This year, our team -- Simply the Breast -- entered our fourth year as 2-day and Sunday walkers.
When the walk date was announced as November 11-12, I am sure I wasn't the only one who asked "how will I do in the cold? " or
"what if it rains?" There's usually pros and cons to most everything. After making a big deal about nothing, I was pleasantly surprised that
there was a big ultimate PRO about walking in November
C O O L E R ..... Temps
I never would have T h U n K it .... But, I think -- dare I say it ~~~
The cooler temps helped me. As of late, I struggle in warmer weather when I'm involved in strenuous activities. With temps in the 50s, I still sweat (well, because I always sweat). But, I was not drained the way I am in warmer temps. I'm not as fit as I use to be (or should be for that matter). Good or bad - I believe, the cooler temps helped my less fit self not suffer as much (*gulp*). While I was physically exhausted and mentally taxed after day 1 (and 20 miles), I felt a ton better than I did last year. In the end, no matter the temperature, this year's walk and the three before it were enjoyable and rewarding.
Our team, Simply the Breast, spent the year preparing by joining the 2 day family on official practice walks, organizing our own group/individual practice walks, raising dollars jointly and individually for breast cancer research and programs in Georgia. We've spent the last four years as a team walking 30 miles around Atlanta in hopes that one day it won't be necessary.
This year's walk was themed "Generations". During the Pajama dinner party on Saturday, we heard from a mother and daughter. The mother shared that she received her diagnosis during service in the military. She was "GI Jane". Yet, cancer still made its ways into her life Though the diagnosis was impacted her life, she was determined to not allow "it" to change her plans to ultimately retire from the military. She was victorious. But, victory soon led to despair as she shared with us that her daughter received a diagnosis in her early 20s. We were in tears listening to her story. Unfortunately, it's a story that often we hear time and time again. It's why we walk. It was comforting to hear the strength of her daughter's convictions as she declared, "My breasts do not make me who I am". Empowering. Inspirational.
Over the course of the weekend, you hear stories of triumph, victory, despair, and sadness. I'm reminded time and time again that breast cancer is truly a journey. It's a journey of highs and lows that often ebb and flow through lightness and darkness with such vigor that it shakes us to the core. We're shaken and urged to do something about it!
With that in mind, it's no wonder why men, women, and children return to support this organization and cause year after year.
I'm incredibly grateful to share this experience with a group of dynamic and inspiring women. There's nothing like coming together for a common good. We're made up of survivors and supporters. We're made up of women who would like to see breast cancer end. We're made up of women who believe that we can make a difference. We recognize our individual reasons for walking are in alignment with 1,000+ other walkers who share a need to fight this disease. Powerful.
So, we walk.
Walking thirty miles through the city of Atlanta is a tough and a tall order. Oh, the hills. Hills and more Hills! Ever walk 30 miles? Let me tell you. Your mind starts playing tricks on you around mile 17 and 27. You have conversations with yourself to the tune of "You can do it." (then you say -- Oh, yes you can as an added pep talk when your self answers "oh no you can't"). Pep talks spill over to your teammates who you're seeking to encourage as well. You're suddenly a part of a much bigger team -- the team of all walkers striving to finish what was started.
Because no matter what team name is on your t-shirt, we're all a part of a much bigger mission.
Every step has a purpose. We are motivated to push through whatever ails us because we walk in loving memory and honor of loved ones. Strength and courage take over weakness as we strive to accomplish goals we set months ago.
I love creating memories. I love sharing laughter and tears with our team.
This team helps me create a collection of new memories each year as we train, fundraise, and #dothe2. I'm thankful this year that my sister, Sonja, traveled from Kentucky to walk with our team. Our team is special. I'm sure everyone thinks so about their team. But, I really think we're special. We're small but pack a mighty punch. Over the past four years, we've collectively raised over $71,000. Thank you to our donors who so generously contribute to It's the Journey each year.
BIG THANKS To the incredible women of Simply the Breast --
Angela, Ann-Marie, Alvia, Anise, Brenda, Catina, Dorothy, Karen, (Tennis) Nina, (Running) Nina, Pat, Sherry, Sonja, Telisa, Yolanda ❤
In addition to myself, our team has three survivors -- Ann-Marie, Nina, and Nina. Much, much survivor love and hugs to you!
Thanks also to Karyl and Tamika - they'll always be a part of our team.
Each one of you is appreciated! Your contributions to the fight against breast cancer is making a difference in our community.
Thank you Venus for driving Sonja aka Bano to Georgia, so that she could rest after/for her 3rd shift J-O-B. Man, what a precious friend you are to all of us.
Thank you Kevin and Kj for showing up to cheer me on after the finish. I appreciate you, Kj, for sharing your birthday time with me at mile marker 30!
Last but not least, a thanks goes out to the tireless efforts of the 2 day staff and crew!
2017 is in the books!
We're registered and ready for year 5!
Hugs and Love, CC