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39.3

39.3

I spent the weekend in Santa Barbara for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. It’s the second time I have been to this but the first time I finished both days. I was also alone this time. While alone in my room and the train on the way home, instead of opening a journal and writing my thoughts in the privacy of a book, I did what most of us do, I posted it on Facebook. Privacy? Yea, I don’t much believe in it.

I’m posting this here for two reasons, a) it’s my blog and I want to, and b) I decided to do the walk again next year and I want to put this out there for others who may have thought about doing it, or never have but think it may be a “bucket list” item to check off, or just read it and think “that’s fine for you”.

Thoughts from a weekend

Friday Sept 5: Inn at East Beach

I’m in the hotel room. I should be asleep. I have to wake up before 5am to walk to the hotel where the shuttle picks people up. I’m figuring I could wake up half an hour later and go directly to the opening ceremony but that would be walking a mile before I walk 26 miles. Not sure which it’ll be. I guess morning will determine that.
I’m in a quiet hotel alone with the overhead fan going. It’s so lovely. I brought stuff to entertain myself with but really all I want to do is play online games and type this. I can because no one will ask me what I’m doing and if they can use my phone next.
No purpose in this post. I just wanted to put down what I’m thinking and there isn’t paper or a pen around.
I think I love Santa Barbara even if it is too white washed and predictably perfect. I suppose at this point I just want to just ‘be’ rather than fight for something I think I want until I get it and lose interest. What? I don’t know.

 

Saturday Sept 6: Avon Walk for Breast Cancer

26.2 miles walked plus 1 mile each way to get to the shuttle. I got to my lil hotel. The owner let me know he set me up with Epsom salt (as well as other walkers this weekend) and told me to get as much ice as I needed. I like when people are nice just to be nice without expectations of any kind. Nice is nice.
The day was supportive, female focused (but not male excluded), and heart wrenching at times. Everyone was thankful. Volunteers, walkers, people in neighborhoods, tourists, passerby’s. At times I didn’t pay attention because it was a long way to the end but then I would see a woman who was obviously dealing with cancer, or a random woman would say “I’m a survivor of __ years” excitedly. There was a woman who said nothing but every couple of miles she stood with different signs telling of the women she lost and always writing thank you for walking. It was heavy but in a festive and celebratory tone. Surreal.
I listened to conversations about personal experiences while passing other walkers. Cancer is so common that it isn’t shocking. That’s sad.
So I walked for 9 hours and I came to my room, poured the ice in the tub, added cold water and Epsom salt, and thought about how so many people said thank you but nobody said you’re welcome because it wasn’t about that. It was a day of being nice to each other without any expectations.

 

Sunday Sept 7: Pacific Surfliner Amtrak

I’m in the train heading home. I’ve only done this one other time which was hell but it’s a quiet and smooth ride after a long weekend.
Today was the last 3rd of the 39.3 of the Avon Walk. I woke up refreshed and ready to go. Minimal discomfort and totally rested. I passed out before 8 and slept hard.
The walk was hard. The sun was bright, the heat heavy, and the town without any visual stimulation. Carpentaria was not interesting.
The tone was more subdued but the cheering was more enhanced. There was a lot of time inside my head today. Mind you, I’m not someone who complains about what happens in there. It can be intense but usually ends with a fun mental cocktail. No I never told any therapists about it, I don’t think they understand voices you aren’t scared of. But I digress.
At 6am, I was talking to two women about this event. One of them, a woman working to decrease breast cancer death rates in African-American communities was talking passionately about the reason she does this walk every year. She said that she reminds herself that she is merely the conduit for the donors who are the ones that are making the real difference. This rang through my mind as I struggled to make this last stretch worth my time.
By the time I was done, exhausted, feeling accomplished, irritated, humbled, and thinking I did what I set out to do, I realized I want to be one of the conduits that brings money to provide free mammograms to women who can’t afford it, to research organizations that are working to find out why and how to end it, to educate young women to get regular exams, and to provide support for those fighting through to survive. I want to walk as long as my body allows and I’m going to keep begging and bugging for donations to do it. Like I just texted to Sue, either I liked it or I’m a masochist but that’s what I decided to do.

