Since 2002, It’s The Journey and the Georgia 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer (formerly the Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer) have been raising funds for breast health and breast cancer programs in your communities. I serve on the board of directors and captain a team of 20 walkers.
It's the Journey is a local non-profit, dedicated to providing much-needed funds for the breast cancer screening, research, early detection, diagnosis, and supportive services in Georgia. With the generous and dedicated support of donors, participants, and volunteers, we have been able to raise $14 million and give 335 grants for vital breast health services in over 100 counties.
It’s The Journey granted $902,000 to 33 Georgia breast health and breast cancer programs for 2018.
This past weekend, I along with my team "Simply the Breast" and hundreds of other walkers participated in the 2018 Georgia 2 day walk for breast cancer. We've raised money all year for programs, including research, for 2019 grantees.
A few snipets about the weekend:
-Over $1 million was raised!
-We won the team t-shirt contest, which was designed by our teammate Tiffany.
-I had the honor of thanking sponsors and introducing our Sunday morning speaker, Dr. Gulshan Harjee. She is amazing!
I've had to do this before & this weekend I summoned again the tenacity, strength, and will of the LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD.
I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.
This was our fifth year walking 30 miles in 2 days. It was my first year coming into the walk with an injury. I have been having lower back pain for about 3 weeks now. So, I'd prepared myself for possibly not finishing way before the start. I found it difficult to accept the fact that I might not finish. Yet, I've told my team always that getting on a sweep van and/or not completing 30 miles does not equate to failure. I learned that it is sometimes easier said than done. When your heart is committed to finishing because you have so many people for whom you have great respect and you want to FINISH for them, you decide quitting is not something you want to do.
So, it was for me on Saturday. I'd decided prior to the walk that I wanted to walk in honor of some Stage IV sisters that I know. Sisters who have been fighting and winning against breast cancer for so long. Yet, they've chosen to fully live within their purpose. They've chosen to live life fully. THEY were the reason I finished the 20 miles. I found myself complaining along the way. I couldn't help myself sometimes because I was in quite a bit of pain. But, when I thought enough about the pain of others who suffer much more, I walked in silence. I encouraged myself along the way and tried to remember why I was choosing to push through the pain.
Each year, we walk with our teammates or even strangers who walk at the same pace. This year, I walked with my fellow teammate and breast cancer survivor, Nina. She is a 10 year breast cancer survivor. I also walked the last 10 miles of 20 miles on Saturday with one of our rookies, Chondra. We were all battling some type of pain and hurt. Yet, we persevered. I am sure they had their own reasons for continuing as I did.
Another lesson confirmed -- there's strength in numbers & there's always a benefit in knowing and identifying with someone else's struggle (be it the challenge of completing 30 miles, side effects of chemo, divorce, or whatever).
I did not complete 30 miles this weekend. I completed 27 miles.
I was asked, "do you feel bad about not finishing?"
Perhaps, a part of me felt disappointed because I'd always finished. But, I can't be disappointed about the effort. I have to learn to be able to take some of the advice that I so gingerly (or maybe not so much) dish out. The most important aspect of the weekend is monies raised.
One thing is for sure ....
I am super duper proud of our team! We raised over $24,000 this year. Over the five years, we've raised more than $95,000.
I find joy in camaraderie. I find joy in creating memories. I find joy in giving back and making a difference. This group of women I have come to love called Simply the Breast brings me joy because they, too, seek to make a difference and leave a positive impact in our communities.
What I find most satisfying about the group is we may not spend a ton of time together throughout the year. But, when we come together for walk weekend there is something very special about it all. It's almost like the spirit of team -- the definition of teamwork -- comes alive within each of us. We feed off one other's energy. We empathize with the hurts. We celebrate the victories. Most of all - we understand there is a larger purpose for what we do.
There are many "Little Engine That Could" moments during the 2 day weekend. I'm thankful for each teaching moment!
I ask new walkers to my team why they've chosen to walk. There may be a different reason from walker to walker. But, there is always a common thread to bond us & keep us walking year after year. It's called sisterhood. We bond over a need and want to help others and hopefully one day this mission of ours will come to completion because there will be a cure. It's the ultimate HOPE I carry with me every day.
I appreciate this sisterhood that I'm fully convinced God has ordained. Thank God for Simply the Breast and our family/friends who continue to support us each year.
Special thanks to my sissy who traveled from Kentucky again this year to walk with me (well --- not walk w/me because she was one of those 'fast' girls this year). But, she and I were together in spirit & laughed alot the time we were together.
When I cross the finish line, I know I'm entering a place where there is love and support from family and friends for all walkers and crew. That's why Kevin and Kj's faces are the ones I search for first. They've always been there with a camera in hand to capture the moment and an awaiting celebratory hug. Thanks, guys!
I would also like to thank the 2 day staff, sponsors, volunteers, and all who made this weekend a success for myself, my team, especially the rookies.
My memory bank had great deposits this weekend thanks to some awesome folk! I'm grateful.
And, yes -- TEAM SIMPLY the BREAST is registered for 2019. I think I can. I think we can. It's what we do :-).
Hugs and High 5s, CC
P.S. Thank you HEADSWEATS for sponsoring our team this year and providing our customized visors. We sure made great use of them in the Georgia heat!