This morning around 6:30 am, my mom and her brother, my uncle ken, set out on an extraordinary journey...for the second year in a row. The three day is an incredible event where thousands of men and women come together for a single cause...to create a world where breast cancer no longer exists. Each walker is required to raise $2,200 in donations and leave their families for three days to walk 60 miles total...20 miles each day. My mom and Uncle are probably finishing up their last 5 miles for the day and making their way towards camp where they will sleep in a tent and rest their weary bodies. Our family loves to join in the action by cheering them on at each station that they have set up along the route. This morning, my plan was to leave the house at 5 am with my babes to take part in the opening ceremonies (my most favorite of the entire weekend!)...but once that hour rolled around...and my babes were still sleeping all cozy and warm...it appeared that my duty as parent came before anything else. When these babes sleep...I really outta just let them sleep! We did manage to get down to station number one and cheer them into their 9th mile mark. It should be a fun weekend for all of us. I really love the energy surrounding this event. My sister Cory and I took on this challenge in 2005. We were greatly unprepared for the event (I think that the most I walked in "training" was a whopping 3 miles!). I had just experienced a miscarriage the week before. We were both sick with some kind of bug...but we thought it would be good for us to carry on anyway. And we did. We finished all 60 miles...and let me tell you...the satisfaction of that effort was something I had never experienced before...and haven't ever since. There was such community...such compassion...and such proof of the strength of the human spirit all around us and within us every single step of the way. Our bodies ached in ways that they never have before and our hearts did too...and it was all very powerful.
This year...my participation at the cheering stations may be a little less than last...because I have two babes this year...and one who doesn't like big crowds or sitting still for very long...but my heart is with all of these walkers (my good friend Erin and her mama are joining in as well!)...and their courage is one that I am incredibly grateful for. Almost everyone we know is effected by this disease in one way or another. The year that I walked, one of the most prominent memories in my mind was walking through the cheering stations and seeing young mothers with their children by their sides...young mothers who had breast cancer...who were undergoing treatment and proudly showing the truth of their journey. They were there...thanking ME and all of the other walkers for their efforts...for making a difference...for taking steps, when in actuality, it felt as though we should be thanking THEM for their strength...and for their inspiration...and for their bravery in facing each day. It really is a telling picture of how much we need each other.
If you think of it, will you send out some good love to my mom and uncle these next three days? They have amazing determination...and their motivation in doing all of this (as a way of honoring their own mama who was a breast cancer survivor) is something that reaches deep and touches our entire family.