A lot of my friends and family have participated in various events across the country. My niece Lindsay walked in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer in Boston. My author friends are Bowling for Boobies tonight. And Tamara Rupke, the niece of an online friend, participated in the Grandmother of all breast cancer awareness events, the 3-day, 60 mile Washington, DC walk.
Here, in Tamara’s own words, is an accounting of her experience.
Many of you have asked, “How was the walk?” Well, here goes..
At the opening ceremony participants carried flags describing their motivation for walking- Dreams, The Future, Myself, My Friend, My Wife, My Mother, etc. Right then I knew it would be an emotional weekend… even for a ‘tough’ girl like me.
The walk itself was much more difficult than I imagined. Many walkers suffered from blisters and sore/pulled muscles. 60 miles in 3 days is INSANE, walking or not. After the first night I heard one girl talking to her sister about getting a blister on her behind. (I assume they were walking for their mother.) One sister said to the other, “Mom always said she was going to blister our A$$.” The Pit Stops became our best friend. We were able to re-vaseline our tootsies, change socks, get a snack, rehydrate, tinkle, stretch, and hit the road again… not necessarily in that order. There were also cheering stations along the way where supporters greeted walkers with candy, (one camper greeted us with wine J) and wow did they cheer! Oh, and I mustn’t forget the creative pink ta-ta paraphernalia!! Men in pink tutus, Harley’s with bra’s strapped to the front handlebars, and shirts that read, “boobs, sweat, and tears”, or “Yeah their fake, my real ones tried to kill me!” I could go on and on. So much creativity.
Camp featured local entertainment which Charlyn and I regrettably declined. We preferred to stretch, shower, and sleep. Camp was surprising comfortable. We had hot showers, delicious meals, and all the coffee one could ask for. I’ve never seen so many pink tents in my life! And of course one white tent, the Remembrance Tent, where participants could record their story and honor loved ones.
The weekend carried many emotions, fear, anticipation, happiness, sadness, disappointment, appreciation, courage…. Needless to say, I had many “ah ha” moments. There is one memory I will take with me forever and reminds me why I walked that weekend. On Day 2 as we walked through Bethesda, a woman who appeared to be shopping approached and asked us why were walking. We told her to benefit Susan G Komen for the Cure. I noticed the woman choke up. As she turned and walked away carrying her shopping bags she looked back and replied, “It’s because of people like you that I am still alive today.” I wanted to share that story with all of you because I feel like it’s also because of YOU that this woman is still alive today. Thank you so much for your support and for allowing me to participate in such a worthy event. I had a great time and I hope if any of you have ever considered doing anything like this that you don’t think twice and just go for it! It is an experience of a lifetime.
Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart!!!
The month is almost over, but it's not too late to contribute to one of these very worthy events. So put down the candy corn and get involved in one way or another. It's never too late to raise awareness and fight breast cancer. Make it a year-round event.