Few people would associate walking 60 miles in 3 days as lucky. Even fewer connect breast cancer with lucky.
Yet talk with a breast cancer survivor and most will say just that. How lucky they are.
Amazing. Simply amazing.
I dubbed my participation in this year’s 3-Day Walk for the Cure as my Lucky #13.
2016 is the 13th anniversary of my first Walk. And what a journey it’s been.
My wonderful contributors have ensured my participation again by helping me reach the $2,300 minimum required to walk. And it’s only June!
In keeping with the theme, I thought I’d share 13 ways the 3-Day Walks have been lucky for me.
#1 – My teammates
If you follow this blog, you have read how I describe meeting my teammates.
They walked right into my heart.
Each is special in her own way and I feel blessed every day for the 3-Day Walk that brought us together. We don’t all walk every year but even one Walk has connected us forever.
I am lucky to have these ladies in my life.
#2 – My contributors
I hate asking people for money. Okay, except for my business writing services. From the very beginning, my contributors humbled me with their generosity and support way beyond a single event.
A surprising twist to my asking (at times, groveling) for donations is discovering how many people cancer has affected. My contributors themselves or their loved ones – friends and families – so many touched by cancer.
Is it any wonder why I cannot walk away?
Thanks to this year’s contributors (so far).
- Ada Kersey
- Barb Lewis
- Bruce Cutting
- Chad Forester
- Cindy Simmons
- Courtney Lercara
- Elaine Conway
- Emily Fowler
- Jackie Harris
- Jeffrey Friedli
- Judi DiMatteo
- Judy Craig
- Julie Ewert
- Kathy Slothour
- Ken Lautsch
- Kevin P. Miller
- Kim Lemon
- Laura Wiggins
- Lori Widmer
- Martha Giffen
- Mitchell Allen
- Nicky Parry
- Rachel Marturello
- Randa Forrester
- Rosemary Lopez
- Sharon Hurley Hall
- Tammy Reed
- Terri Parsons
- Vince Williams
#3 – 3-Day walkers
At my first Walk in 2003, I foolishly believed I would be walking it alone. A colleague who had planned on walking, broke her ankle two weeks before the Walk. What some people won’t do to avoid walking 60 miles. 😉
You soon learn at the 3-Day Walk, you are never alone. Not simply because there are thousands of walkers. But rather, 3-Day walkers open their arms and embrace all who would join them on the incredible journey.
Social media has expanded our reach and connects us to other 3-Day walkers (whom we’ve never met) but who share an understanding of why we walk.
60 miles. 3 days. We are 3-Day walkers.
#4 – 3-Day crew/volunteers
Remember how I told you I hated asking people for money? It was that dread that led me to sign up as a crew member for my second Walk (in 2004).
I quickly discovered crewing is hard. Really, really hard.
Despite long hours and high levels of physical activity, 3-Day crew and volunteers are always there with a ready smile, a hug or a sincere thank-you.
3-Day walkers know it should be us giving out the thank-yous. 3-Day crew and volunteers make walking 60 miles a breeze. Seriously.
#5 – The San Diego community
I admit I’m biased. I lived in San Diego for over 20 years. I still lived in San Diego for my first six 3-Day Walks. Even after moving from San Diego in 2009, I return every year for another 3-Day Walk.
The San Diego community simply rocks. Walkers who have walked every city say the same thing. Just when you think you cannot take another step, you round the corner and see a mass of San Diego supporters. Cheering – giving you food – beads – pins – sun screen – water – and most of all – their love and support. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.
#6 – The experience
Who knew when I took that first step in 2003 that I would be going for Lucky #13? I never thought beyond the first 60 miles.
Once you have done one, the 3-Day Walk reels you in. The entire experience opens the door to possibilities.
- Physically challenging yourself to something you never dreamed you do once, much less multiple times
- Hearing stories that break your heart, elevate your soul, and put life in perspective
- Sharing the full spectrum of emotions through laughter, tears, and determination
#7 – Photographic memories
Photos, videos, and our wonderful digital world help this boomer brain capture the memories of walking 60 miles in 3 days. My newsletters and this blog add some of the details.
But there will always be those memories etched in my heart that help me remember the power of love.
#8 – Awareness
The idea behind the 3-Day Walks was to create awareness regarding the fight against breast cancer. However, the 3-Day Walks do much more than that.
They build an awareness of self. An awareness of something bigger than the day-to-day hassles of life.
#9 – My health
Another gift of the 3-Day Walks is the return of my good health. Call it training. Call it desperation to get up those hills. Being healthy feels great.
#10 – The 3-Day coaches
Can you imagine having to coordinate a 3-Day Walk?
- Food, water, sports drinks
- Porta-potties, showers, towels, supplies
- Route signs, traffic control, sweep vans
- Tent City, first aid, entertainment
- Registration, travel
Mind-boggling. And if a walker needs help before all that? We go to our 3-Day coaches. Their good spirits, resourcefulness, and patience is unbelievable.
#11 – Selective memory
There are certain memories from the 3-Day I am happy to release. Like a blister so bad, I walked the last 3 miles in my stockinged feet. Or the feel of a driving rain and whipping wind in the Monsoon of 2010.
It’s not that I’ve forgotten these times. It’s just the outcome is much more important. Kind of like having a baby (I would imagine).
P.S. That doesn’t mean I didn’t whine about it at the time. 😉
I am lucky to remember what’s important.
#12 – Getting smarter
Yes, I am lucky to say we have gotten smarter about walking 60 miles in 3 days.
- Dumping a too-heavy fanny pack
- Carrying only the essentials (you know, like lip gloss)
- Taking advantage of the wonderful San Diego restaurants
And the smartest thing my teammates and I did? Schedule a spa day the Monday after the Walk. Can’t believe it took us years to figure that out.
#13 – Doing it all over again
I am incredibly lucky to keep doing this all over again. It has been life-changing. As I often say, as long as this 60-something body supports me, I will walk 60 miles in 3 days. And know how incredibly lucky I am.