its also hard to watch the battle they must undertake just to get through a day not to mention a year or 10 years.
This walk happens throughout the United States. The participating cities are: Atlanta, Dallas/Fort Worth (this is where I walk), Detroit, Philadelphia, San Diego, Seattle and the Twin Cities. The first walk of the series will be held in August the last is in November. If you want more information the web site is The3day.org
The agency that puts it on is Susan G Komen
Thanks, Tree. I am glad Twin Cities has it. Seems challenging and fun. I definitely will check it out. Helen