San Diego Breast Cancer 3 Day--Nov. 21-23, 2003

Well. It is now 2 a.m. on Monday morning. You would think that after walking 180 miles in the last 3 weekends, I would at least be able to sleep through the night when it was all over. After lying here with my eyes open for a while, however, I decided that I might as well write the journal that is going through my head anyway!

As much as I talk about not being able to control the weather, I must admit that it certainly makes the walks easier when the weather is good, which it was for this SD event. It was mostly perfect walking weather--cool, crisp, partly overcast, partly sunny--ideal. I will tell you though that I carried around my rain poncho for 2 days "just in case". By lunch on Sat I was fairly convinced that there would be no rain and I took the plastic covering off the banner I wear on my back. The plastic cover protects the ribbons that bear the names of my over 350 sponsors and over 100 people they asked me to walk in honor of. The banner looks beautiful with no cover, as the ribbons look like wings in the wind.

The event began at the Del Mar Fairgrounds with registration on Fri. I was there by noon and enjoyed the excitement and energy that flows at that time. Friday we walked 19 miles. It was fairly hilly, but most of the hills seemed to me to be long but not necessarily steep. Many people had problems with them since not everyone lives in areas where they have an opportunity to train on hills. My friend Bridget, from SD, found me and we reconnected from last year. I am sure I wrote about her last year. She had family members in 3 other cities meet me at closing ceremonies around the country. It was a highlight of 2002. I did 3 TV interviews on Fri. and I assume that some of them aired that day, but I never saw them. Saturday was a longer day--official miles were 21 (I say it that way, because it always feels like more!). We walked in La Jolla and through some spectacular residential areas. Though we were told there were no hills today, that wasn't exactly the truth! There were more hills. I just pace myself and go slow and steady! My hip joints and lower back were pretty achy, but remembering to stretch often helped. My feet did great--after years of ‘mega’ walks, I wonder if I have finally solved the last of the major foot/toe problems.

One young woman came up to me after dinner and wanted my card. She said that she was going to graduate school next year and therefore, wouldn't be walking, but wanted to be on my mailing list to support me in whatever I do next year! Isn't that cool?

Sunday was 18 miles and beautiful. We walked from Mission Beach to Pt. Loma to Shelter Island through Cancer Survivor Park (which was such a touching and appropriate area to walk through), to Seaport Village and the Embarcadero. There were 2700 walkers and it was announced that we raised over 7 million dollars.

Our friend near SD, our son and son in law, all helped Bob put up the pink signs on the route. Thanks to all of you for doing this to support all of the walkers.

As I was standing at a pit stop talking to someone, a young woman was standing behind me saying, "my name is on her banner!" I turned around and asked her name. Her family is a patient of my husband's and she had supported my walk for the last 2 years, but we had never met. She is a recent survivor and we were both amazed at the coincidental meeting.

I tried very hard to concentrate on my feelings at closing ceremonies--I so appreciated my families support and friends that came to see this event. I was aware that this was the last walk of the year and what I had accomplished this year. I appreciate that my body and feet held out for the 8 Avon walks and the 3 3-Day events. I am ready to not do a ‘mega’ event for a while! However, my regular exercise regime will continue in a couple of days.

Some trivia information:

I have walked over 6500 miles since May 1998 when I signed up for my first event! This year I raised $76,000 for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer and $34,000 for the Breast Cancer 3 Day. My total for the last 6 years is over $320,000 for these 2 foundations. I just completed my 28th ‘mega’ walk for the breast cancer cause. This has been another incredible year, of not only pushing my fundraising limits, but also pushing my feet/body beyond anything I would have dreamed possible.

Thank you to everyone I have met and those who have supported me: my sponsors, my family, and my survivor clients (who continue to inspire me). Thank you to the people I have connected with from Avon and from the 3-Day events, the staff, crews and volunteers, and the many, many people that I have shared a moment with on this journey. It has been a great ‘ride’ and a wonderful adventure. I continue to thank all of you for "sharing the road" with me.

Thank you for taking the time to read this journal. I plan to continue to make a huge commitment to this cause next year and will write more about that after I settle down!

With appreciation,

Barbara Jo

"I walk because I can't walk away"

PS   Can you imagine my surprise when I arrived home and got out of the car and there were long stem roses from my driveway into the house, through the house, up the stairs, into my bedroom and bathroom; with bouquets in the kitchen, the bedroom and bathroom; and flowers in every drawer that I opened!  One of my daughters and 3 of my granddaughters (who kept the surprise even over the phone!) created that welcome.  Just another reminder (as if I need reminding) to me that no matter what I do, or where I go, the most important thing to me is my family.  So, to all of my children, in-law children, grandchildren and husband, I thank you and love you.