Our day started with a 3 am wake-up call. UGH! REALLY, I am doing this again? But then a few hours later I am reminded of why I am involved with this walk when the walkers start arriving and you see the dedications to their loved ones on their t-shirts. Loved ones who are fighting this disease, loved ones they have lost and loved ones they want to prevent from ever getting this disease, not to mention the walkers who themselves have had breast cancer. Young, old, moms, grandmothers, men, sisters, all fighting. There are teams that come all dressed in a theme. There is the cupcake team, who decorate their tents to look like frosted cupcakes. There are the teams who travel from far away. And then there is the one lone husband who is walking all 15 walks in honor of his wife. WOW! That one gets you. I do not have a "personal" connection to breast cancer, in that I have no relatives with the disease, but I have way too many friends with this disease and a few have already lost their battle. That's why I put up with lifting 40 pound sand bags and getting up at three in the morning to work a 16 hour day, sitting and working in the rain.
Our job on the camp signage team was to make sure that the camp was well marked with where to get showers, medical attention and food, etc. Also, we were in charge of "Flag-tation", which is a beautiful row of flags with dedications to all, inspiration to all, and appeciation to all who walk, work and suffer for breast cancer. This is where the 40 pound sandbags came in. There were 36 flags and we put them up or moved them a total of three times (and that's just today)...so you can do the math on how much weight I lifted today. Toward the end of the day we did have some help from a few other men crew workers who did some of the heavy lifting for us.
Roberta, from Montana, is on our team. She is the only one that I did not know previous to arriving in Seattle. She is crewing and her young co-worker, Lauria, is walking. Lauria is walking because her aunt died from breast cancer 6 months ago. Lauria walked the entire first day, all 22.5 miles and never trained. Now this girl is not in shape, her feet are a mess, her hips hurt and she arrived in tears at the finish line. But these were not tears of pain, but tears of joy, because she did it! She walked 22.5 miles, she met new friends, she has the 3-Day in her blood now. She was so inspired by all the stories of people she met along the route, by the kindness of strangers, the cheers and hugs she received from the sidelines and also the cute firemen who were along the route to inspire them to walk a little further. At dinner she was so excited to tell us of her experiences from the day. A team of first time walkers heard her talking and realized she was walking by herself and they said, "not anymore, you are on our team now!" More tears of joy!
I hope you enjoy some of the photos. The weather was cold and rainy most of the day, but thank goodness I brought all the correct rain gear this year. I came prepared.
As I write this blog it is day two of the walk and the weather is gorgeous...we are on a break and I will write more later about today.