On Saturday night, while we were dancing, this beautiful rainbow appeared over our camp. To me it was like a sign from all of those we have lost to breast cancer. I think they were trying to tell us how proud they are of what we're doing, and that even though they may not physically be with us, they continue to be with us on the 3-Day walk.
I had someone ask me how this past weekends event went and I honestly think it was my favorite one out of the 12 I have participated in over the years. Well, that got me wondering why. At first, I really wasn't sure why myself. I just knew I had a great time with my teammates, and the walkers. But that always is true. So what made this one stand out as my favorite? It surely wasn't the 90+ degrees and high humidity. It also wasn't due to no problems. We had a few bicycle repairs that were necessary throughout the weekend. So why? I think it was because last year was so overly emotional for me after losing my Grandfather the night before the event started, and these people, these teammates and walkers were a tremendous support system for me during that time. They showed me the true love and compassion that people have for each other. Some of the support came from people I'd never met before, and wouldn't have recognized if they were there this year. Some support touched me in a way I'll never forget. Being able to be back in this community, without the raw pain of loss, allowed me to recognize the love they had shared and then let me share that same love with others over this event. This community of people represents the very best in humankind. They are out there year round fundraising and training so that someday none of us will suffer another loss to cancer. They are there with smiles and laughter even though their feet are covered in blisters and each step is excrutiating. They are up at an ungodly hour so we can all have a hot breakfast to start our hard day off in a great way. They are massaging sweaty bodies to give someone a bit of relief. They are cleaning up after someone so they don't have to take those few extra steps after a long day of walking. They are making you laugh on every street corner. They, both walkers and crew, are everyday heros.
Our Michigan Route Safety Bicyclists have a tradition. We go out for breakfast away from camp on Saturday morning. This started as a fluke one year when we were passing a place known for their potato pancakes and we had some time before our designated spots to work. It continues because it allows us to reconnect with each other and also get to know our new members in a little bit quieter environment than the 3 day breakfast. While we were dining this year, we had the most amazing waitress. Before we were finished with our meal she came up and pointed out her vehicle. She asked us to please go out and each take a hat she had in the back. They were breast cancer ball hats with fiber optic lights in the ribbon. She just gave them to us! She was hoping to get off her shift in time to go out and cheer for the walkers, and giving us these hats was a way she could contribute to the event. She also offered to help us come up with some things to sell as fundraisers for next years event. She displayed the type of kindness one encounters throughout a 3 day event.
On Day 1, I stopped where a boy was passing out cups of lemonade. I thanked him for taking time out of his summer day to support the walkers and the adult that was with him told me that he knows the value of what we are doing. He has already lost his mother to this dreadful disease. He had to have been under 9 years old. I cried as I rode away from them.
I saw survivors in their yards with signs of thanks, I saw young and old passing out treats and cold water through the weekend. I saw almost an entire block in Dearborn with the best decorated lawns and sprinklers and people cheering. I saw a cheering station in Plymouth that was so crowded, I couldn't find my sister. I saw a walker who had just lost her Dad on Tuesday who was still walking.
I saw love, kindness and compassion everywhere! I hope that someday there will not be a need for the Breast Cancer walks, but until that day I will continue to participate in these events.