What I Saw At the Walk

What I saw at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, continued from previous post

I saw women and men united in a common cause, but not necessarily the one that I had suspected.  It wasn’t that we were all walking against breast cancer.  It was that each woman and man there had come out to support a survivor or walk in memory of a pathfinder who had lost her battle with cancer. 

I saw hundreds of small groups here and there, scattered across the Hunt Valley Mall parking lot and environs, dressed in matching t-shirts, scarves, hats, or simply clasping each others’ hands.  Walking with their friends.  Walking with their family.  Walking in memory of one who mattered.

I saw a group of coworkers united as they walked by in green shirts decorated with the name of their company and the name of their survivor, walking proudly along with them.

I saw a group of friends clasp one anothers’ hands as they walked silently with the words “In memory” on their backs.

I saw a trio of young women walk tall and proud with pink scarves in their hair.

I saw a quartet of seniors walking slowly, but not silently, behind them.  Four women with pink shirts, caps, and scarves, all survivors.  All together.  All laughing, and going to and from the exhibits like toddlers eager to see what would be next.

I saw a merry band of walkers in pink satin capes, joking with one another as they approached the start line.

I saw a man walking alone, holding a sign commemorating his late wife, at the finish line.

I saw teenagers handing out stuffed bears, musicians playing, volunteers making it all happen, and a well-staffed tent just for survivors.

I saw people gasp as we passed them with our stroller decked out with signs (“Walking with WhyMommy” and “IBC: Breast Cancer with NO LUMP”).  Very few people asked me directly about IBC, but dozens asked my cousins, and we passed out the cards I’d made for BlogHer and thought to bring along at the last minute.

I saw women lining up for pictures to commemorate the day, stickers for their hats, stuff for their bags, and medical literature on a new chemotherapy regimen for their cancer.

I saw overstuffed mascots, toilet paper giveaways, sun chip snacks, and a host of other booths from local and national retailers eager to give out paper and support the cause.

I saw entirely too many teenagers and young women walking in pairs or small groups with the words “For Mom” on their backs.

I saw grandmothers walking the mile, for their friends, for their family, and for each other.

I saw grown men cry.

And then I turned to my family and friends, and I saw their love for me and my mother-in-law, and I thanked God that we could fight this fight against breast cancer.  That we have the science, the medicine, and the tools to begin the fight, and the faith to finish it.  I took their hands and began to walk.


15 Responses to What I Saw At the Walk

  1. Stephanie says:

    You are amazing and very inspiring. Please, keep doing what you’re doing and know that prayers are being sent up for you from around the country and I’m sure the world!

  2. I so loved reading this.. you brought me there. Tears tonight. Thank you.

  3. Reading that I was walking with you. Tears on my keyboard again.

    The teenagers. They could be my teenagers.

    Stupid me just put mexican spices (chilli!) on meat and obviously didn’t wash my hands well enough….

    Too: ‘Why are you crying Mum?’
    Me: ‘I got chilli in my eye’
    Too: ‘You silly bugger’ as she hugged me

    Yeah. That’s why I am crying. Shhhh.

  4. Andamom says:

    I meant to tell you… There is a girl at my daughter’s school who has a mother that survived breast cancer. This girl sat outside at lunch for weeks collecting money that was sent on to the SJ Komen Foundation… and she got kids to participate in the walk in Brooklyn. I’d say that is very impressive for an 8th grader 😉

  5. Ally says:

    Oh. So lovely. Thank you for writing this so we could all feel like we were there, too.

  6. Robin says:

    I’d comment, but I can’t really see through the tears to type…

    Much love to you WM, and to everyone there.

  7. practiceliving says:

    Oh, WM, that is beautiful. Tears first thing in the morning were a little unexpected, but so worth it.

  8. Meleah says:

    Just crying…you are so brave. Keep the faith. Keep fighting.

  9. Ree says:

    Sweetie you captured the moment perfectly for all of us who wish we could have walked with you and wish, even more, that there was NO REASON to walk. Thank you.

  10. motherofbun says:

    IF there’s one thing that could be considered a blessing with your experience, my guess would be that if you didn’t realize you were surrounded by love and support before, you do now.

    We love ya lady.

  11. fizzledink says:

    Oh. Tears, tears, tears on my keyboard.
    Your walk was beautiful, huh? YOU are beautiful – thank you for sharing what you saw. Wish I could hug your neck right now.

  12. Matt says:

    Another grown man reduced to tears. I don’t know what to say. Just…get well. Keep fighting. We need you.

  13. THis brought tears to my eyes..I especially like this line: “That we have the science, the medicine, and the tools to begin the fight, and the faith to finish it.”

  14. Christy says:

    I am a little behind on your blog at the moment, and just starting to catch up, sorry. This post, and picturing the walk and what you saw has brought me to tears. Beautiful, thank you for sharing it with us.

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