Chicago--Avon Walk--June 2-3, 2007--3800 participants--raised $8.3m--85 degrees--humid--40.49 miles--95225 steps

Because there was a large number of registrants  registration at 1 instead of 2 on Fri.  The other 8 city walkers and myself are usually there early so we can then find a little (about 1 1/2 ft.) space to 'sell our wares'!  It is so much fun selling Ronda's handmade jewelry because it is really beautiful so I am always anxious to get things set up.  I stayed there until about 7:30 pm because then we had to get back to our hotel, eat dinner, get my stuff out for an early 4:30 a.m. wakeup, and prepare my poor little feet with moleskin!

While we were still at registration my friend Cathy from Chicago, a breast cancer survivor, and a woman who has crewed over 30 walks, found me.  I think we met in 2002 and  have connected at many walks since then.  Anyway, Cathy presented me with the most fabulous breast cancer quilt in the Jacob's Ladder pattern.  She said the pattern is also known as the Road to California.  She had pictures that she had taken of me put on fabric and had used those in the corners of the quilt.  She also knows I like tootsie rolls (I never ate them but I will eat them on the walks if someone is giving them out).  She had a picture of a tootsie roll in one corner.  It was the most personal gift and made with such love and included a personal note that was also very special.  I can't even explain how much this touched me.  The time and planning to make it just overwhelmed me.  Now that I am home, I keep looking at it and continue to admire the work,and artistry in it.  Thank you so much Cathy.  It will be a treasure in my home.

The weather report before the walk and during each day was for intermittent thunder showers, so, as usual, I was totally prepared.  I wore my Sloggers (my rain boots) both days, and guess what, it never rained during the day!  The weather on Sat. got up to 85 degrees but with high humidity. The humidity is the toughest of the weather changes on me.  I always feel drained and never know what my body 'needs' replaced, so I get into salt and sugar, and carbs, just in case!

I took my first tumble in 73 walks.  Boy, was I ever lucky.  I tripped on a curb and fell smack forward;
my fanny pack which I wear in the front seemed to cushion the fall, and though I landed with my hands in front of me, I didn't hurt them, didn't rip my pants, didn't hit my face, and didn't destroy my knees.  Believe me, that was a close call for all of the above.  I do have two huge black and blue bruises on my tummy; however, the natural added cushioning there (!) probably helped too.

I saw Tia and her Mom.  Tia has been the face of the 2007 Avon walks and is on all of the printed materials.  She was diagnosed young and is walking every year.  She is from So. Calif. but went to Chicago to participate in that walk.

MooCowGuy came in from DC to support the walks.  He is a really morale booster for everyone in his costume and emotional support for all. 

I also spent some time walking/talking to my friend Lenore.  I met her a few years ago and she sent me a bouquet of flowers and a beautiful gift basket to my hotel room.  I remember being so surprised that someone who I had just met would do such a thoughtful thing.  She has gone down to the south these last 2 years to help with the rebuilding there.  It is always a delight to catch up with her and share some walking time.  That is probably one of the best parts of this experience, connecting with such fabulous people.

Just met Jean.  He is a retired military man who is walking all 8 walks.  Spent  about 1/2 hour of walking time talking with him.  What an interesting guy!  He is walking in memory of his Mom.  Go Jean! Look forward to seeing you in 5 more cities.

On Sat. Bob was hanging his signs and met a whole family that was crewing one of the pit stops.  He told me to find them and introduce myself to Rachel.  Rachel is a 59 yr. old woman, who was diagnosed in her 30's.  Her 2 daughters were diagnosed in their 20's.  I believe that one of them was re-diagnosed, and the other one has had uterine cancer.  One of the daughters was walking and one was crewing at the pit stop.  Imagine all of that in one family.  Both daughters have young children.  There was a cement truck at this pit stop.  It was painted pink and had a breast cancer ribbon on it.  I assume that may be the family business. I saw Rachel at the end of the walk and we took a picture together.  It was an honor to meet her and her family.  THAT IS WHY I WALK!

Also at the end the Kapow (sp.) Team saw us.  They saw Bob's Team California t-shirt and wanted to know were the rest of the team was.  They were surprised it was just us (because of the signs on the route that Bob puts up--the all say 'team california' at the top in small print).  However, people assume that Team California is a huge team!  Team Kapow, I think had 17 members, which was great.  It was fun talking with them, though we had a cut it short, to leave for the airport. 

I did connect with lots of people from  'the past'.  That is always so special, though it drives me crazy that I can't remember their names, or which city, or year, I know them from.  They usually are pretty patient with that lapse of mine, when they realize that this was my 73rd walk.

Anyway, we dashed to the airport.  I made my quick change in the National Car Rental bathroom, checked in easily, only to then realize that the plane was 1 1/2 hours late!  But the good news was that our luggage did arrive on our flight and my quilt arrived too.  My banner I now carry in my carry- on just in case things get lost/stolen after my experience coming home from Boston.

Please send me any names that you would like me to honor on my banner.

...............................on to Denver.


Barbara Jo Kirshbaum
"I walk because I can't walk away"