Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Thank You Note To 3 Day Walkers

To The 2009 D/FW Breast Cancer 3 Day Walkers:

I was asked about my 3 Day experience today. I was overwhelmed with thoughts, stories, and visuals. I got goose bumps from all the flashes in my head. I found myself wearing a Cheshire cat grin that has found its way to my face more this weekend than it has in my entire life. Yet, I had no words to explain this weekend. I could say, “It was amazing” but that just doesn’t seem to do it justice. I could say, “It had a positive effect on me” but again, it would be a lacking sentiment. That’s when it hit me! BLOG ENTRY!!!! Some may read this in a blog; others may receive it via email. I don’t care how it gets to you, just as long as it does.

I participated in my first 3 Day event in 2008. I knew that I wanted to be involved again this year. I also knew that my life was about to change. I began training for 5k’s in December and hoped to complete a 10k by Fall. I also was engaged in February and started planning my June wedding and family relocation. I knew that I was going to be unable to dedicate the time and energy needed to the training and fundraising involved with The Breast Cancer 3 Day. That is when I decided to give my feet the year off and crew in 2009. I remembered how uplifting the crew was that I interacted with the year prior, and I was curious about the “behind the scenes” attributes that were involved in such an awesome event.

I knew that the commitment was going to involve early mornings and I’d have to fake a smile when I went all day without my naps, but I was up for the challenge. Again, I drew strength from the crew the year before that was always there… Cheering, uplifting, encouraging. I remember thinking that the crew was just as an important part of getting me through The 3 Day as the 24 week training plan was. As the time drew closer, I began having issues with my left foot. My plans on completing my first 10k were out the window. I was adamant not to allow it to effect my involvement with The 3 Day. Eventually I was put in a boot and I postponed surgery until the event was over. I am forever thankful for that decision.

My life was changed on Sunday, November 8th. After I reunited with my husband and two of my children after Closing Ceremonies, I knew that my life would never be the same. I could never be a walker again. I will forever be a crew member. I am writing this to the 2,900 walkers that walked past me at one time or another this weekend. Together we raised $7.5 million, and counting, to bring us closer to a world without breast cancer. But I am forever changed by you walkers.

I learned many things this weekend. Some of these lessons were from my own experience; some were from observing the tenacity of each of you.
I learned what it is like to have sore cheeks from smiling for 8 hours a day, three days in a row. Even when we were hammering a pole that was bent or figuring out how to make toilet paper appear, the smiles continued.

I learned what it feels like to have 2,900 compassionate people surrounding you. While I was politely instructing renegade walkers to, “get back on the sidewalk, please” on day three, you all were asking me if I was ok (because of my boot). You people had walked about 42.5 miles by that point and YOU ALL were asking ME if I was doing ok? Amazing!

I learned that everyone has a story. You may not know what it is. It may not be written on their face… Or on their t-shirt, but there is a story. There were 2,900 walkers and 450 crew joined together for a common passion. Some have been personally affected, others not. You don’t know if that person reaching for Gatorade is a survivor, or has lost their mother, daughter, sister, friend, father or just wants to ensure his or her children do not have to grapple this disease. Kindness abounded this weekend. I pray that it continues in everyone’s lives each and every day.

I was able to capture a beautiful sight on Sunday as you were all walking through the neighborhood to Grab-n-Go A. I found myself repeating, “You all look so beautiful.” As I think about it now, I fight back tears. I wasn’t able to exhibit that self-control when I watched you all walk into Closing. A few of you stopped to hug the sobbing soldier with pink hair. YOU were thanking ME, as I was overwhelmed with gratitude for YOU.

As I skim over what I have written, I feel that I have not properly expressed my gratitude for you. So, instead of trying to do so, I’m just going to leave you with this.

You all have changed me. I hope the lessons that I’ve learned this past weekend do not leave me. I am forever grateful for each and every one of you. You have all made such an amazing impact on me that I don’t see how I could ever go back to being a walker again. I will be back again next year as Crew. And the year after that. And the year after that. And every year following until we are able to live in a world without breast cancer. Hopefully, one day, I will be able to pay back this gift you each have given me.

Forever In Your Debt,

Sylvia aka Major TaTa’s