Sunday, April 5, 2009

Avon Breast Cancer Walk 2009

Well… I did it. I walked 26.2 miles in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. I am still nursing the sore muscles, but what an amazing, wonderful experience. Our Team the "Hikers for Healthy Hooters" raised over $7,500 to go towards this much deserving cause. And believe me the money is well spent. Avon distributes millions of dollars to medical centers, research grants to hospitals and care to thousands of women who do not have insurance for treatment. Throughout the weekend, ribbons are passed out every 3 minutes signifying another person who has just been diagnosed. During our two days together, 676 people have learned they have breast cancer and 147 have lost their battle.

The walk itself was fun, but I will admit much harder than I thought it would be. I thought I was prepared, I did training walks and knew what I was in for, but there was a time towards the end when my knee was killing me and my muscles didn't want to move anymore, that I wondered why I was torturing myself. But when I crossed the finish line, I couldn’t wait to do it again next year. The support and motivation that we got from the people of Houston was wonderful. People came out of their homes to cheer you on, little kids passed out candy, cookies, chocolates, donuts and lemonade. People along the route decorated their homes, made signs, played music and dressed in costumes to keep us going. Everyone walking had a reason. They carried pictures of loved ones lost or fighting cancer. I dedicated my walk to my girls and met other moms walking for their little girls too. You really do feel a connection with these people. We are all there for the same reason — to find a cure. At one point 3 of my team mates were all in Medical being treated for one thing or another, but that did not stop any of us. In the midst of my pain I was thinking ‘how can I do this?’ Now I am thinking ‘how could I not?’

Hikers for Healthy Hooters Cindy, Crystal, Nikki, me
(shirts say don't let cancer steal second base)
I made new friendships and strengthened old ones. I guess rubbing a teammates achy feet with lotion will bring anyone closer together. We shared an experience not soon to be forgotten. I am walking away from this, or limping I should say, with great memories of a truly emotional, rewarding experience and I am reminded to keep things in perspective and to be thankful for my health and the health of my family and friends. I did this for my girls future and many more others! There was one sign that really touched my heart that said - "Some angels have wings others have sneakers"! Talk about MOTIVATION!!!

Avon is extremely organized and takes good care of the walkers. From the rest stops providing so much wonderfully cold drinks and snacks, to cold wet wash rags, to cheering and encouragement, to VERY encouraging signs along the route, to free massages and free adjustments from a chiropractor to MANY MORE! If you have ever considered doing the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, I hope my story convinces you to take the challenge. Not only do you raise money for breast cancer, you share a fun, meaningful experience with thousands of women (and a few men). After my muscles relax, I know that I will be left with a sense of accomplishment and great memories of an event I look forward to doing again and again.

Here we all are Saturday morning around 6:00am eating and getting ready for the opening ceremonies. Dark outside but you can get a sense of how many people there were.

Looking at downtown Houston as the sun was coming up Sat. morning

Us starting to walk...there was line of ladies as far as you could see


Us at mile one...still a bit chilly and having no issues.

One of the "sweaper vehicles" to take you to the next stop or medical if you needed it.

Us at mile 13 on Saturday....a few with blisters and we were all pretty tired. Around mile 11 was where we all started to hit a brick wall. But still having fun.Some of the volunteers who dressed up to pass out drinks and snacks. They were all so nice.

One of our MANY restroom breaks thanks to Crystal and her pea sized bladder. :o) I so do not love the porta potties but it was better than behind a tree...right?

Us at mile 26, hurting all over the place and VERY TIRED but happy and excited. There was a huge feeling of accomplishment that came along with walking 26 miles and doing it all for such a great cause. Thanks again to all who helped us raise the donation money.

Us coming through the finish line on Sunday! So exciting with thousands of people and media there cheering you on! Also, my mom and grandmaw came to greet us with hugs at the finish line and told us how proud they were of us. Thanks for being there mom and mamaw - I love you both very much!



jeanna said...

wow, what a great experience! i am proud of you, you walked for a great cause! good job girl!