Tuesday, November 3, 2009

AWBC: In It To End It

We interrupt our regularly scheduled "knitty goodness" for a recap of the recent Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Charlotte, NC on October 24 & 25. The walk had 1,100 participants and raised $2.3 million to advance access to care and find a cure for breast cancer.

This was my 7th Avon Walk. Many folks ask why I continue to walk and I can only quote my latest walker-pin: "I walk because I cannot walk away". You've heard all the stats & hopefully you know the importance of early detection, so I'll jump right into the highlights of the weekend. I walked with my friends Sharon (2nd walk from New York), Priscilla (2nd walk from Durham, NC) & Pat (1st walk from Miami, FL). Priscilla & Pat are twins who registered as Team Double Trouble and developed a cult-like following during the walk. We were also joined by their friend, Darryl (2nd year of walk support). Darryl holds a place of honor cause he has shadowed us along the entire route, taking pics, lightening our load by carrying coats, raingear & extra sneakers & ensuring we're always ok (Thanks Darryl, you rock!).

Opening ceremony started in darkness but with a promise of warm temps and of course rain. I am officially the rain-magnet since it has rained during every walkathon I have done (lol). The inspirational speakers did their job well to send us on our way with pep in our step. It was a sobering moment when Sharon & I came upon the group of young ladies who had pushed their Mom in a wheelchair last year. This year's wheelchair was empty with a sign posted on the back "We Miss You Mom!"

Sun quickly turned to rain but we were prepared - keeping a good pace, stopping at quick stops for hydration & snacks (the peanut-butter graham crackers remain everyone's favorite). Just for luck, I got my picture at Mile 7 to celebrate my 7th year. Mile 10 was lunch and I pulled ahead of the ladies for awhile because of my tendency to hit the wall at Mile 20 or 21. Sure enough, I slowed to nearly a crawl. Luckily, Sharon waited for me at Mile 24 and we finished Day 1 together. Pat & Priscilla entered the Wellness Village with a smile. My feet felt like the size of that giant Reebok sneaker (lol).

After a hot shower (in the heaven-sent trailer), a hot meal, & an Icy-Hot rubdown, I threw on the thermals & tucked into the sleeping bag for the night. We all were able to crawl out of the tents on the morning of Day 2, enjoy breakfast & begin the final 13 miles. The day was rather chilly but no rain. Pat & Priscilla must have eaten their Wheaties - they pulled ahead & met Sharon and I at the finish line. Yes, that is a look of wonder on my face, as well as a look of realization that the hotel was just around the corner. I'll finish this recap with a shout-out to the wonderful Avon crews that keep us going and laughing every year. With folks like the Moo Cow guy, Captain Cleavage, & our own Richard Simmons - who could think about the discomfort. Oh yeah - and blisters don't need chemo! How very blessed we are!