Saturday, October 26, 2013

Day 1 Atlanta, Are We There Yet rises again

It's been a week since I was walking in a heavy drizzle, or a light rain depending on your level of optimism. My whole life I have heard the words of my Mother speak longingly for the warmth and culture of the South, yet the furthest I had ever travel was Virginia (choosing to call Texas a different kind of critter). So the commitment to come to Atlanta brought with it for me a kind of homage to my Mom. The idea began when Judi who has walked with us in DC decided to walk in SF. I promised her then I would come to walk Atlanta. Originally we were to merge two teams into one Are We There Yet - Pink Panthers. However, the pink Panthers opted not to participate this year so the team came down to 4 Tri Deltas, Patti Bott, Carol Smith, Kathy Heckathorne and me and Judi.

Shortly before we took off, we got a email from Carol saying unfortunately she would not be able to fly to Atlanta from Minnesota. She had had eye surgery and the eyes were infected. It would be a huge risk to fly. Then after Judi picked us up at the airport, I could tell something was wrong. She wasn't quite herself. She was a bit more subdued. I thought, well maybe it is because her husband is there, maybe is just is quieter around him. What I came to find out was she too would not be walking with us the next morning at Stone Mountain. She had gotten ready to walk the day before with a friend who arrived to find her in a cold sweat. She was taken to the ER where she was determined to have dangerously high blood pressure. She simply could not walk without a great deal of danger. So our numbers now were 3. As we got dressed and ready to walk over to the opening ceremonies, I was a touch melancholy. Missing our friends, worried about their health, and yet determined to walk this walk proud and strong.

It was a happy sight for me to see numbers like a couple of years ago in SF. Over 1000 walkers and over 300 crew gathered in the shadow of a huge granite mountain carved with Confederate generals. I immediately ran into a Facebook friend I had gotten to know who was wearing a skirt of ribbon and the names of two people I know who we recently lost to Cancer. Somehow, once you are a part of this 3 day family you are never alone. I saw Dr. Sheri and gave her a huge hug congratulating her on her recent marriage. Patti and I stood as we had before listening to words we have heard before that crystalize why we walk. "We walk, because they cannot." Too many have been lost. We are living testaments to the advancements in treatment these walks have helped fund.

And to the sounds of "Firework" we walked off to show " 'em what we're worth...".

The route was filled will support (even on a Friday!). We walked from Stone Mountain down through some pretty nice neighborhoods, into Atlanta until we reached the Georgia World Conference Center. The 3 day was filming their 2014 commercials during this walk. We noticed the film company had selected some pretty young perky girls to film as we walked into the Convention Center.

Judi came to join us for the camp show.
And to welcome back the last walker of the day with the raising of the flag, One day closer to a world without Breast Cancer.

We left to go back to the hotel and our koosy beds and slippers. Showers that weren't in a truck and rooms that didn't reverberate the snoring of 1000 tired walkers.

Off we drifted to sleep waiting for Day 2 and a forecast of 20% chance of showers.