Walking Because of Breast Cancer

It’s high time that I move this post about the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer from drafts to published. These thoughts have been waiting patiently for over a week, just asking for some tweaking. Read on…

On the Saturday that the Walk began, all 2,900 of us started walking along Lake Michigan, the sun beaming down on us. Someone passed me, and said as she pointed at my back, “You give me hope! I’m a 2-year survivor!” I paused for a minute, forgetting what my back said. Earlier in the morning, I had pinned a sign on my back listing the women I was walking for, including myself, a 15-year survivor.

Hope. What a powerful word.

Other words walkers wore read:

“I’d rather have blisters than chemo.”

“I’m walking for MY WIFE —->”

“Two year survivor”

“Mom of a two year survivor”

Before the walk even took place, I needed to ask people for donations. A lot of donations. The required amount of money I had to raise in order to walk was $1,800. It’s one of the reasons I couldn’t convince other family members to walk with me. Fundraising was daunting, especially when some of these thoughts occurred to me in the weeks before the Walk.

Breast cancer gets a lot of attention. What about other cancers?

More money is needed in metastatic cancer research.

Instead of money going to treatment, we need money for research to determine the cause of breast cancer.

How can we know for sure where our money is going??

Despite all these thoughts and doubts about the rightness of raising so much money for the Avon Foundation, I think I can say with certainty that those of us walking were walking to DO SOMETHING.

DO SOMETHING…it’s why one of my walking partners swore she would finish the walk for her mother — who has been receiving weekly chemo treatments. Sara was limping in pain as she walked those 26 miles. She later found out she tore some muscles in her ankle. She needed to DO SOMETHING for her mom.

Just like Sara, I needed to DO SOMETHING in memory of my mom. I needed to DO SOMETHING to celebrate fifteen years of survival after my breast cancer diagnosis.

That SOMETHING was to raise money for the Avon Foundation and to walk a marathon and a half in two days.

And this cancer survivor DID SOMETHING!

Beaming with pride, my family met me at the finish line!

For a detailed account of the recipients of the $6.1 million we raised in Chicago, please click here.

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All About Boobs in Chicago

Whether it was the “Windy Titties” or “Breastfest of Champions”, it was all about boobies in Chicago this past weekend. I could have bought a pink plastic boob necklace or worn a push-up bra on the outside of my shirt. Call them ta-tas or hooters, there were breasts everywhere.

Men wearing bras? They were there too — pink sport bras, coconut bras and shell bras.

Yup, this weekend it was all about boobs and bras.

In the hotel where I stayed, I saw a woman wearing a T-shirt that instead of the usual “Save the Ta-Tas” read “Save the Ta.”

At the end of the day on Saturday, I talked with a woman whose shirt was full on one side, flat on the other.

And in the middle of the afternoon on Sunday, a woman held back tears as she told us about her life and her decision to have a mastectomy five years ago.

Oh, yes, this weekend was ALL about boobs and ta-tas.

Or was it?

We couldn’t turn our eyes away from the pair of husky brothers in front of us, each wearing an image of their beautiful mom on their backs, with the words “In memory of.”

“In memory of.” Words I read often during this weekend, the weekend I walked 39.3 miles in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.

Opening Ceremonies for the Avon Walk on June 4, 2011

This past weekend was so emotional, so uplifting and also so sobering, that all the words I have in me are too much for one post. And so I’ll continue to write this week about my experience as my blisters heal and the vivid heat rash around my ankles fade. Stay tuned.

And we’re off! The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer begins!

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