Avon Walk for Breast Cancer--June 23-24, 2007, approx. 800 walkers, $2.3 m raised

I actually slept until 8:30 a.m. this Mon. morning--sounds good, but I didn't get to bed until 1:15 a.m.  How it actually went was that we had a late flight out of Denver, which was nice because I could stay for closing ceremonies, which I had not done for the previous 3 walks.  By the way, the closing ceremonies were wonderful and emotional, but I will get back to that later.  So, anyway, we got to the airport early; I did my change of clothes at the car rental bathroom (!) and took the bus to the airport.  It was the longest line we have ever been in to go through security.  The zigzag
lines would have made Disney proud!   We ate dinner, went to our terminal area to realize our flight was 2 hours late.  I was unable to sleep at the airport though I was thoroughly exhausted, but not in any pain (good thing!).  By the time we were seated on the airplane my legs just started twitching, which is what happens a few hours after I complete a walk, sitting still.  So, needless to say, I watched my watch tick the whole flight home.  Fortunately it was less than 2 hours, so you can bet I crashed when I hit my bed.  So, that is the story of how I slept until 8:30am.  I do think that is much too much information---sorry!!

We have a very dear friend in Denver.  Her husband was a high school and college mate of Bob's, so there is a long history there.  We spent Thurs. with Carol. It is always a delight to see her and we look forward to that visit each year.

On Saturday, Bob had put up about 50 of his signs.  About an hour before I was getting to the 1/2 point when I was having lunch, I was walking alone, and realized that I hadn't seen any of the signs.  When I get involved talking with people I don't always notice them.  I gave him a call and he started retracing his steps and realized that someone had taken them down.  He had just spent 5 hours putting them up!  He has always been very supported by the staff  in his doing his own 'thing' related to the signs, so he spoke to someone, and on Sunday, nobody took down any signs! He does take his 'signage' job very seriously! 

We had arrived in Denver on Thurs., which gave me 2 days to acclimate to the altitude.  Usually that isn't quite enough, but fortunately I did not have any altitude sickness on the walk.  However, the heat which was 91--95 degrees, was oppressive and added to the challenge of the walk.  I would guess that there were lots of problems with walkers not drinking enough fluids and not pacing themselves.  I think besides blisters, the biggest problems are that people don't hydrate enough throughout the walk. Bob described this is an 'ultra-endurance event' since we were dealing with the heat as well as the altitude.

Stef was a great supporter this year.  She was at many places on the route cheering us on, dancing and playing great music.  Stef was one of the all city walkers last year, and she is now pregnant, so she was out there making a difference in a different way!  She said that she and her husband have signed up for next year.  How's that for commitment?!

I spent all of Sat. playing the hare and tortoise (that's me) with Barb and Erin.  They had met in training and had each lost their mother to breast cancer.  We had some conversation and then kept crossing paths all day long. How we kept crossing paths, is that they would take longer breaks than I would, but they walked faster and would eventually be passing me again, and again, and again! Erin had only trained to do 13 miles, but both of them did the whole thing.  Erin's husband and children were there to meet her on Sat and the end of the day, and they were so proud of her.  They both helped to keep me going on Sat. because I looked forward to seeing them.  I hope they send me their mother's names for my banner.

I spent a few minutes talking with Jackie.  She is a massage therapist from Denver, but I have seen her on many walks through the years, but never really had any conversation with her.  She really gets into the event as far as her dress and attitude, and she is so positive and energetic.  She was a crew member handling 'gear' for this walk.  But she is doing other walks this year and has been busy fundraising for those.  I look forward to seeing her again.  Her enthusiasm is contagious.

I also spent a few moments with Julie who is part of the Princess team that came from Chicago.  We have also crossed paths on several Chicago walks, and it just was fun to see her again and her whole team, that by the way, wore their princess crowns on their heads the whole time!

At closing ceremonies, I was standing directly behind the survivors (who are in the front).  On the stage, Karen, the director of the walks, was talking about the pink connection ribbon.  It is a pink ribbon that is about one yard long, which goes around the neck.  The number of ribbons given out represents the number of women that are diagnosed with breast cancer, in the time that we are together participating in this event.  The ribbon is very symbolic.  Those that receive them feel very special and wear it with pride.  I took off the ribbon I had received and gave it to the woman (a survivor) who was standing in front of me.  She turned around and hugged me and wept.  I don't remember her name, but it was one of the most emotional moments for me of the weekend.

I am doing laundry at this moment.  San Francisco is next!

Thank you for reading my journal.

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