In the fall of 2004 a small group of ladies from my work, and my sister, decided to take a sixty mile journey around San Diego. We had all been affected, in one way or another by cancer, not all of us breast cancer, but we knew someone, who had cancer, who had survived or not, from the disease.
Due to the weather in San Diego, it’s usually one of the later walks that the foundation runs, usually in October or November. We started to “train” mid summer, doing our best to be prepared for walking sixty miles, in three days. Each day is a 15-22 mile walking day. It’s a lot!! We started out slow, walking five miles after work and then more on the weekends. We would change-up the course, try to enjoy the training, with breakfast after or the occasional nose piercing during one eighteen mile Saturday adventure (long story :P). We had a blast, you have a lot of time to talk when you are spending so much time together walking around your city. It turned into a strong bonding experience for us all.
The first day requires a pretty early wake up call, the excitement boils over – mixed with a little nerves. We had a hearty pancake breakfast, prepared by lovely supporters and then with backpacks on us we headed to the start.
It was a pretty amazing experience, there were survivors all around us, family and friends with photos of people they had lost. Which on some occasions made the walk a very emotional experience. It might not have helped that by mid-day, on day two, everyone starts to get pretty tired. My group, while we had walked 18-20 miles at a time – we had not walked a full sixty in a row. It’s tough on the feet, the back, the knees, okay every thing starts to hurt! As lovely as the tents they set up for us, at the night were, it’s still grass and earth under your body all night. By day three some of the group had blisters, one of us had a sprained ankle, but we were all happy to be a part of the experience nonetheless.
The last day, when you wake up there is a sense or relief that you are almost done, a sense of pride that you are about to complete a pretty cool challenge, and just enough motivation to get you up the last hill and to the finish line and celebration.
Once you make it to the end of the last day, and see the sea of pink and white there is such a feeling of accomplishment. There were so many moving speeches that last day, people who were thankful for the support of the foundation, for the walkers and a general sense of hope that every year we would lose less women (and men), from breast cancer.
From an early age I started to lose very important people in my life to cancer, various versions of the same deadly disease. This walk felt like a nice way to celebrate their lives, their importance to me, and to be a part of an experience that was meaningful with 10,000 or so strangers. 🙂
This month there will be a lot of PINK things around, supporting Breast Cancer Awareness. We should all make sure that the women in our lives are taking steps to check for all cancers, the same for the men in our lives and the cancers that are higher in their life. We don’t all have to walk sixty miles or send in money to a cause, sometimes the simple act of reminding someone close to you to make that mammogram appointment, or even just not to skip their check-up this year could be the difference between detecting and beating cancer or not.
Thanks for stopping by today, if you have a cancer foundation that you support or a story you want to share, please feel free to do so. Maybe someone will see the cause you care about and think, I care about that too and send in a donation.
Wishing all the best in life and fiction,
In loving memory of my beautiful grandmother Kentucky Potter