Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Why We Walk

Over the weekend I flew to San Francisco to walk in my second annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. Nine of us met up in the pre-dawn chilliness two days in a row to complete 39.3 miles in order to raise money for research into this deadly disease. 

It was frigid at 6 a.m., but at least I wasn't bald this year. 
{early morning festivities}
During the opening ceremony, a kid who must've been about 12 spoke about losing his mom after her several-year battle with breast cancer, and I broke down sobbing. I turned to my friend Shelby for a hug and made a joke about the crying starting already. I couldn't help myself.

It was also an especially emotional walk for me because I learned at lunch on Saturday that my fellow fighter Jen passed away Friday night, leaving her six-year-old son behind. I thought of her (and him) so often as I walked. On the eve of "Pinktober," all I could think was: this disease needs to end.
My teammates and I walked up steep San Francisco hills, along the waterfront looking out toward Alcatraz, over the Golden Gate Bridge, through Marin County north of the city, and then we got up in the morning and did it all again. My friend from Seattle joked that if she'd known we were walking that far north, she would have just started walking down from Washington to meet us. 
{the Golden Gate Bridge on Saturday}
By the end of the first day, our feet hurt, our hips were cramping, and some of us were chafed in pretty unpleasant spots. So we soaked our feet in epsom salt baths, downed a couple of anti-inflammatories with our carb-filled dinner, and got up to do it all over again on Sunday. We walked because we could, and there are so many who no longer can.
AvonWalk SF2013-83
{some of my teammates + me after Day 1 of walking}
Many walkers wore "race" bibs that said: I'm in it to end it for... or I'm walking for... and they wrote whoever they were walking for in the blank. I'd written mine out on Friday night, before hearing of Jen's passing. Mine said, "Myself, and all my Stage 4 sisters," along with several women's names, including Jen's. 

Another woman wrote, simply, "Humanity." (And then I felt like a schmuck for saying I was walking for myself.) 

And one man's bib said, "I'm walking for time, valuable time," and I thought That's exactly why we're walking.

Join us again next year?

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful, Jen. Just Beautiful. You are bringing so much good into this world!!