Monday, September 8, 2008

The 3 Day Begins: Friday, August 8, 2008

Well, here I go again. My alarm went off long before the sun came up and my friend Jaime kindly drove me to the opening ceremonies. Please note that even the sky was in the spirit - giving us pink clouds.

Opening Ceremony

Our host for the ceremonies. The opening ceremony is a reflective time, ultimately firing us up for the weekend we are about to have.

The walk officially begins with this group of survivors. They stand in a circle, facing outward to represent those we have lost. They take the first steps of our walk.

Day One...along the route

Our first pit stop of the walk was in the Botanical Gardens. Look at all those people wearing pink across that little lake! YAY! We made it to lunch! Next to me is my new friend, Angela. We met during the opening ceremonies, and lucky for me we stuck together for a good portion of the weekend. She's a kind and compassionate person, and hanging out with her made the miles pass quite quickly!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Day One...back at Camp!

We just crossed the entrance line of camp! We're so excited to be here, that we made really good time (so we had some time to check out the camp life), and to go find our tents!

Day 2...along the route

These pictures were taken by my father, Jim. My parents, my aunt and uncle, and my friends Jaime and Reggie all came out to a "cheering station." These designated areas for family, friends, and the community to come show their support give us such an important boost of energy. They help us remember why we are doing this. It's such an amazing experience to come around a street corner and see hundreds of people lining the sidewalk: holding signs, giving us treats, cooling us off....

The support is phenominal...

Superior Ambulence...
they not only watched out for
our health, they kept us dancing...

In addition to our own amazing safety crew,
the police departments of the cities we walk
through help with traffic control and keeping us safe. They are kind, generous people and they give us strength. One city stood out. Please note these uniforms: we were thrilled by this symbol of support from the Mount Prospect Police.

Day 2...Back at Camp!

I'm excited to be "home," and I am looking forward to eating a great dinner, meeting new people in the dining tent, having a shower, and chatting with my awesome tentmate named Linda.

The last walkers of the day come in...every walker in and near the dining tent are on their feet and most surround them and cheer as they take the final steps and raise the flag: signalling that Day 2 has come to an official close.

Day 3...along the route

Meet Charlie.
He's very tall.
And he was also my walking buddy for ALL of Day 3. We met within the first 2 blocks of the route, and started chatting. His story is amazing because he stepped into the walk (no pun intended) 3 weeks before it started...his brother was the one scheduled to do this, but when he broke his leg, Charlie volunteered to take his place. I just looked at him and said, "wow! you're doing SO well!" If I had only trained 3 weeks, I would not have been moving by Day 3. They walked in honor of their mother, a survivor. And for his new baby daughter (who shares my name!) so that she will never need to know breast cancer. Despite his height, we matched pace perfectly and his conversation - and our interactions with those we occasionally fell into stride with - made Day 3 very enjoyable.
The route was really beautiful this year. A nice mixture of out-of-the-city nature and in-the-city views of the sky line / streets / museum campus.

Lunch, Day 3. Our last meal together. What a beautiful day for sitting in the grass next to the lake!

An ice cream place near the museum campus...I was very amused by the ladies stopping for a cone right before the finish.

At the finish line...


The Holding Area...


Our tribute as the survivors that walked
enter the Closing Ceremony...

This Angel is a part of the Safety Crew.(and is usually seen with a woman dressed as a Magic Fairy). They keep us safe by checking in on us as they ride their bikes by, and they keep our spirits up with their kindness and hearts.

I just really like this picture.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Survivor's Circle

The Survivors that ceremoniously began our journal 3 days ago, now draw it to a close with the symbolic circle - facing inward this time - and the raising of the flag: "A World Without Breast Cancer."