BARBARA JO KIRSHBAUM

 

2003 AVON WALK FOR BREAST CANCER

 

NEW YORK

What a view!  Avon signage and the New York skyline.
Avon Walk for Breast Cancer

New York-September 20-21, 2003

We arrived in Newark on Tuesday to spend a couple of days with a dear friend of 40 years. As we were driving from the airport to her home, we received the call that my cousin Phyllis had just passed away. She died from complications of the treatment of her breast cancer. I was filled with so many emotions. I was relieved that she is no longer ‘waiting’ to die. I was sad that she is no longer here. I was angry that the solution to her problem became her problem. I am more committed to walking and fund raising in hopes of finding answers and raising awareness. And lastly, I was pleased that I would have the opportunity to dedicate this walk to Phyllis’ memory and her courageous spirit. Actually, I am writing this Monday morning following the walk on the flight back to California. As soon as we land, we will be going to the cemetery for her funeral.

Friday morning we had an opportunity to meet with some people from Avon and tour their corporate offices. During these last months, the people that we see the most and the have made personal connections with are the on site staff from each city and the Avon corporate staff who travel to the events from New York. It was very interesting to see them on their turf. They took us to the Avon spa and I actually had my hair done. It was unexpected fun.

Registration for the walk was quick and efficient, as it was in each city. I hung around registration selling bracelets and pins. I am not at ease as a salesperson, but I have so much fun meeting so many people.

Friday night we had dinner with Sandy (the other woman doing all eight walks) and her family. Where do you think we ate…a NY deli! What do you think we had…. Hot Pastrami on rye! What else? As usual, the night before the walk I did not sleep well. I was just too excited. This time, however, I woke up ready to walk. Opening ceremonies was so impressive from the stage. All of the New York walkers looked great and were very enthused. Most of the route was spectacular and we were definitely able to get the flavor of New York (see Bob’s description of the route below). Saturday felt like a longer day than usual and I really enjoyed the dinner and festivities Saturday night.

The walk and the weather Sunday were glorious. I have forgotten to mention all of the concerns about the weather. Before the walk, Hurricane Isabel was a possibility and the weather forecast was changing daily, so I came prepared for anything. The weather gods were looking down on us and blessed us with two days of sunshine! So I will not whine about the humidity. I had a great time walking and talking with so many new people. Whether it was just to introduce ourselves or to share a few miles of road together, I have been touched by just sharing the same space with so many incredible people.  To all of the people involved; volunteers, staff, crew and walkers, thank you for creating this incredible experience. Everyone has gotten together to make a difference in the fight against breast cancer. As I have said before, it has been a privilege to be part of this campaign.

 
Bob’s description of the route.

The walk in NY was very beautiful. It covered the entire borough of Manhattan. It started on the southeast side and walked across lower Manhattan past ground zero. Then along the west side along the Hudson river. Saturday’s lunch was in the west side of central park and then they walked under Washington bridge and crossed over the Henry Hudson bridge into north Manhattan. They walked by Columbia University, through Harlem, back through the Central Park area, across a footbridge near the Triborough Bridge and into the wellness village at Randall Island.

On Sunday, the walkers went from the wellness village through Greenwich Village, across the Manhattan Bridge into Brooklyn for lunch. They walked around Brooklyn and across the Brooklyn Bridge into seaport village for closing ceremonies.

I was very touched getting to spend my birthday with Barbara Jo and her friends at this final Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. Barbara Jo has been so inspirational and motivating and has touched so many lives in her support of this cause. I am so very proud of her and all her many ‘steps’ that she has taken around the country to help find a cure for this devastating disease. I love you darling and it has been my honor accompanying you and supporting you this year.

 

P.S.       After reading what was to be my last entry for the Avon walks  I realized that it didn't sound like a "last entry".  The reason for that is that though this was the last Avon Walk for Breast Cancer for 2003, my personal adventure is not over for this year.  I have raised over $76,000 for the Avon Foundation, and I have passed my goal by raising over $103,000 for the breast cancer cause for this year but I am not finished yet.  I will be walking in Nov. for the Breast Cancer 3 Day, whose beneficiary is the Susan G. Komen Foundation---so for me my walking is not over and my fund raising is not over.  My goal is still to raise as much as I can through Nov., then take a little rest (at least from fundraising), and start this all over again next year--if my body is still in agreement!
Thanks again to everyone:  staff, crew, volunteers, walkers, sponsors and my family for your wonderful support in this portion of my 2003 adventure. I absolutely could not have done this without you.

Barbara Jo
"I walk because I can't walk away"
Support from the NY Avon staff.
The show must go on!