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2014 in Avon Walk For Breast Cancer

 

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It’s contagious!!! I hope you catch it.

ImageSomething incredible is happening around me and it’s contagious. People are helping each other just because it’s good to help each other. I don’t know when it started and how it is spreading but it feels like a little bit of light shining through in a world of anger, selfishness, and retaliation. I don’t think it’s the start of this grand step toward a loving and caring world we keep telling our kids they can create because let’s face it, as long as people keep holding onto the idea that ‘mine is mine and get your own’, that’s never going to happen.

No I’m not about to go on a hippie-dippy rant about giving up your possessions or sharing because I would be thought of as naive and ridiculous. This is about the little things people are doing around me at a time when everyone is uncertain of what is coming around the corner for them at a very politically and socially fragile time. It is at these times when the big boys/girls in government don’t know how to play nice, bickering and fighting like unruly children that people in communities start to see the importance of becoming active members of the communities they live in.

I know when I met her but I’m not sure how that introduction in a backyard kid birthday party manifested into the relationship that is developing with Terri Kurczewski but it’s a nice one to be in. She is involved in helping children try to reach their potential in their world of uncertainty. She isn’t a saint or anything but dammit if you can’t give kudos to anyone who doesn’t try to help the ones most of us disregard as unfortunate. What’s her do-gooder thing? She went from being part of a school to help kids to creating a space to bring people together to feed off of their own creativity, donate their unused goods, sell the goods to make more goods, and take all the funds and put it toward helping the children AND creating a more sustainable way of creating thing. WHA? She is doing two good things in one? Yup.

Plug for her gig: www.smartstudioslo.com If you are in SLO, stop by. If your not, contact her and donate the unused (but meaning to) things that are collecting dust. if it isn’t being used, it’s useless, people.Just sayin’.

From this comes the fund raising that I was lucky to be involved it. The brains behind it was Sherry Jimenez. She has a hair salon (plug for her place below) and loves to do her part in making a difference in the town we live in. She doesn’t seem to think that what she is doing is significant but it is INCREDIBLE. She decided a couple of months ago to have an fundraiser with local artists who create their work with recycled, reclaimed, reused items. You know, using the stuff you keep holding onto but never get around to using? Yea. What’s the money going for? To help the school that Terri is part of. See the connection? So with over twenty artists donating their work, musicians donating their time, incredible food donated (www.vertfoods.com/blog) for the event, the party happened and the feel goodness of knowing that the money you spent didn’t go to a handful of people who don’t care. Good things happened.

Get your hair done here because I said so: http://www.salon544.com/

Okay so now I’m going to pull a ‘me, me, me’ moment. I had this crazy whim to do something bigger than I think I can and signed up for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Santa Barbara. I figured it would give me motivation not to slack off this summer and when the time came, whatever money I raised is going to do something necessary for people who are fighting cancer. I know it’s cliche but I HATE CANCER. From this came an incredible outpouring to support that has made this event bigger than just a two day walk. It’s becoming a community that I am taking with me. It feels incredible. One of the most wonderful things that has come from this has been my dear wonderful and creative friend Robyn Berry who started a portrait photography business from her house last year and is now just having a blast creating images. She contacted me and said she is having a fundraiser photo shoot sessions for families and 100% of the money would go toward the event. Please mind you that i know for each short session she is having, she is putting in a whole lot of time editing, cleaning and delivering her products. AND all of that work is being done without compensation. She said to me “I could just give you $20 or do this. It just seems funner to do this instead”. Okay Robyn but you are a super star for it.

Her link because she sorta kinda seriously rules both as a photographer and a human being: http://www.robynberryphotography.com/

Oh and if you want to donate some money to the Avon Walk, here’s the link. No this is not a plea for funds, it’s just something I thought of adding into it. http://info.avonfoundation.org/site/TR/Walk/LosAngeles?px=6888027&pg=personal&fr_id=2240

So that being said, I’m feeling pretty happy to be surrounded by givers. Kindness is contagious and side effect is a good feeling.

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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