This weekend 1000+ walkers have hit the streets of a city that is in the middle of a Congressionally created shutdown, in a city that is difficult to maneuver under the best of circumstances. The route which had long ago been decided and approved by the Federal government, local governments, the police, parks and rec. schools and other entities had to be redone in a matter of a couple of weeks. The closing ceremony which original was scheduled to be held at the Washington Monument will be moved. The hard work done over months had to be changed in what must have seemed like an instant.
Then insult to injury the skies opened up soaking the walkers in a relentless cold and driving rain. Through flooded streets and soggy parks to eat lunch where paper bags dissolve before you eyes. Tee shirts designed to show team pride unceremoniously covered in emergency ponchos, shoes carefully broker in covered with hotel shower caps and duct tape this soggy walk was not what anyone had trained for or planned on.
What do 3 day-ers do? They walk. They smile. They laugh and support each other. In reading the facebook postings I have seen smiling faces and not one complaint. I did see one person feel somewhat guilt for not being able to stay at camp when she went to get a shower (after finally being a little dry) only to see you would have to wait on chairs outside a shower truck in the rain for your time in the shower. (She headed to the hotel feeling like she "wimped" out.)
3 day folks will say the walk, the blisters the cold is nothing like having chemo. The woman who went back to the hotel has recently had a double mastectomy after she survived her brush with death for ovarian Cancer. I know NO ONE would ever look at her as anything less than a hero.
You know a 3 day-er because they see the person across the street and wonders if THEY are doing alright. Even through conditions like the DC people saw this weekend.
Time and time again I am moved to tears by the love, concern and determination these people show. I have NEVER seen anything that approaches this in any other area of my life. Determined to find a cure I have see 3 day walks that were on the heels of hurricanes, that reached temperatures so high they had to call it short, snow, rain, wind, fog and still the overwhelming feeling at all of these walks is warmth, love and support.
Its our turn in a week. I don't know what the weather will be like. We surely will be less impacted by any government shutdown than DC. The one thing about which I am sure is, we will be walking with the same determination. Driven to find a cure for Breast Cancer, we will each do all we can to go the distance and we will be proud and humbled by some people walking while going through Chemo therapy or after suffering the loss of someone dear. We will be honored to hold them up and walk by their sides.
If you ever wonder whether these walks... mean.... anything, please a moment and watch what the warriors in DC have done this weekend. They are all heroes. I love them.