Back in March I was asked by my SIL, Ambrosia, to join her in the Susan G. Komen's walk for the cure. Without any hesitation, I hopped on the wagon and said, "Of course I'll do it with you!" We got 2 other girls to join our team, Tessa & Amanda, and began our fundraising right away. Our team raised over $12,000! WOW! That is just simply amazing! I still can't believe it and I am so thankful for EVERYONE that helped us reach our goals and go even further! Every single one of you, who either donated money, their time, supplies, prizes, anything, thank you from the bottom of my he♥rt. You have no idea what it means to me.
When I first agreed to do this walk, I knew I was going to have a great experience and was so excited to be apart of this great cause. I knew our team was doing our job by spreading breast cancer awareness in our small town and we had such a great time doing so. Pink wigs & all! Fundraising was hard at times and training was always hard. I started off pretty good, but then there was just no time. Walking 3 to 4 miles with a 4 year old in a stroller and a baby strapped to your chest was no idea of fun for me and I could only do it so often. I did what I could and I just need to be happy with that.
The week before we left, our team was busy texting each other constantly making sure we had all our gear and supplies we needed for our weekend getaway. The bags were packed, sleeping bags rolled, and shoes were ready for walking.
We hopped in Amber's swagger wagon and left on Thursday morning. We did get in somewhat of a traffic jam on I~10 and I was craving some chocolate. I thought...maybe one of these cars has chocolate, so I decided to ask. :)
We unloaded the bus when we arrived to the opening ceremonies, it was still dark outside, and there was so many people. AND it was sooo cold. We dumped our luggage off at the "E" truck and headed to check~in.
|In front of the Opening Ceremony sign|
The stage was set up, glowing balls with words of wisdom on them, flags everywhere, and everyone in their beanies and gloves dancing to the music getting ready for the ceremony to begin. Everyone despite the cold, had smiles on their faces and were ready to start walking. People were decked out in pink and there were some great outfits. We came across this gentlemen who dyed his uniform pink. His name badge said, "For my mother", that's when it hit me even harder. This was going to be an experience I was never going to forget. I could already feel the tears swelling up in my eyes.
|We took a picture of him when we saw him later walking!|
Our team gathered in the area where the ceremony was going to be held and Jenne Fromm, the national spokesperson for the SGK 3~Day, came out on stage. The music played and she spoke to us and told us all why we were here doing what we were doing. The flags strolled in, MY MOTHER, MY HUSBAND, MY AUNT, MY SISTER, MY GRANDMOTHER, MYSELF all being carried by someone.The tears started rolling. They made their way to the center and the flags were placed all around. The people carrying the flags grabbed hands and lifted their hands up high.
♫ I got a feeling.....wooooo....hoooooo.....that tonight's gonna be a good night, that tonight's gonna be a good, good, night♫
We were off! Walking thru a path that was made by all the family and friends that came out to opening ceremonies. All cheering us on telling us we could do it! Clapping and dancing to the music we were on our way to walk our 19.6 miles for the first day.
"Thank you for walking for our daughters"
I was speechless. The tears were rolling down my cheek. I couldn't believe this couple lost both of their daughters to breast cancer. One was 40 and the other was 43. Amanda & I both looked at each other and we both knew we had to continue walking. Only 2 more miles to go. The pain in my knee was throbbing and I could barely walk. Many people would have said, why keep walking? You already did the hard part by raising the money. Here is my answer. I know this walk wasn't all about the walking. It was earning the money to be able to go and walk and spreading the awareness. But the sense of accomplishment after walking a full day, 19.6 miles, and walking thru the camp gates......is indescribable. I couldn't believe Amanda & I had just walked the full 19.6 miles. I could barely walk and this point and as soon as we got thru the gates we fell to the grass. We just wanted to sit, but we knew we wouldn't be able to get back up. I hobbled over to our tent, and thank God that our wonderful teammates, Amber & Tessa had set up our pink tent for us. I hobbled to the shower and then hobbled over to the medical tent. I was done. My knee hurt so bad that I seriously was ready to throw in the towel and go home. I didn't want to stay. I had texted people who said they would come get me and I told them I would let them know in the morning. I hurt so bad. The lady in the medical tent I possibly sprained my knee. I iced it and headed to dinner.
