Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Avon Walk 2013 Redux

So this year, as many of you know, I participated in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Charlotte, NC.  I signed up for the walk, at a discount, last year when participating in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Chicago.  It is my goal to experience the Avon Walk in each of the host cities.  I could use the excuse that it gives me a chance to view the local sights, but the reality is, you follow a path and if your path takes you past pretty stuff, then you're good.  Otherwise, as was the case with this walk, you're checking out the pretty Craftsman homes!  In truth, I am really just running away from the hills of the DC Walk.  What, you didn't think DC had hills?  Just try walking in and out, up and down the streets of Georgetown and Silver Spring!

This year, there were many factors against participating.  Fundraising was harder, training was nonexistent and oh, yeah, that whole seven months pregnant thing.  The more you tell me I can't or shouldn't do something, the more I want to do it.  Just ask my mom - I'm contrary like that.  To say that being pregnant (and busy) impacted my training would be an understatement, but I was confident I could do the 13 miles.  I knew there would be blood, sweat and possibly tears, but I had this.

Two weeks before the walk, some health issues, and doubts, started to appear.  For the first time ever, I doubted that I could finish something I started.  Fortunately, the healthy issues (braxton hicks and high blood pressure) were not significant enough for me not to participate, but admonishments were given to take it slow and do no more than I could.

I won't bore you with all the details, but I will say that I finished.  I thwarted the hills of Charlotte (who KNEW???), the steps they threw in just for fun on day 2 and the voice in my head that kept telling me to quit.  I gained inspiration in some of the strangest ways ever:  a pug in a dog cart with issues exactly like Sunshine's (!) who appeared when I was ready to quit, a woman who had a miserable time trying to raise funds and awareness, but who walked anyway and the girl from Florida who was woefully unprepared for the 40 degree weather but camped anyway!  And, oh yeah, the telltale hairless heads of women who had just finished chemo and brought with them not on the the strength to fight, but to walk as well. 

Many of you have said that I was awesome for doing the walk and remarked that you were unsure how I was able to do it as pregnant as I was.  I had a choice, for sure, to postpone to another year.  But I couldn't help but keep positioned in the forefront of my mind that my 26 mile walk was nothing compared to the battle many brave women and men, and their friends and loved ones, face daily.  This walk wasn't about me, it wasn't about me proving the naysayers wrong - it was about those who fought this disease with everything they have, win or lose and are mad as hell they had to do it in the first place.  It's about making sure that girls in KIC's generation have better weapons to fight with, or, hopefully, not ever having to fight at all.  And it's about ensuring that even if you don't know someone who has been personally affected by breast cancer, you cannot let blinders keep you from understanding the impact that this horrible disease has on the lives of those who have known someone impacted by breast cancer.

Second to childbirth, this is one of the most grueling experiences I have ever had in my life.  If it wasn't for the support of donations, my cowalker Sarah, and my wonderful friend Terri who was willing to hurry up and wait to schlep our tired bodies home, I could not and would not have done this.  I am grateful to everyone for their support and honored to be walking for such a worthy cause.  But, I hope you will remember, the true heroes, the humans who are really awesome, are the ones who go into battle everyday.  Send them your accolades and support.  Lord knows, they can use all the support they can get.

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