Breast Cancer 3Day--AZ--Oct. 21-23, 2005

1700 Walkers--$4.7 raised

Just returned from my celebration dinner (celebrating the last walk for 2005)! Bob and I spent it with Robin who came to closing ceremonies to see me. She was the first person to do all of the events in a season. I met her in 2000 and was so impressed and she has always been my hero for what she accomplished and for putting the thought into my head that such a challenge was possible. Robin now lives in AZ and she brought me a bouquet of about 56 roses, since it was my 56th walk. (She is a florist!). I hope I can dry the flowers for posterity (or to last for a while anyway!)

My body and feet are looking forward to a rest and I am looking forward to getting back on my healthy eating program now that the walks are over! It was amazing how pretzels dipped in peanut butter became my new favorite snack this year.

This walk began in Tempe and the first campsite ended up not far from opening ceremonies. We must have done some walking in circles (or squares)! I must say that all 3 days of walking were pretty uneventful--I am not sure that word actually captures what I mean--but I am trying to be politically correct! The routes were quite exposed (no trees, and cacti don't offer much shade!)

The weather was warm in the high 80's most of the time. I could not get over how many local people complained about how hot it was. That was amusing to me since AZ is almost always hot. When I asked about that, they all stated that they stay in when it's hot, and definitely do not train when it is really warm. It sounded like the people on the east coast who don't train in the winter because of the snow and rain. I sure am lucky in CA, since I can train and exercise almost all year long.

I re-met so many people from other walks and other cities, and met so many new people. My problem is remembering everyone's names--sometimes it is difficult to remember names of people I meet on one day to the next! Usually I can remember their stories, but unless I write the names down right away-----!

I saw Liz who I met in NY last year. Now with Liz I remembered everything we had talked about and was delighted to see her doing well as a 2 yr. survivor. She asked what I would be doing next year, and I told her that doing the 3Days back to back was really hard on my body, and she said I told her the same thing last year! I thought that was a riot. Maybe nothing is any different and at some point it just hurts regardless of what age I am. And I guess I can just keep doing this! So, of course, I will keep doing it.

It was great seeing my sister in law Jan and her business partner Marlene. They sell the cute little walker girl pins and products. She gifted me with one of their adorable bears. Thanks Marjan for all that you are doing and donating to the breast cancer cause.

I had a good time talking with Shula and Kim. They were both looking forward to their massages on Mon. Kim's blisters were so bad that she had to stop on Sat. I didn't see her again, but hope she is ok.

Allen and Mary was a great couple. I walked/talked with them for a couple of hours. Even Bob had an opportunity to meet them. We started off by talking about fundraising and then ended up talking about pretty much everything else!

I saw Jodi, who I had met last year. She is a 7-year survivor and is in a research study because as a flight attendant there is a high incidence of breast cancer on certain flight routes. I had never heard of that.

Some of the special walk times I spent with George and Albert. I introduced them to each other. George is 73 yrs old and was doing his first back to back walks (last week in SD). He is from MI and I had met him a few years ago. He is also one of the stories featured in the "Why We Walk" book. He continued walking in spite of back pain and really sore ankles. Albert is almost 80 yrs old and is doing his 2nd walk. He is retired in AZ and kept up a really steady pace all day. These men were each doing this walk on their own! Go George and Albert! You are both incredible inspirations!

I also spent time talking with John, of Team Woody. He is 37 yr. old and was walking with his sister and brother in law, in honor of his wife. She was diagnosed 3 years ago, a couple of weeks before she was to deliver their 3rd child. She was diagnosed at stage 4 and has been on chemotherapy since then. One year after her diagnosis he was diagnosed with MS. Their children are now 3, 7 and 11. John, thank you for sharing your story with me. I never asked your wife's name, but I would be honored to wear her name on my banner next year. I will hold you and your family in my thoughts.

I am now home typing this. I am feeling pretty mellow. I am in awe, as always, about the feelings that are generated on these walks--everyone caring about everyone else--whether they are staff, crew, volunteer, supporter, or walker--kindness is the operative word--and my mind wonders why more of that can't exist in the 'real world'? Maybe this needs to be an on- going goal as the mellowness lessens and the 'real world' returns (by tomorrow, no doubt!). Sorry for rambling!!

Thank you for reading my journal and thank you so much for sharing the road with me. It has been an incredible year. I will be back in 2006, and hope you will too.



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