Once again, I'm participating in the Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk for Breast Cancer Research and Awareness. It starts tomorrow morning, and goes through the entire weekend; in a couple of hours I'll be heading out to the pre-walk training session and meeting.
I haven't talked about it that much this year, mostly because I'm not participating as a walker this year - tpau
and I are working as part of the support crew instead. So, given that, there hasn't been a lot to talk about. No fundraising, no training walks; the only real prep work we've had to do is find some stickers and pompoms to go with our Crew Unit's "cheerleading" theme.
There are a lot of reasons we decided to work crew this year. To be honest, one big reason for me was not having to fundraise again - I could imagine that, if I had to hit people up for donations every year, this would rapidly go from 'that cool and awesome thing that ladysprite
does' to 'that annoying nuisance we're tired of hearing of and funding.' This way, when I do walk again, at least I've given my friends' wallets a year off.
Also, I wanted to take the opportunity to help support the walk itself. The walkers are the rock stars of the event, but the crew are the people who make everything possible. The event wouldn't happen without them; there wouldn't be a route or food or a campsite or medical support or moral support. They are necessary, if anything more so than the walkers, and I figured that it would only be fair to spend a year filling that role. So we're working as bus liaisons, helping out on the shuttle buses that take walkers who are unable to walk for medical reasons from rest areas to lunch and back to the camp. We're a little bit entertainment, a little bit moral and emotional support, a little bit driver's helpers, and a little bit triage.
And I know this is important. And I know I chose to do this. And at the same time, I am sad and frustrated because, more than anything, I want to be walking.
I know, intellectually, that walking last year was hard. I know that I was so hot that I was stuffing ice under my hat and down my shirt by the fistful. I know that I was exhausted and blistered, and by the end I was counting steps and dragging my feet. I know that I wound up so sick that I was kneeling and shaking in the shower, too nauseated and weak to stand up. But I know all of these things as abstract facts, the same way that I know that Bismarck is the capital of North Dakota, and with about as much emotional significance.
When I think about the event, what I remember and what I feel are the emotional highs - the enthusiasm of starting, the triumph of returning back to camp at the end of the day, the people I met on the road, the cheers and support and the feeling of Doing Something, and being part of something so big and significant. And I want to have that feeling again.
I know that crew is important, and I'm looking forward to being part of the event, if in a different way. But at the same time, I'm impatient for next year, and being able to walk again.
Last year I walked in memory of my Aunt Susan. This year I'm walking in memory of her, and my friend Jane. I just hope that the numbers don't keep increasing like this every year....
I'll be heading out around 4am tomorrow, and I'll be offline after that until the end of the weekend. So I'll see you all on the other side. Until then,
For Susan Drucker
For Jane Waks,
and in the hope someday there won't be more names added to this list....