Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Raising the final flag

Back on the bus at 0 dark hundred, we headed back to camp where we met the rest of the team and boarded a bus to the starting point for day 3. Barbara and Alicia had stayed at a cousin's house in Potomac, and they were there bright and early. Alicia was getting her leg taped and blisters attended to since her intention was to walk the last day. This of course worried us, since after all, this is a walk about health. Although Blisters don't need chemo, a wrecked tendon can cause someone to be out of commission for too long.

The weather looked like it would cooperate.
We were filled with excitement for the day ahead.

The girls... Allison and Alicia

When we boarded the bus to the starting point Patti and I were asked to sign one woman's flag ( a survivor ) and this woman's shirt. The picture on the front of her shirt is of her daughter who is 4 months pregnant. Her options for therapy have been limited. Once again, we were hit with the significance of the walk and the importance of the money raised.

When we got to the staring point we ran into Cate Edwards and Trevor Upham again. Team Elizabeth was doing their part to end the disease that took Cate's mother too soon. I envy them one thing. By being who she is, she has the potential to be heard louder and clearer than many other people. But I remind myself, even this old realtor lady and her friend are heard. We gave them the idea to walk. I am excited for them. Their life ahead has all the potential of being very significant, Trevor as a Doctor and Cate as the director of a foundation she is forming in her Mother's name that will provide funds to talented young women without resources to pursue their dreams.

Allison knows about this walk. She knows the importance of stretching.

We were waved goodbye to from this pink clad fireman.

These young ladies saw us off too.

I loved the message on this shirt.
"I walked 60 miles and all I got is"
Click on the picture and read the list.
What you can't see is the bottom line under her fanny pack
"And this tee-shirt"


And the best part....
Our coffee delivery. Glenn had one extra cup so I suggested he give it to one of the other walkers.
This gal literally did a cartwheel before taking the cup.
And giving Glenn a hug.

We walked through some Maryland neighborhoods headed back to DC.

One long hill through a neighborhood luckily had a couple of bubble blowing cheerers. I stop to catch my breath and have Allison take a picture.

We stopped for lunch at a Metro station. This fine gentleman pulled out a chair for Patti. I must have looked a little disappointed because he pulled another one out for me.

Seems a whole lot of people took the opportunity to air out those warrior feet.

Are We There Yet feet...

Another poor walker...

Walking over the bridge heading into DC

Cheerers on the way


Judi had scouted a place for a beer on the final leg of the walk in Dupont Circle

Allison didn't mind

Patti had received beer money from Wren and friends for her birthday.

They knew an icey beer with lime was part of our training regimen.

Allison thanks the pink fireman

While several groups stood curbside to thank us.

Those crew members work so hard on this event. They are awesome!

"If I am walking for boobs, why do my feet hurt?"

These tutu gals were awesome. Singing and dancing along the way.
Thanking me for my 16 years.

OK.... there they are! STALKERS at the white house!

Shhhhh. They bought some of us a icey beer (ice melted because Komen had us zig zag our way to the White House.) Allison did not participate.

The team minus Alicia who had swept to the closing ceremony.

We brought with us pink ribbons to tie on the White house fence. There had been a lot of discussion on whether we would be allowed to do this. We were. It was one of those moments you will never forget.

It just felt like the exclamation point on what we were trying to do, bring attention to the battle against Cancer.

We brought Alicia's ribbon to tie on for her.

Poignant Pink

Curtiss walked the rest of the way to the closing with Barbara, while the rest of the stalkers fast forwarded to closing to find a good spot to watch.

I put on my button sash and walked the rest of the way in honor of survivors and those who had not survived.

Judy who had an injury finished strong with my gal Patti.

I thought of Mom, I thought of Glenn's Mom, I thought of Olivia and Leslie and Beverly and Jane. I thought of Alice and Gloria, and Tamara and Nicole. I thought of my daughters and my grandfather, Nancy and all the other who found a spot on the sash each and every moment I have been able to live past my diagnosis and the duty I feel to make that matter.

Those last steps deepened the meaning of this already powerful walk.

I am sure it was the same way for many. It isn't an ending - it is a shout. We are here. We are not stopping until there is an end to this diesase.

The team poses at holding before getting our shirts.

We made it!

And so did so the bags.

Barbara celebrates.

Team in holding ...

Patti thanks Trash Boy!

Another thanks the pink q-tip

They organized the group into survivors wearing pink, walkers wearing white, crew, volunteers

The survivor circle participants were held back for last.

We got to cheer as every walker walked in first.

All celebrating a great achievement

There are my gals...

The crew and medical and volunteers come in first to the ceremony, followed by the walkers. When the survivors enter there is a salute.

Patti would have been one of the first to see it.

Everyone raises a shoe in salute.

Can't tell you how moving that was to me when I saw it first in 2009.

And it still is. But we in the survivor circle were still waiting to come in and I felt bad for some of the first time walkers in the circle that they didn't get to feel that moment. But we had a different moment.

I came in with my flag ready to find my spot on stage. The second person in the circle missed her spot to put her flag, so when I came in and looked for my place to put my flag it wasn't there. Glenn said it looked like musical chairs. I wandered a bit and looked and then looked from face to face until finally someone spotted the empty spot, just in time...
Joining hands with other survivors, you could feel the power.

This ceremony is so moving to me. The words are still just about the same as they have been for awhile. But it ends with a raising of a flag.

"Like mountain climbers who plant their flag to symbolize the attainment of the summit, this flag is a proof that we were here. Living, breathing and shouting with every step "We will never give up, WE will NEVER give up, WE WILL NEVER GIVE UP!"

The flag says "A World Without Breast Cancer."

And we believe what we have done, DOES matter.

And it is worth celebrating.

We are powerful pink warriors.

Still flying high we took a while to sit on the green drink some champagne.

And congratulate each other.

And get a bright red rose from our stalkers.

This is the end???

Or a waystop on a journey?

It is a moment for soaring.

And that calls for congratulations.

Or a final drink of water.

Or a moment to just relax

Knowing the pink is never far behind

And friends who matter are always there.

Deep satisfaction

The final rose.

Thinking about what we lost along the way in this life and realizing how much we have found.

Now its time to chill out.

Get those feet ready for "normal life"

And leave this city behind
And stare into the eyes of those who matter, and who are always by your side.

Thanks for all your support. With your help I was the #4 individual fund raiser with over $16,100 going toward research and community programs that will END this disease. That's in a town of fundraisers! Our team was #2 per capita with over $31,000 raised and the walk itself raised over 7 million dollars.I will be walking next year in SF. You can get me off to a great start with a donation at

Because we aren't done yet!