Saturday, October 12, 2013

A sisterhood of survivorship

Somewhere between here and there ... a blog post got lost. What is left are these photos of the SF AVON walk and the SF Race for the Cure.
I walked on Saturday a route that was long the same streets of Avon's walk from the MV bike path to their camp in Corte Madera. Passing one of their pit stop a man ran me down. he thought I had just walked by and I was their first walker through....
I am never first.
On the way back to MV I gave encouragement to walkers who were on mile 20+ on their way to camp. We are raising fund for different organizations, but we are raising funds because we want to end Cancer. I found that if I mentioned Komen I didn't get the smiles I had hope to bring, so I didn't mention Komen any more, just encouragement. Some smiles would follow.... but if I can be so bold as to say, not quite as bright as the ones I see on the 3 day. Maybe its just me.

I felt the same way when  joined my client and her family in SF for the Race for the Cure. A 5k for Komen and its local affiliate. I saw tears and smile on the 3.1 mile walk/run. I saw some happy faces too, but the real smiles, the real love I felt from a couple of 3 day folks I ran into.

Once again, maybe its just me. Maybe it is you see smile where you are comfortable. I tired to open my eyes more and began seeing more community. I began to feel how important this walk was to those who were there.

On the 5k children and dogs can come along. Sometimes women were walking because they finally could after getting far enough along in their treatments to have the strength.

Family together to celebrate the survivorship of a Mother or friend, a sister or colleague.

And me, I was able to enjoy their joy and find some of my own, running into Jim Hillman and Sheri.

And my dear friend and old colleague Erica.
I stood with a survivor as one of them told them what it meant to her to be able to run the entire 5k that year.
There were some tears in the crowd as survivors did what they do best... give hope.

I walked by this couple as I was leaving and heard her say to her emotional husband... Don't you worry, I am not going anywhere. Survivorship is a club you never chose to join, but one in which you have duties. You have the duty to be optimistic, to share your story, to be brave and be a witness to the fact you can in fact live and live well after Cancer.
I walked home to make my day a 19 mile one in training for my 3 day. I once again tried to give encouragement to the Avon walkers finishing their last day.
I saw weary walkers brighten up as I told them... you're almost there! And thank you for walking.
We walk different walks... but we walk for the same reasons. To end Breast Cancer. And I as a survivor walk this walk to say "I'm HERE! And I am not going anywhere...except another mile..."