Saturday, October 10, 2015

Taking Out The Visor Once More ...

This is my trusty 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk visor. Today I brought it out of retirement for one more trek in this fight against breast cancer. It's pretty worn and faded in several areas. It's got a lot of holes from having various pins stuck in it. The elastic that's supposed to hold it on my melon head has pretty much lost pretty much most of any elasticity. And who knows how much sweat has accumulated in the fabric and creases and crevices.  But oh, the stories that this visor holds ...

It all started back in 2007. I had previously done a 3-day walk, and thought that doing another would be a grand way to celebrate my 50th birthday (the walk was going to be on my exact birthday). The walk was going to be in the Twin Cities, and Lynnette said she would do it with me. I had two blue baseball caps with the 3-day logo on them but I really didn't like wearing caps. So I decided to cut up the caps and sew those parts onto visors for Lynnette and me. The "Luanne @ 50" came from a sash that my sister Marilyn sent me to wear on the event. Which I decided would go quite nicely on the visor. And so the visor was born. So Lynnette and I trained and walked in the hot summer sun (even when Lynnette turned 50 shades of red and we had to have somebody bring us cold wet rags). Lynnette and I flew to Minneapolis (after sitting on the tarmac for awhile burning off the fuel in the plane), and had an amazing weekend (once we helped our taxi driver find our pre-walk hotel). This included walking through the greenways alot, which meant walking around a lot of trees, which by the end of Day 2, was not so beautiful and majestic to Lynnette. Walking in greenways also meant not a lot of walking in cities, which would have been handy so I could have purchased a contact lens case since I forgot mine - but campers make do with what they can find. We walked and played trivia games and ABC games and took showers in semi-trucks. It was a great weekend, one that I figured I would never do again.

Until my sister Marilyn decided that she wanted to do a 3-day walk. And we decided to do the one in 2009 in San Diego (it was the last one of that year so more time to train and raise money and it was the farthest away). So, we each had yard sales and asked for donations (again) and trained on our own (since she lived in Baltimore). We met up in San Diego and walked through the streets of San Diego and along the beach and up big hills. We saw the Energizer Bunny and lots of decorated doggies and men in bras and the Happy Face Man and his Daughter. We made it to camp and pitched our tent and went to sleep (well, I did, anyway). We patched Marilyn's blisters and saw the survivor boat crew and kept walking to the finish. It was another great weekend, a three-peat that would be a nice finish to this experience.

Until somebody (I forget who) decided that she wanted to do a 3 day walk. We were in boot camp together and somehow got a team of six to go in 2012 to San Francisco to walk (I apparently don't have a photo of all six of us AND the visor, mainly because two of us walked much faster than the three slowpokes and their caregiver). We had bingo fundraisers and yard sales to raise our $$ for San Francisco. And we did it and met up somewhere around San Fran and started our walk, which took us all over San Francisco and across the Golden Gate and around the Presidio and along Fisherman's Wharf and somewhere along the ocean. Some of us fell down and skinned our knees, some of us now hate the Golden Gate Bridge, some of us made new friends, and some of us might have purchased some alky-haulic juice at the 7-11. We listened to the survivor play the bagpipes, we ate the free cream puffs and drank the free Peet's coffee, we managed to keep our tent from blowing away, and we managed to keep Sharon from walking into traffic. Truly, it was a wonderful and beautiful weekend. What a great way to end this 3 day walk, surrounded by such good friends.

And then my sister Marilyn found out that she had breast cancer. She found it in time and they got it out and as she recovered, she said she wanted to do another 3 day walk (maybe it was the drugs she was taking that were doing the talking). So we decided to do it in 2013 in Washington, D.C., which would be close to her family, who maybe would be able to be there for the closing ceremonies. We also heard that D.C. was a beautiful place for the walk, because you got to walk around all the momuments. As it turned out, three of the San Francisco team decided to repeat, and Sharon's hubbie Bruce decided he would come along, too! And so we started again, asking for donations and playing bingo and having yard sales. And maybe training a tiny bit. We all met up at our hotel (our camping days were over) and headed out to Opening Ceremonies. Did I mention that it was monsoon season in D.C. that year? And that the government closed down so that all the monuments were blocked off and you couldn't get close to them? And that we had to detour so much that miles were added to the route? And the Closing Ceremonies got changed from the Washington Monument to some random stadium our somewhere? Yeah, all that happened, but we also had a nice warm bed and bathtub at the end of each day, and we stopped to eat in real restaurants along the route, and my niece Rachel surprised her mom on the walk, and Bruce kept Marilyn walking to the finish with his jokes, and we all celebrated at Closing Ceremonies when Marilyn walked in with the survivors. It was a wild and crazy weekend, full of all the right things that made all these walks so memorable and perfect. And who can improve on perfection?

We couldn't. But that didn't stop us from one more walk. While waiting for our plane to return to Nashville, we got an email saying we could get free entry into the 2014 walk. And so we joined up, this time heading to Philadelphia. Bruce decided to opt out, as did Marilyn (shows who has the smarts in this group).  We again had our yard sales and asked for donations, and met up in Philly. And walked around and around the city. Sharon fell and KB had a sinking spell and Sharon developed wonky shoulder syndrome and we decided that a sag bus wasn't a bad thing. We were encouraged by some great supporters including a day care group and an entire neighborhood street decorated to the hilt. We managed to avoid the rain and find some places to eat lunch, joined by Sam and Lindley who were in town with Lynnette and her parents for a vacation. We met some great walkers and were inspired by the stories of survivors and mourned those lost to this disease. But the best thing we learned is that we needed to take a break from this walk. And for once, we stuck to our guns.

But earlier this week, I learned about the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, a 5 mile walk in Nashville. And so I signed up. And soon my Udderly Pink team signed up, too. And this morning we carpooled to Nissan Stadium (with new member Everley) to join the thousands of others who walked to end this disease. The weather was beautiful, the pace was slow, and it was great to be with enthusiastic walkers and volunteers once again. And as for my visor? It held up one more time for this cause. It might have slipped a bit here and there, but it did what it needed to do. As shall I. Even though I have no plans for another 3 day walk, there will be walks that I will do in order to halt this disease called breast cancer. And if my visor has any say at all, it will be with me every step of the way.

Thankful today for: walking and lunching with the Udderly Pink team; beautiful, cool fall day in Nashville; Everley time; breast cancer survivors, walkers, and walk volunteers in today's walk


Sharon Williams said...

So many memories! My toenail has almost grown back from the Philly walk, so the short walk in Nashville was totally doable! Thanks for everything, Captain Lu!!

Marilyn said...

Great memories! Maybe breast cancer will be a distant, not so great, memory for the next generation. You ARE the Captain of the Universe Lu!