I just completed the 2012 Susan G. Komen 3-day for the Cure. I wrote about my experience originally on What's Cookin' with the Johnstons, but wanted to reprint it here. Enjoy!
I've avoided all political topics during this election season. Today I'm going to talk about Susan G. Komen and an event I support each year. It's something I'm incredibly passionate about. It's also something some consider political. If you want a fantastic breakdown of the Komen/Planned Parenthood debate, please read this. While I disagree with her views on Planned Parenthood and abortion, I love her perspective. Above all, breast cancer is not political. It doesn't affect democrats, republicans, rich, poor, white, black, or purple. It doesn't even affect women. It touches everyone. And because of that, I will continue to walk.
Last weekend I participated in my 6th Susan G. Komen 3-day for the Cure event. You can read about my first event, second year, the year I walked in Atlanta and Dallas, and the year I walked while 31 weeks pregnant. I have walked 360 event miles (and countless training miles!) and raised almost $14,000 over the past 5 years. This year, like all the others, was remarkable, moving, and life-altering. While I cannot possibly articulate the impact the event has made on my life, I want to try.
Here's how things went down!
Friday morning Jarrod drove Courtney, Philip, Wesley, and I to Collin Creek Mall for Opening Ceremony. It's one of the most beautiful events of the year. We arrived well before the sun was up. I fed Wesley in the car and we made our way towards the stage. We met up with our friends and teammates, Laurie and Holly.
It was a relatively warm morning. We're used to being very cold at opening ceremony, but this year it was delightful. After snapping some pictures and shedding some tears, we hit the road!
On Friday we walked 19 miles. We walked from opening ceremony at Collin Creek Mall in Plano to our tent city in Farmers Branch. It was a long but beautiful day. We enjoyed our fantastic cheering stations and by lunch were already pretty sore. It was clear we didn't train this year like we have in years past. I figured this year would be easier because I wasn't pregnant, but I trained a lot more when I was pregnant... And if you're worried that we go hungry, have no fear...graham cracker peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I seriously ate more in 3 days than the previous 2 weeks!
|One of my favorite 3-day snacks!|
I'm a traitor... I loved the camp aspect of the 3-day until last year when I was far too pregnant to be sleeping in a tent. This year, because of nursing, I chose to stay in the hotel and keep Wesley with me. I still encourage everyone to camp, but staying in a hotel is what is best for me right now.Back at the hotel we played with Wesley, Jarrod got dinner and we all took showers. Being clean really made us all feel a lot better and more human. By 7pm or so it was time for bed. We put Wesley in his pack 'n play and turned out the lights. We had some trouble falling asleep because of pain, but eventually we were all asleep.
The alarm went off at 5am and we got ready for the day. I pumped, nursed Wesley, and got ready. We applied Body Glide, packed our bags, and hit the road! Jarrod drove us to camp and we arrived in time for some breakfast. After meat, eggs, and pastries, we lined up to wait for the route to open at 7:50am.
Shortly after lunch was a cheering station. We saw a bunch of Philip's family, which was awesome. And Philip got his official 3-day outfit...
And things went downhill quickly after that. It was in the high 80s and the route was mostly in the sun. It was getting later in the day and was very hot. I walked ahead of Philip and Courtney for about 6 miles. It was brutally hot and mostly miserable. There weren't people cheering and the area we were walking through wasn't very pretty. It was a tough 6 miles to camp, but I made it. I walked 23 miles on Saturday and it was HARD! Courtney and Philip met up with me and we captured a very thankful 40 mile picture around 5:30pm.
After dinner, Jarrod took us back to the hotel. Jarrod had bathed Wesley and cared for him all afternoon while we walked. When we got back, I took a quick shower while Jarrod fed Wesley before I finished packing some stuff up and Jarrod left. He had to work on Sunday morning, so he left Wesley with us for the night. Courtney and Philip helped me take care of him, but around 7:30pm we were all ready for bed. We put Wesley in the pack 'n play and turned the lights out. Philip kept the TV on quietly...evidently there was a football game on. :-)
We gained an hour and went to bed so early, so we were up way before the sun. The alarm was set for 5am, but we were up well before that. We packed up our things, got ready for the day, and went to the lobby with our bags to wait for my mother in law. She arrived before 6:15am and we packed up the car for camp.
Mary Jo dropped us at camp for breakfast and she had a date with Wesley. We grabbed breakfast and got in line for the bus. We were being bussed to a school in Dallas and started our walk from there. It was a cooler morning, but still gorgeous. We met some lovely people in line waiting for the bus, which was really fun. We got on a school bus around 7:30am and were on the route by 7:45am or so.
Young survivors - the ones I know and the ones I don't. I know of several young women 35 and younger who have beat cancer or are fighting cancer. I was overwhelmed with pictures of young women who lost their battle on the route. I was overwhelmed with women cheering who were battling. We sat next to a medical crew member at dinner who told us about her sweet sister. She lost her battle at the age of 28, leaving behind a 14 month old baby. I snuggled Wesley a little tighter that night, thanking God for the opportunity to fight.
Those we've lost - I went to a funeral of a dear friend just a few short weeks ago. She was a vibrant 42 year old mama of 4 kids. She raised many other kids in our church. She was the most wonderful and joyful person, but lost her battle with cancer after a rough 6 month fight. Not fair. I'll keep walking.
My boy - Sometimes in the midst of walking 60 miles it seems silly. Why exactly am I doing this? Am I really making a difference? Yes. I am part of a movement to change the world - to find a cure for breast cancer, and hopefully all cancer. I want to say to Wesley that I did what I could to make the world a better place. I want Wesley to grow up in a world where cancer is not a fear. I want him to be proud of me and know I did my best to make a difference.We were halfway through the day by pit stop 2. I found Mary Jo and Wesley and fed him. Wesley cheered all weekend in his Boob Man t-shirt and was a celebrity before the weekend was over. I fed him and we cheered for folks as we waited for Philip and Courtney to catch up with us. 8 more miles down!
We made it through 2 more cheering stations on Sunday and they were fantastic. By the time we got to lunch it was about 1pm. We ate sandwiches in the sun and rested our sore feet. We were just 2.5 miles to the end! We can do this!!
|My favorite yard sign.|
We finally made it to Holding at 3pm. This is where we receive our t-shirts and get to rest. There's food, bathrooms, water, and time to rest. We took our 60 mile photos and enjoyed time to catch up.
And because of that, I'm already registered to walk again in 2013. I invite you to join me by:
- Donating - you can make a tax-deductible donation here. Interested in matching gifts? Click here!
- Sharing your loved one - let me know about your fighter, survivor, or taken so I can walk for them.
- Walking with me - We're starting a new team this year called Walkin' Sista-tas and I want you to walk! If you have considered walking, I encourage you to join us this year. Questions? Let me know!