Tuesday, June 07, 2005

These Boobs Were Made For Walking

You just never know what pithy slogan you'll spy next at the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. (Other favorites: Tough Guys Wear Pink. Bosom Buddies. Breast Friends.) One of my favorite aspects of the event is simply observing the people--their creativity and cleverness displayed on t-shirts and signs; their commitment to the legacy of a common loved one; their solidarity in a common cause. It really is incredible when you see the line of pink and white moving down the lakefront...when you hear a huge crowd of people erupt in wild and yet at the same time reverent applause at the mention of a breast cancer survivor...to see women of all ages, shapes, and sizes walking side by side through heat, thunderstorms, and pain because statistics show that until a cure is found, 1 in 7 of them will do battle with breast cancer themselves.

Working "behind the scenes" this year was not everything I dreamed it would be. In fact, it fell short of just about every expectation I had. (Except for getting to carry on authoritative sounding walkie-talkie conversations. That was rad.) But there at the finish line, cheering the walkers in, all of the heat, humidity, sunburn, fatigue, and frustration faded away. Over several hours women walked in along that final stretch, some striding triumphantly, others barely managing to put one foot in front of the other. Some waved at the crowd or pumped their fists in the air; others wiped tears from their eyes. Some crossed the finish line clinging to family and friends in the moment, while others crossed alone, cherishing memories of dear ones lost in the past.

Unfulfilled expectations aside, I'm glad I participated again this year. Glad that I was again able to be part of something that will make a difference in the lives of thousands of women, rippling out into their families and communities. Because out of those thousands of women, some of those affected will be my friends, more members of my family, or maybe even myself.

One weekend of my life, some blood, some sweat, and some tears...a small contribution toward a breast cancer free tomorrow.

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