As many of you know I began participating in the Susan G Komen 3 Day as a walker. And I did this in memory of my favorite Aunt…Kathleen Coffman. I walked for 3 years.
Sadly due to knees that could no longer handle the miles of training I had to stop…I thought my time of actively participating in this awesome event was over.
However, last year someone suggested I sign up for “Crew” as a member of Route Safety. I could ride my bike, and be involved. I followed that suggestion and this past weekend I (once again) felt like I was part of the solution.
This past weekend I had the opportunity to help others, make new friends, laugh, cry and sleep in a pink tent…As a member of the route safety team I got to be an important cog in the wheel of the 60 miles in 3 days
Route Safety…some of the crew
I captured many memories…but one moment stands out.
Day 3, after lunch, less than 4 miles to the finish, in pouring rain. I stood at the intersection of Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas…working with Chuck Kelley….helping walkers navigate an extremely busy intersection.
As I stood there in the shadow (metaphorically speaking) of the Texas School Book Depository and steps away from the site where President John F. Kennedy was shot, I thought of my Aunt Kathleen. The woman I loved so much…and still miss everyday. The first time she visited me in Texas, a visit to the Sixth Floor Museum was at the top of her to do list.
I stood there, cold, soaking wet, tired, and dreading the next several hours I would spend in wet clothes….when I remembered the fight my aunt waged against breast cancer, never giving up and always remaining positive…and I thought….this moment of discomfort will pass, my soreness will fade away and my feet will dry. But the fight so many women (and men) face, after being diagnosed with breast cancer…well that is serious and that is important…for them I need to stand in the rain, keep smiling and appreciate my opportunity to serve.
Today the participants of the Susan G Komen 3 Day walk completed their 60 miles. Even though everyone walks 60 miles, there are two types of walkers.
One, is the walker that is doing it in memory of someone, or to help others, or simply to be part of the solution.
Two, is the survivor. This is the woman (or man) that has been diagnosed with breast cancer, fought breast cancer and kicked breast cancer’s butt.
Group one admires group two a great deal. So when group two walks into the closing ceremony, group one salutes group two by taking off one shoe and holding it up in the air. Its a salute, a sign of admiration and a moment that will bring tears to the eyes of the most callous person.
It sounds like an odd tribute but it truly isn’t. Good shoes mean the world to a person that walks 60 miles in 3 days. The perfect shoe that each walker has found for their foot…is absolutely treasured. So to take that shoe off and hold it proudly in the air to salute another walker means the world.
We all know that someday it could be us that hears the dreaded words, “you have cancer.” We also know the women that have gone before us and fought the good fight and won each battle cancer threw at them…will be the sign of courage, the sign of strength and the sign of success that we will look for on those darkest days.
So raise your shoe and salute the survivors that walk through this world knowing they have kicked cancer’s butt.
Yesterday I cheered the 3 Day walkers as a Gorilla. Today I was a chicken.
I met Santa….
And heard quite a few bad chicken jokes!
I found my purpose at The 3 Day
Yes that’s me in the gorilla outfit…
I hugged the walkers…
I played with dogs…
I photo bombed my teammates…
And I helped the police direct traffic (not really, but I did take a selfie with a cop!)
So I didn’t walk today, but I did find a way to be part of the day, part of the cause and hopefully part of the solution!
For the past 3 years I have walked in the 3 day. This is an event that requires participants to walk 60 miles in 3 days. The purpose is to raise money for breast cancer awareness and eventually a cure.
During the last 3 years I have made some wonderful friends during the many miles of training.
Sadly, this year I decided to give my old knees a break and I chose not to walk. However, I did agree to stay connected with my team, help them raise money and cheer them on.
So tonight I am in Dallas TX hanging out with my walking friends. We are laughing, sharing memories and preparing for a big weekend.
The thing is…I am a bit sad. Even though I am comfortable in my choice not to walk this year (my knees love me for it) I miss the comradery of walking. I miss the hours of talking about nothing as we walk just one more mile. I miss the feeling of accomplishment, the feeling of exhaustion and the feeling of knowing I am making a difference.
So here I am…wishing I was walking, glad I’m not and looking forward to a fun weekend!
These photos were taken at the Fort Worth Zoo. I think this guy is very handsome!
Fort Worth Zoo
Fort Worth Zoo
This guy may not be a “real” gorilla…but he’s cute! He was part of the cheering crowd during the 3 Day walk for breast cancer. The lovely people surrounding him are my dear friends, teammates and fellow walkers.
Team Bee Pink and The Pink Gorilla
The A – Z Challenge will run through April. Each day is a different letter and a different photo…I hope you all enjoy!