My hair was wet, it was freezing outside, my knee was killing me and I just wanted to sleep. Lights out was 9pm and it couldn't come fast enough. We listened to the Camp Show, which is basically where Jenne Fromm talks about the events from the day, what to expect for the next day and then their is some entertainment. It was pretty entertaining.
After the Camp Show, we headed to our tent to hit the sack. Now we weren't sleeping in luxurious hotels, on cots or anything comfortable. We were in a small pink tent with our air mattress. But go figure mine & Amber's had a leak in it and it deflated before I was even asleep. So after walking all day and then sleeping on a hard, cold ground, 6am came pretty fast. We were all really tired and my knee was still killing me so we decided to take the bus straight to lunch. This was a big day for miles, 22.4, and there was just no way that I was going to be able to make it. Tessa's knees were still bothering her a little bit so we walked only 4 miles this day.
We arrived to our camp early that day and had a 2 lovely ladies from our hometown waiting for us. Dana & Tessa's mom, Deb. They drove up and greeted us as we hopped off the bus. What a sweet moment. It was so nice having someone we know be there. It really meant a lot to us.
|We L♥VE Dana!|
We L♥VE Deb!
We woke up on Sunday morning, packed our tent and hopped on the bus to start our 15.6 mile walk. We all knew it was the last day and we were eager to get to closing ceremonies. My knee was still tender so I wrapped it pretty good. It was hard to walk and before we even reached the first pit stop I could barely walk. I didn't want to give up. I wanted to be able to walk into closing ceremonies and complete another full day. Everyone on my team wanted to do the same. I saw other people out there hobbling from either muscle pain, joint pain, blisters, you name it, and knew if they could do it so could I. We continued on and poor Amanda's knee started to hurt. She needed to break so her and Amber hopped in the sweeper van and headed to lunch. Tessa & I continued on. When we arrived at lunch the pain in my knee was almost unbearable. I had the lady tape it so I couldn't bend it and we walked the rest of the way. We did it! All 15.6 miles. This last day was the hardest. We had to push ourselves to the limit. After not sleeping in cozy beds and walking on hard cement all throughout the Phoenix area, we had to pull from deep inside to walk thru the closing ceremonies. We were in the holding area and received our T~shirts and a pink rose. We sat there in exhaustion waiting for the closing ceremonies to take place. I personally wanted to just lay down and pass out. I was pooped. They gathered us all together and we headed out. Walking thru a crowd that continuously clapped and cheered for us. Jenne Fromm said her closing statement and told all us AZ walkers that we raised $4.4 million dollars! Incredible! Then the survivors came out. Everyone took off one shoe and raised it in the air.
The survivors flooded in and made their way to the centers. The shoe raised in the air was symbolism as to why we were all out their walking, raising the money. It gave me goosebumps. During the whole weekend you had no idea who were survivors, who was battling breast cancer right now, or who was just walking for loved ones unless you had talked to them personally over the weekend. All the walkers wore white shirts and the survivors wore pink. Looking at all these survivors, tears rolling down their cheeks, made me realize that you really need to cherish your life and live your life to the fullest. You never know when something might happen.
The ceremony ended and we headed back to the van. I met up with my husband and kids and couldn't have been more thankful to see them.
I was sore from walking and super tired. Ready to go home and sleep in my nice comfy bed. What an experience. This was definitely 3 days that I will never forget.
Everyone that was out there, the safety crew, medical crew, crew members, firefighters, girl scouts, police department, Harley Davidson fellas, everyone was so supportive. We were constantly hearing, "Thank you for walking." I loved seeing everyone out there decked out in pink, even men! It was awesome! I will never forget this experience. I couldn't thank the girls on my team enough. It was difficult at times, and yes we got on each other's nerves sometimes, but I wouldn't want to do it with anyone else. I am glad I got to experience this with them for the first time. ♥ you girls!