Last weekend I walked 26 miles through the lovely town of Santa Barbara with 2500 women and men, only 2 of whom I knew. We walked as part of the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, raising a minimum of $1800 each, most walkers raised more, to help in the fight against this horrible disease. I walked for the first time last year with my friend who is a survivor and the entire event was so motivating that I signed up again for this year.
I walk for a few reasons: breast cancer has touched many women I know, I want to improve my health and walking is a great way to do that, the event itself is a very uplifting experience and I love the feeling of being part of something bigger than myself.
At the finish line!
My experience with breast cancer began when I was a little girl and my favorite aunt, my mother’s sister, was stricken with the disease. She suffered from a horrible, long illness and passed away when I was 10. I had grown up with her in my life and my two cousins are like brothers to me. My mother was devastated by the loss of her sister-who was her closest confidant and supporter. I felt the emptiness with anger and sadness. Through the years, my friends have also received the diagnosis, but fortunately most have survived. I am walking for more prevention, a cure and the eradication of this disease.
I am walking to improve my health, build strength and stamina to improve my own chances of a long and healthy life. I want to be there for my daughters future, to share time with my husband and to continue on my adventure in life. I want to be strong, healthy and take challenges like the Avon Walk as opportunities to push myself to a higher limit.
I walk in honor and in memory of those touched by breast cancer.
I enjoy the camaraderie of the Avon Walk from the participants to the event coordinators, volunteers and crew. Women and men of all different shapes and sizes, ages, races and social classes walk together in a big cloud of pink through cities around the country to bring awareness and make a positive statement: We are walking for a cause that we are determined to win.
A very motivated group of 2500, ready to start the first day of a two-day walk!
Our lives are filled with egocentric thoughts, activities and experiences. Participating in the Avon Walk is a chance to put myself on the back burner and to do something for others. I am not the star, the biggest fundraiser or the fastest walker. I am one of many, and that feeling of being a part of something bigger than myself, is humbling. Raising money for this cause, walking for two days with 2500 selfless participants and survivors through a city that comes out to support us, fills me with love, positive energy and determination to continue.
- Walking with Lezlie, my friend of 25 years, and her daughter Courtney, who I have known since she was 2. Three days before the walk, Courtney’s best friend was diagnosed with breast cancer. The day before the walk she had a double mastectomy. She is 27 years old. It can happen to anyone at anytime.
I have already signed up for next years walk and I am in training again.
Houses were decorated to welcome us to neighborhoods throughout Santa Barbara.