Well, I did it again. I walked 60 miles this weekend in Chicago with about 1,600 other people in Susan G. Komen's 2010 Chicago 3-Day Walk for the Cure.
During the closing ceremony on Sunday, some participants were joined on-stage by the people that motivated them to walk. A woman carrying a "For my friend" flag was joined by her friend, a woman who was obviously pregnant and obviously going through chemotherapy. Another woman, perhaps in her 60's, was joined by her daughter who wore a pink survivor's shirt. This moment gave me an opportunity to reflect on my own motivation to walk.
It's actually a question that I am asked often. Those who know me well know that when I signed up for my first 3-day last year I had no real personal connection to the cause. I had not had a grandmother, mother, aunt, sister or friend diagnosed with breast cancer. I have never watched someone fight the disease. And while during this last year I learned that my college roommate, with whom I had basically lost contact, was diagnosed with breast cancer, I cannot say that she is the reason I keep walking.
I walk for those people on Sunday's stage. I walk because I had no personal connection to the cause. I walk because a breast cancer diagnosis of my mother, my sister, my friends would undo me. I walk for those people that have had to endure such a fate (and fight). To quote a t-shirt I saw this weekend, "I walk to support the fighters, to honor the survivors and to remember the taken." I walk for the person who wrote on Chicago's rememberance tent, "Grandma, please take care of Mom in heaven." I walk so that no one else will ever have to utter such a sentiment. I walk to end breast cancer.
The walk is amazing and I'll try to get back to post about what a wonderful time I had doing it with friends (old and new), but I want to dedicate this post to those for whom I walk: anyone diagnosed with or taken by breast cancer and those who love them.