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My Race

October 7, 2007

I got up early this morning. I’m not a morning person, but the alarm went off at 5:30am. I rolled out of bed with a groan, and fumbled around in the dark to silence the alarm. My hubby was still out like a light. I crept to the end of the bed and pulled on my sweatpants, my T-shirt, my socks. I tucked my hair up into a baseball cap and went to the guest bathroom to wash my face and brush my teeth.

At 6am, the lights of an SUV turned into my driveway. I quietly snuck out the front door, locking it behind me, got into the SUV and pulled the door shut. It was chilly. I zipped my hoodie and snuggled down into the seat. I chatted briefly with my friend TulipGirl and her friend, Marlene.

At the Park and Ride, I dug my six bucks out of my pocket and got my Special Event ticket. We all piled onto the bus, rubbing our hands together after standing in the morning air watching our exhaled breath steam into the dark. Honestly, I was dreading the walk… a little. 20 minutes later, I woke up.

When we got off the bus and joined about 20,000 other women on this journey, I couldn’t help but wake up. If you’ve ever done The Race for the Cure before, you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you haven’t done it, you’re missing it! What a rush! What an amazing experience…

20,000 women, of all sizes, shapes, and colors–brown, black, white, short, tall, slender, chubby, walking, running, wheeling, in the most amazing assortment of pink garb I’ve ever seen–came together at 7am for a common goal. Watching the sea of racers cross the Starting Line, I can’t even describe the feeling that came over me. I was overwhelmed. I felt a lump build in my throat and my eyes filled with tears.

I saw pink wigs, sweatpants, bunny ears, water bottles, flip flops, scarves, T-shirts, socks… the list was endless. Every time I thought I had seen everything I could possibly see, there was someone with something new.

But the most impactful were the safety-pinned pieces of paper and pictures that these women wore on their backs… Some had race numbers that identified them as participants. Others had race numbers with a pink box at the bottom that said “Survivor”. Still others wore pink squares that said, “In Celebration Of”, and listed their sisters, mothers, aunts, grandmothers, co-workers, and friends that are currently fighting or have beaten breast cancer. The most heartbreaking of all were the pink squares that said, “In Memory Of”, and bore the names of the women near and dear that lost their fight to this ugly beast, many with pictures of the loved ones lost.

The common bond was palpable. I saw Mothers and daughters walking hand in hand, sisters with arms linked together, groups carrying signs with their team’s name on them… and I felt blessed to be a part of this. We were connected, all of us, whether we had been personally affected, lost family members or friends, or were just there to support each other, woman to woman.

We walked, we talked, we laughed, we were silent, we were misty-eyed. We read the names on the backs as we passed or were passed. I had time to reflect on just how incredible this endeavor is. 25 years ago, Nancy Brinker made a promise to her sister, Susan G. Komen, as Susan was dying from breast cancer–a promise that she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer. And she has kept that promise.

A total of 61,000 people, in three heats, participated in The Race for the Cure today in my city alone. I don’t honestly know how my contribution will affect even one person directly. But the stark reality of the numbers of women affected by breast cancer hit me right between the eyes and I couldn’t imagine NOT doing this. Watching the thousands of women pour through downtown, snaking down an exit ramp, and back up, the magnitude of breast cancer’s reach came home.

No, I don’t know where my $30 will go specifically, but I know that I’m glad to be a part of this movement. I know I’m glad to say that my contribution helped to raise over $6 million for breast cancer research. I know I’m glad to say that I raced with my sisters–all 20,000 of them–for a goal that matters to all of us. What a testimony to the power of like-mindedness, that so many thousands of us could come together, be on the same page, and direct our resources for something that matters so much to us all, if only for five short kilometers.

It was something special.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. tulips4me permalink
    October 8, 2007 6:29 am

    Thank you so much for joining us yesterday. It was an amazing morning. I think we need to invest in pink wigs for next year!

  2. Lynda permalink
    October 8, 2007 9:34 am

    I’ve come close to signing up for the Breast Cancer 3-Day, but have failed to do so…I’m proud of you for doing the walk.

  3. October 9, 2007 5:19 am

    61,000! That sounds like Denver. Did you see the crazy protesters?

  4. Robyn permalink
    October 10, 2007 3:23 pm

    I was doing the same thing on Saturday!!! Except it was hot & humid, even at 7am!!!

    Glad to hear that you are still participating. This was the first time back for me since the kiddos were born & I was very much reminded of what I’ve been missing. Especially to see one lonely man walk in front of us for the entire 5K with a sign on his back “in memory of my loving wife”. Brought tears to my eyes once I stopped gabbing long enough to notice.

    I now have to write a paper about the event for school – not sure I can top what is here on your blog!!

  5. *Marie* permalink
    September 20, 2008 3:56 pm

    That’s amazing

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