The story of our 3 day journey
We want to thank all those who supported us through donations, prayers and well wishes. We had an amazing time and are excited to share the details of our journey with you all. If you've never read a blog before, read from the bottom up. These are just my ramblings, so if you follow this, when Christine gets home, I think she'll add some of her thoughts as well. If you click "follow" on the right hand side of this page, you will be updated if she posts. Oh, and I am not a talented writer, sorry 'bout that.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
We are rockstars. Pink, port a potty rocking, walking, rockstars.
Early Friday morning, we shivered and cried thru the opening ceremonies. We watched as they raised white flags with the names of loved ones lost. Kathie's name flew that morning. Rather than try to detail it, I hope you will relive that morning with us by watching the opening ceremony. It is truly moving. Click here to watch> Susan G. Komen Philadelphia 3-Day 2010 Opening Ceremony
We walked 20 miles that day, traveling thru the Chestnut Hill and Manayunk communities. And we became rockstars. People lined the streets and cheered (screamed), high-fived, and passed out candy. Lots of candy. In neighborhoods we walked thru, people decorated houses. As we passed schools, the children lined the sidewalks, decked out in pink, and cheered us on. Cars honked as they drove by. People loved us. And we loved them. These "walker stalkers" keep us going. They are awesome. There was a woman in a wheelchair, a survivor I believe. She and a friend would set up their own cheering station, complete with candy, tissues, etc, twice a day each day of the walk. We'd see her in the morning early into the route and then later on in the day towards the end of the route. She cheered us all on. She was a rockstar.
Day 2 took us thru the Main Line, Bryn Mawr and Haverford. Haverford College hosted us for lunch in a postcard like setting. We met a sweet pizza shop owner who offered little slices of heaven to every weary walker that passed. Aside: I would be remiss if I did not mention my dear friend Christine's love of the blue lagoons (3 day speak for port a potty.) There was nary a one she did not visit. However, though these pit stops were spaced less than 3 miles apart, they were not nearly close enough for Christine. At this quaint little pizza shop, Teeny of course stopped to use the potty. We traveled on from there, crossing a crazy intersection, over a bridge and as we were about to cross another road, she noticed her Camelbak was missing. Yes, you guessed it, back to the pizza shop we went. Actually, I waited for her on the bridge and she went back down to the shop to retrieve her pack. One word Teeny, Toviaz.
Day 3 led us thru the city of Philadelphia. Perhaps we were not so much rockstars now, but more like exhibits from a Ripley's side show. Seems the city folk weren't as aware of who we were and why we were walking as the suburbanites. The dudes in tutus drew a few more stares and Teeny's pink pigtails were very "special" to the fine folks in Chinatown. But everyone was kind and we still maintained our rock star status at the cheering stations. We also got to see some really cool historic sites and Christine got to pee in the Ritz Carlton, just like a rockstar. Before I forget the other rockstars of the 3 day, I need to mention the crew. There were those who worked food service always decked out in some kooky costume to lift our spirits and feed our souls. Those who drove the sweep vans to look for walkers who just couldn't go on. And to beep and cheer and give us the thumbs up to keep us going. And then there was the safety crew. There was Thonnie Smith, the combat veteran recently back from Iraq. And the Tutu brothers, Kristian and Ken Kauker. They've served on bike safety in Philly for the past 3 years. They do it in honor of their mom, Julie, a 4 year survivor. And they wear tutus and fuzzy pink spikes on their helmets because "good men wear pink, real men wear tutus." They all kept us going.
We ended our walk at The Navy Yard. We came in about 150th, so we had a lot of time to relax and then welcome in our fellow walkers. This part was really cool. To see the faces of these people as they made it, finally, was priceless. There was joy, relief, pride, pain, maybe a little sadness, and tears. Lots of tears. It was very overwhelming to walk into that final line up of people cheering you on and high fiveing like rockstars. I will never forget the face of the young man, probably in his mid 20's, that came thru sobbing. He was walking in memory of his mom. To see vibrant young men, teenagers, gray-haired survivors, middle aged couples, sisters, of every age, race, and fitness level cross that final threshold with tears streaming down their faces, holding each other up, it moves your soul. Your are there. You cannot turn back and you will be back.
And then they walk you into closing ceremony. Your last rockstar walk. And you cry the whole way. After the walkers, the crew comes in, and finally the survivors. Clad in pink, the real rockstars, come in. We hold a shoe high to honor these women. These heroes. The living embodiment of why we walk. The final address is delivered (we raised 5.7 million in Philly!!) and the last flag is raised to signify the end of the walk. (Click here to watch the closing ceremony, but have your tissues ready!)>Susan G. Komen Philadelphia 3-Day 2010 Closing Ceremony Christine and I hugged and sobbed for awhile and then the pink dispersed. And it was over. All the training and fundraising, the walking, the crying, the pain, the anticipation, is done. But the pink spirit lives on. And more walkers will walk for a cure all over cities in the U.S. And we start planning for next year. We've taken notes to be better prepared for next time. And we hope to have a bigger team. We've got plans and ideas. We're excited and we hope you are too. Because once the pink has touched your soul, you are changed forever. And it's a good change.