Friday, October 30, 2009

A HOT start to the first day of the 60 mile, Breast Cancer 3Day!

It's always tough to sleep the night before the 3Day Breast Cancer walk.
Even though this is my 5th year walking all 60 miles, I'm always ready to get going!

I absolutely love seeing so many familiar faces walking, volunteering and cheering along the way.
There is something comforting just knowing... as we face record high temperatures, strangers who really have become family, are encouraging all of us to keep moving every step of the way!

This year I am walking with my mom and aunt Jeanne, in honor of my other two aunts who are survivors.
(We walked together the first year)
We have a little Lifetime Friends/10Connects team with Reg, Mitcheal, Ane, Mark, Eileen, Jeanne and my mom.
My aunt polly embroidered ribbons with the names of survivors and others we are honoring on the leis we wear around our necks. Every time our feet hurt, we look down and remember why we're walking.

Opening ceremonies kicked off with a beautiful sunrise on Sand Key in Clearwater as breast cancer survivors stood in a circle above the crowd to remind us why we walk.

One person who will keep me motivated and moving all weekend long is Teresa Lennon from Palm Harbor.

We met before opening ceremonies and talked about how she found out she had breast cancer--3 days before her 46th birthday! She found a lump in her left breast while she was in the shower. She amazed me... not only did she insist on walking in the Breast Cancer 3Day while receiving RADIATION, but she had signed up by herself! It takes a strong person to do that.
She told me she's been through "one Hell of a journey" but God has blessed her in so many ways she never expected.
She certainly is paying it forward... each walker must raise at least $2300. Teresa raised $5500 and was kind enough to pass along donation money to other walkers who had not met their limit!

I also met a wonderful husband and wife who wanted to share their can get breast cancer too.

While it is rare, breast cancer in men is usually found at a later stage because they may not look for changes as often as women do.
I promised both of them I would remind everyone to pay attention to any changes in their body. No one knows your body better than you.

It seems as if younger and younger women are being diagnosed.
Linda Green from Clearwater told me how her nephew's wife, 24-year-old Mandy, found out she had inflammatory breast cancer.

Not too long after the diagnosis, Mandy learned she was pregnant! She was determined to carry the baby for at least 7 months.
Linda is taking part in the 3Day to honor Mandy. She ended up adopted Mandy's daughter Amanda when IBC took Mandy's life at 24!

Every walker has a connection to breast cancer. The only gift that comes out of this tragedy is that this group knows the value each day. No matter how tough it may get during the walk, there's always someone to lift you up and remind you what we're tackling at the moment is really not that big of a deal.

Thanks for the smiles from Dusty Rhodes and Jim Paxton! Their wives, Maria and Sandy, have walked in the 3Day before soooooooo, they thought it was time for the guys to join them this year!

Their husbands gladly signed up to walk this year but they admitted they were surprised to see how tough "walking" can be. I agree!

I have to admit, record heat always makes the 60 mile walk even more of a physical challenge! Last year, I breezed through (or so it seemed!) the walk.
This year, I am trying my best to not get burned (Thank you Mike at Bay-to-Bay Hardware for the SPF 30 hats!!!)
I always try to make it through Friday without any "toenail issues" or "blisters" like I've had in years past. Friday really sets the tone for the weekend.

Hmmmm, let me just say you DON'T want to see a pictures of my feet right now!
I'll hit the trail again tomorrow!