current mood: celebratory
Let’s paint the town
We’ll shut it down
Let’s burn a roof
Then we’ll do it again
~ “I Got A Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas
Two days ago, my sister and I, holding hands, crossed the finish line of the Chicago Breast Cancer 3-Day. For three days we walked alongside 2,000 other men and women through the city of Chicago. 60 grueling miles in pouring rain and blistering heat. We literally braved the elements, and they were not kind! We did our best to step over puddles and avoid the mud. After 20+ miles of walking in adverse weather conditions, we set up our pink tents in the rain. Our bags were wet. Our clothes were soaked. Our cheers were loud as that final walker entered camp. Rain is nothing compared to what a woman goes through in her fight against breast cancer. Blisters don’t require chemo or radiation.
Still, we were exhausted, and after a spaghetti dinner, we stumbled into our tents and slept soundly as the rain pelted our tents. In the morning, the rain was still falling. We donned our ponchos and sneakers. With breakfast in our tummies, we set off down the road, a sea of pink splashing onward. By mid-day the sun came out and was relentless. The heat index was over 100 degrees. At every pit stop, the 3-Day crew and staff reminded everyone to drink lots of water. The medical tent was filled with walkers needing ice and blister care. Walkers were being red carded and sidelined for the remainder of the day due to dehydration and exhaustion.
Camp that night was HOT; but at least it was dry! We removed the tarps from our tents and angled the doors to catch the light breeze. Our shoes were finally permitted to dry out. Sunday morning, we awakened before dawn to take down our tents, pack our gear, and eat breakfast. We boarded busses to be shuttled away from camp and to our starting point for the day. We walked through the northern part of Chicago and along the Lake Michigan shore. There was little shade. Medical ran out of ice due to all the injuries and heat exhaustion. We stopped whenever possible to refill our water bottles and to soak our bandanas in ice cold water. The last pit stop was 2.5 miles from Soldier Field; where our journey was to end.
Those last few miles were filled with anticipation and exhaustion. Our bodies went on when they should have collapsed. Teammates were encouraging their fellow-walkers to take ‘just a few more steps’. We made it to Soldier Field and soaked our heads in the water fall wall before walking through the tunnel. The wave of applause and cheering was overwhelming. We were finished. The staff scanned our ID cards and offered their congratulations. My sister and I hugged and took our picture by the Day 3 banner.
We completed the 2009 Breast Cancer 3-Day. In closing ceremonies, we held our shoes up to salute and honor the survivors who walked with us.
You can go here to see our route: http://www.the3day.org/site/DocServer/3Day_2009JourneyMap_CH_fp.pdf?docID=3081
Our steps made a difference; a 5 million dollar difference in the fight against breast cancer. More importantly, we were part of something so much larger than ourselves that we cannot even begin to fathom the effects. If a butterfly flapping its wings can cause a typhoon across the world, think what 2,000 men and women walking 60 miles can accomplish! Here is an excerpt from the closing ceremony speech
“We widen our bonds to include all of the loved ones and friends and even strangers whose lives will be spared because we cared. . . We salute them for sharing their light with us, these past 3 days. We thank our survivors for their commitment to and belief in the cure; for their optimism and patience in the face of sadness and setbacks; for the love that they have shown us and reawakened inside of us by their example; the healing and the hope that they sustain and the courage that will sustain us in the days ahead . . . proof that we were here, living, breathing, shouting with every step. We will never give up. We will never give up. We will never give up. May the future follow in your brave, brave footsteps. . . BECAUSE EVERYONE DESERVES A LONG AND HEALTHY LIFETIME! It may feel like an ending; but the difference you have made has only begun to be known. Can you feel it?”
With those inspiring words, I will close this message. Please consider joining our team to walk or volunteering your time to crew the 2010 Susan G. Komen Cleveland 3-Day for the Cure with us! Your life will be changed. Your world will be changed. YOU will be changed, for the better!
In gratitude to all those who supported me in this year’s fundraising efforts and walk. With all of my heart, thank you!