I don’t know if you guys remember, but back in May, I told y’all all about my itch to do something remarkable. It took me a lot of time and research to figure out just what it would be, but once I found the Susan G. Komen 3-Day, I knew it was just the thing!
When I was younger, my Nana was diagnosed with breast cancer. Lucky for our family, she made it into remission and now is a healthy, long-living survivor. We are forever grateful. But, last year, we lost my Aunt Tricia to a long, hard battle with endometrial cancer. It hit our family like a ton of bricks and left me looking for some way to heal and a way to do something productive against this terrible disease.
I’m also just at a point in my life where I want to make sure I live in a meaningful way and that I do all of the things I want to do… things like travel, challenge myself (physically and emotionally) and do good for others.
So, from May – November, my sister and I threw events, sold t-shirts, put together giveaways and asked some really wonderful and generous people to support us on our campaigns and luckily, they did. So many businesses and individuals gave their hard-earned money to help us get one step closer to eradicating cancer.
So a week and a half ago, we both hopped on a plane (from different destinations – this was my first solo flight, so I was a little scared!) and headed out to San Diego. We woke up Friday morning even more nervous… nervous that we wouldn’t be able to make it all 60 miles, nervous that we would let our donors down, nervous that we didn’t know what we had gotten ourselves into. All of these fears didn’t subside, but were calmed the second the opening ceremonies began. It was raining that morning (despite a 0% chance of rain) and there was a double rainbow in the sky.
Survivors, current cancer fighters and those that have lost loved ones graced the stage, telling their stories of how they have been impacted by cancer and I literally sobbed standing there in the middle of this crowd in the middle of the rain. It blows your mind to realize just how much each one of us is affected by cancer and the toll it has taken on our lives. I cried for their pain, but also because I really, really miss my aunt and finally because I knew those two rainbows were all of our loved ones looking down on us from above and giving us the support we needed to make it through.
From that moment on, I didn’t stop smiling. I have never met so many thoughtful and kind people in my life… from the police men and women dressed in pink that provided us with music to keep us going, to the safety crew that kept us safe and got us from point A to point B each day, to the cheering crowds dressed in funny outfits, to all of our fellow walkers. It was seriously a magical experience that I can’t even explain in words.
Then, on top of it all, my first trip to the west coast did not disappoint. Although I begrudged the miles spent climbing up hills, they sure were beautiful to look at. The cliffs, homes in the hillsides and gorgeous beaches literally left me in awe.
So we walked and we walked and then we walked some more… through San Diego’s beaches, towns and parks. I can’t count how many times a stranger told me “thank you for walking”, but all I could think is “thank you for keeping me going”. I felt like an old lady because my hips were hurting so badly and I looked kinda funny the second half of the walk with my blistered, achy feet, but no aches and pains from the walk could compare to what cancer patients have to endure. So we pushed through it and on day 3 when we walked through the finish line, I literally couldn’t believe we had made it. I cried again (in case y’all haven’t realized I’m a crier, haha), but then we danced and sang with everyone to celebrate this huge victory. Together, our walk in San Diego raised $6.5 million for breast cancer research and treatment, which is so amazing!
During the walk I kept thinking… this is one thing I’ll mark off of my bucket list, but I can never do it again! Little did I know, just a few hours later, my sister and I would be talking about signing up for the Atlanta walk again next fall!
I want to say thank you again to everyone who took part in our campaigns and made this possible and I want to encourage anyone else who has a passion for fighting cancer to join us on our next walk. If you think you can’t do it, you’re wrong. And I’ll be happy to walk right alongside you the entire way! 🙂
Want to know more about the Susan G. Komen 3-Day? Leave me a comment below or shoot me a message – I’d love to talk to you about it more!!
C’est la vie,