Last weekend I walked 39.3 miles in two days in the Avon Walk For Breast Cancer in Charlotte, NC. Walking for the Pink; raising money and awareness to aid in wiping out the scourge that is breast cancer. It was one of the best experiences of my life. Even though the start of the walk took off in 28 degree weather at 7:00AM, the sight of 2000 plus walkers, wearing many different shades of pink, was thrilling. There were women and men, young and old, healthy and less than healthy walking. Some of us were walking for friends and family who have lost their battle with breast cancer. Others were survivors of the disease. All walked to show the tough battle it is to overcome such a horrible diagnosis.
A lot of people will say, “Well, you are just walking, how hard can that be?” Come walk the trail and find out. This year the weather dipping to such lows made it difficult. I put several layers of clothing on thinking that once I got going I would warm up; NOT! Even after the sun came up I didn’t drop the hood of my sweatshirt until mile ten. My fingers, in gloves, got cold as well as my toes. I walk all the time and this was the first time I have ever had that happen. Mile 13 was the lunch break. We sat in the sun and I was still shivering by the time I got ready to start the second half of the day. I finally shed the sweatshirt and vest at mile 17 and tied it around my waist. At mile 20 was when I realized it hurt to stop for traffic lights or any other reason. Soon it was just put one foot in front of the other and not think about anything except to keep moving. In my case, my mind was working the next few pages of my novel I’m working on. My knee started to go at mile 23. (Old injury) Then I saw the 25 mile marker and adrenalin spiked. I was almost there. The finish line for the first day was at 26.2 miles, a marathon, and it was wonderful to cross over it.
I forgot all the pain in my feet and legs when I saw another walker come in with me who had no hair. She was a survivor who had just finished chemo therapy. If I, a healthy young female was tired, what must she have been? There were so many tears shed on that finish line; we had made it and we could beat the odds. It reminded me that the hard work it took to walk that far was nothing compared to the pain and mental toughness it takes to battle breast cancer, any cancer for that matter. I was after all walking because I could; how about the women and men who had died this past year to this disease? They can’t walk so we must. We forget the men that get breast cancer: 400 men died of breast cancer this past year.
Breast Cancer is a disease that does not care if you are old or young. It does not care if you are a man or a woman. It does not care what kind of lifestyle you have led or if you are rich or poor. It does not care what continent you live on, what religion you follow, what the color of your skin is. Cancer doesn’t care. So I walk to battle. I fight for those who can’t. They can’t, I can, and I will.
Stay tuned for day two of the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.