Saturday, September 12, 2009

I WALK BECAUSE I CAN'T WALK AWAY

One year ago today I participated in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Long Beach.  Over two days, we walked 40 miles: 26.2 on day 1, and 13.1 on day two.  I really wanted to do it for my Grammie who is a two-time survivor of breast cancer.  She is my hero, and my namesake (Margaret), and so I walked for her and so many others who have been affected by the terrible disease...I walked because so many people can't for many reasons....I walk because I can't walk away.

So in March of 2008 I signed up and began to ask for donations and started my training.  By June, I had already beat my goal of $2,000 two times over, reaching almost $4,000 for my cause!  I was blown away.

I walked with my good friend Amanda and we had the best time training for the big two days.  Here is a pic of me and Amanda a the opening ceremony:
Check out our awesome hot pink visors with our names puffy painted on them!  We wanted something fun, girly, and memorable...and they sure were memorable.  We had strangers cheering for us the whole two days who remembered us because of these hats (I still have mine and love it):

September came around, and it was the most incredible, inspiring, and humbling two days of my life.  I was surrounded by women of all shapes and sizes, colors and ages, and men too!, walking together for one common goal-to fight breast cancer.  (Here is a pic of the beginning of the walk):

Some of these women had breast cancer and survived, others sadly had lost loved ones and walked for them.  I remember there was a dad with his two little girls who had to have been 8 and 10 years old who wore shirts "My wife/mom is fighting cancer and I walk for her!"  It was so moving.  At one point the mom/wife was at a cheering station and she was so proud of her hubby and little girls.  There was another woman Amanda and I talked to on the second day who wore pink furry wings on her back.  The wings were lined with probably 50+ names of people SHE KNEW who had survived cancer, who were fighting it, or who had sadly lost their lives to it.  That was powerful.

At the end of Day 1, mile 26.2, we made it to the Wellness Village.  We were number 314 and 315 out of thousands, which surprised me because we were cruisin.  Of course it wasn't a race at all, but when they called it out I thought, "oh ok cool!"  So we made it to the wellness village in one piece, kind of:

I say kind of because at the end of the two days, I had lost 4 toenails and had a gnarly blister on one foot.  One of the medics who saw the blister said it was the mother of all blisters she had ever seen.  I was pretty proud, hahaha!

So Day 2 rolled around and we were a little more sluggish, but we still pumped it!  Singing and "dancing" as we walked, cheering with the honking cars driving past us.  We were headed back to the beginning point, the Queen Mary, and once we saw the beach we said "Ok, almost there!"  Well, that almost there was still another 8 miles long!
We enjoyed those last 8 tiring miles.  We kept meeting amazing people along the way to chat with.  We finally made it to the finish line where we were greeted by our families.  It was an indescribable feeling to finish...relief mixed with excitement mixed with fatigue and happiness.  We did it!  The whole experience was worth every toenail lost and every second of pain I felt.  It was worth it a thousand fold over for fighting breast cancer.  I plan on doing the walk in 2010 (making it an every two year thing), and I welcome the pain because the best feelings in the world that you feel during this weekend overpowers it all.

xoxo

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