You think about how they just keep doing, no matter how bad things are. Sometimes there isn't even the slightest whimper of complaint. Other times there are sobs of heart-wrenching sadness. But they just keep moving, living, loving.
This past weekend I was crewing the Cleveland Susan G. Komen 3-Day for a Cure. The strength I witnessed in people was amazing. These women and men, both walkers and crew persevere through a very trying 3 days. They overcome emotional trauma and physical limitations as they are on this event. They walk through blisters that are sometimes larger than toes. They cheer until their voices are gone. They wake up at the butt-crack of dawn so that others may have a hearty breakfast. They pop blisters on sweaty feet so others may take a few more steps. They support someone else even when they are in need of support. They laugh, they cry, they hug, they yell-both in frustration and in joy, they cheer and they keep doing. No matter what.
I dont believe I have the strength that these people do, but I was able to be a part of their lives for the event. This year, a friend lost her loving husband to a very quick battle with cancer. She buried him on Thursday and showed up on Friday to walk 60 miles. As she walked, a heart-shaped blister formed on her foot. You never walk a 3 day alone, those you walk for are with you each step even if they have lost their fight. In her words, she was there because "It's important to me now more than ever" and "it was very therapeutic". She is in the 2nd picture of this post, flanked by 2 of her safety girls. She's a pillar of strength as I struggle through one of the more emotional moments I had on the event.
A teammate struggled with a kidney stone. Passing it in a dark porta-potty. He never uttered a complaint that I heard. I didn't even know he was struggling. Strength. He made a commitment and he followed through on that even though most people would have bowed out and gone home.
A walker still in chemo woke up sick every morning and her body ached even before the walk began because of those treatments pushed to walked on one painful step after another. When she could no longer continue for the day, her husband who had severe shin splints refused to give up because he was walking ALL 60 miles to support his wife who is in chemo. They met at the last pit stop of the day and journeyed into camp hand in hand. Strenth and love displayed in the finest manner.
Everyone who participates has a story. We all have our reasons why, and people we are there in honor of, or remembrance of. There are painful moments, yet we know that we are doing something that might someday help others avoid losing their loved ones. There are happy moments as friends laugh and play together. There are moments when you're not sure you can go on, yet there is always someone there to help you, to support you. Each person on the event is an inspiration. Each person involved shows you the very best in life. Each person is a pillar of strength and it was an honor to be with all of them this past weekend.