Avon Walk L.A.--Sept. 15-16, 2007--1900 walkers--$4.3m
This journal is dedicated to my cousin Phyllis, as it is the anniversary
of her death from breast cancer.
I got home today early enough to begin laundry and write the journal.
That is a new experience--no rush to the airport, no quick change of
clothes in the car rental bathroom, no worrying about luggage, no rush,
rush, rush, wait, wait at the airport! There is something to be said
for a 'home' walk.
The L.A. walk was actually in the Long Beach area in that it began and
ended at the Queen Mary. We walked several miles near the water/beach
at the beginning of the route and at the end. That was the prettiest
part to me. Today, Sunday, was overcast in the morning, which I thought
made for better walking weather, a little cooler. The temperature was
in the low 80's by the afternoon each day.
The most special part of the walk was that my daughter Debra, walked
every step with me. My son in law Chris (my computer guy!) and my son
David came to surprise Bob on Sat. morning to help him with his
signage. With 3 guys doing the job they finished all 26.3 miles much
quicker than usual. Later in the day my daughter Ronda came with my
granddaughters to support the walkers by giving out candy. I so
appreciate the support of my whole family.
Another personal surprise came when I arrived at lunch. There were
Laurie, John and their daughter Gabbie.
Laurie has been my email stalker for at least 5 years! What is an email
stalker? She began sending me emails of support before and after every
walk before I even knew her. I thought I knew who she was, and when I
finally had an occasion to actually meet Laurie, I looked at her and had
no idea who she was, because I had actually never met her! Last year in
SD Laurie was waiting for me at the end with an artificial bouquet of 70
carnations (so I could enjoy them forever!) to celebrate my 70th walk.
This time she surprised me for my 80th walk. Gabbie recently talked to
her 6th grade class about breast cancer and she has made over 2000
breast cancer paper clip angels to distribute and raise awareness. This
is just one of the wonderful stories of my breast cancer adventures.
Brandon was a guy walking alone and is 27 yrs. old He was walking for
his mother who is a 2 time survivor. He teaches at the local college
and was the only one in his family willing to do this. It was wonderful
sharing some road with you. I wish you success in your future as a
When Joan from New Jersey passed me she turned around and asked if I was
Barbara Jo Kirshbaum. She knew my complete name! She had been
following my fundraising progress for several months and had been
reading my journals and knew of my current goal. She was a first time
walker and was a fantastic fundraiser herself--she raised $10,000! Go
Steve and Stacy had to shorten their long stride to walk with me on
Sat. They are from the SF area and though Stacy is 4 months pregnant
she did most of the event. Her Mom and Dad were crewing one of the last
pit stops and I introduced myself to them. They had come down from
Grass Valley to crew. Isn't that support incredible?
Debra's friend Renu did the walk with her cousin (6 months pregnant!).
Renu is a recent survivor and a dear friend of my daughter's. It seems
so courageous to have just completed treatment and then to do this walk.
I also talked with Rhonda from Dallas. She is also an Avon rep. in
Dallas and was walking in LA. I look forward to seeing her in New York
because she will be crewing there. She is part of the "Believe Team".
Bob saw a couple of his patients on the walk, who shall remain nameless,
because of confidentiality issues!
We actually kept running into one of them and her friend all weekend,
several times a day. It just got to be funny.
On Sun we spoke with Shani Rae and her Mom, Judy. Shani Rae was
diagnosed at 35 yrs. old and has had several surgeries. She is such a
high energy young woman with such a positive attitude. She said that
she is just grateful to be alive and so much has changed since her
diagnosis. She has the most incredible zest for life--you can just feel
that in speaking with her. You are amazing.
Sat. night a flag from soldiers in Iraq ,who walked the same weekend we
were walking in SF, was presented. All the soldiers that did that walk
signed an American flag and sent it to the Avon Foundation office. A
young woman in the reserves, who has a brother in Iraq unfurled the flag
and saluted it. It was a very touching moment.
As a sweet moment for Debra, as we were crossing the last street of the
day, the moto crew safety guy handed each of us a pink connection ribbon
to wear around our necks. They are given out every 3 minutes of the
weekend to remind us all that a diagnosis of breast cancer is made every
3 minutes, and that we are all connected by the cause. Debra had always
wanted a ribbon and since they are given at random, just had never
I have a 'little time' home and then we are off to NY. I am definitely
on the count-down with 5 walks left!
Remember to remind all the women you know about mammograms and regular
Barbara Jo Kirshbaum
"I walk because I can't walk away"