A wonderful tradition of the 3-Day Walk for the Cure is wearing the names of survivors and those we lost.
Each year, I create a list with “In Memory Of” and “In Honor Of.”
- Some are names I added myself
- Most are names shared by my supporters
After 13 years, the list has grown. The good news is the survivor list (In Honor Of) is longer than the names of loved ones lost to cancer (In Memory Of).
One of the biggest challenges is figuring out how to wear the names. Putting it in the context of those battling cancer, it’s not a very big challenge. More funny than challenging.
In Memory of Lists Gone By
I started this 3-Day journey in 2003. For that first Walk, I was lucky I got myself there. I was a total newb with no idea about 3-Day traditions.
As I walked, I noticed some walkers wore pictures of loved ones they lost to cancer. Others had pink ribbons attached to their shirts, hats, fanny packs.
What a great idea.
I crewed in 2004 so it wasn’t until the 2005 3-Day Walk when I searched for a way to honor those affected by cancer. What followed was an often hilarious search for comfort.
The Counter-Irritant Year
One of my dad’s southernisms when we complained about something was ~
I can give you a counter-irritant to take your mind off it.
That didn’t seem to be the case with my first brilliant method for honoring the names of loved ones.
For years, I’d worn a pink bracelet, inscribed with – Sharing the Promise. I thought why not write the names on the bracelet.
Remember, this was the very early days when my sister was one of the few breast cancer survivors I knew. I planned on wearing multiple bracelets for the few names I had.
One problem. Absolutely NO writing element stuck to the slippery silicone. (Isn’t it ironic a breast cancer awareness bracelet is made of silicone? Sorry, I digress).
Next, I decided to write the names on labels. Nope. They wouldn’t stick to the bracelet either.
That’s how I came up with the idea of writing the names on stiff paper and taping them to the bracelet. Sounds brilliant, right? Wrong.
- It’s amazing how irritating tape can be when wrapped around a bracelet
- The edges become like the razor-sharp teeth of a flesh-eating predator
- Sweat seeps into the tape’s pores, curling them into laughing caricatures of disdain
I needed a Plan B.
My next method for capturing the names was writing them on heavy printing paper.
Similar to paper used for printing business cards.
I attached the sign to my lanyard.
That method seemed to work so well, I used it for several years. Then, the irritants appeared again.
At first, those irritants were pretty minor.
- The edges curled
- The slightest rain waterlogged it
Then came a slap in the face – literally.
One Walk had higher wind than usual. Soon my In Memory – Honor list began slapping against my face, as if to say ~
WHAT – WERE – YOU – THINKING !?
The Memory Scarf
Because we wear a different shirt every day (for way obvious reasons), writing them on at least three shirts seemed a bit much. Knowing me, I was bound to miss some names.
Enter the memory scarf.
- I purchased a pink ribbon scarf
- Printed the names on business card stock
- And used pink safety pins to fasten them to the scarf
Sometimes crass commercialism works.
That method, too, was successful so I wore the names that way for several Walks. However, even my clever solution had a few problems.
Even though I used business card stock, the names would get bent and beat-up along the way. So, I came up with yet another twist.
Hey, you have a lot of time to think about these things when you’re walking 60 miles in 3 days.
The Laminate Touch
- I used the same pink ribbon scarf and safety pins
- The business card layout still worked
- But I laminated them for extra strength
Success. We were ready to roll. Well almost.
The weight of the laminated cards kept twisting the scarf. Curses. So close.
Memory Scarf Reborn
You have to admit, I don’t quit. Once more I revised the carrier for my 3-Day Walk Names.
I purchased a new scarf I designed at my Old Lady Walking Store.
- One side has “In Memory Of”
- The other reads “In Honor Of”
I used markers specifically designed for clothing to hand-write all the names. My plan is to tie the scarf to the strap of my water bottle holder.
Have I discovered the secret of the Memory Scarf?
Counter-irritants be damned.