Friday, November 27, 2009

3-day Walk

One week ago I began the 3-day walk with approximately 3,800 other women and men. There were eight of us that made up Team Safe at Second and I don't think I could have picked a better group of ladies to do this walk with. I've been trying to formulate what all happened throughout the walk and put down in words what it meant to me to be able to do it, but so far I'm at a loss for words.

I remember about 10 years ago, in Ventura, one of the moms of a little boy was working with was telling me about this walk she was going to be doing. How they were going to walk 60 miles over 3-days and sleep in tents, all to raise money for breast cancer research. I thought it sounded awesome but at the time I just left it that, tucking it away in the back part of my brain. I didn't really think about it much again until moving to Santa Clarita. I knew another mom of a different boy who I worked with who had just done the 3-day walk in San Francisco. I asked her to send me info on it and started looking into what exactly was involved in doing this walk. Just a few weeks later, my mom called telling me she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. I knew right then that it was finally my time to get involved. Thankfully I was able to join up with Team Safe at Second, because doing this on my own would not have been nearly as wonderful!

So, we got to Del Mar on Friday morning around 5:15. This was after we spent the night in San Clemente at Susan and Dennis' house, where we were showered with well wishes, balloons, and cake from the whole gang. Even at 5:15 we were welcomed by bright, happy faces waiting to take our bags. The crew for the walk is amazing! Opening ceremonies began around 6:30 and then we hit the road, slowly, with all the walkers trying to leave at the same time it took a while to get going. The first day we walked 20.1 miles, starting in Del Mar, walking through La Jolla, and ending up in Mission Bay where our camp was. It took 10 hours to get there because of the amount of people trying to get to the same place and all the pit stops were crowded. We were so thankful to see that our tents had been set up by "tent angels" and we were able to just go take a hot shower. The showers were set up in the back of these big semi-truck type things with about six stalls in each truck. Amazingly well organized and I was able to get in and out quickly. We had a spaghetti dinner and were ready for bed around 8:30.

Day 2, we walked all around the Mission Bay area. Beautiful sites all along the way and much of the time was with an ocean view. The weather could not have been more beautiful either. Not too hot, but the sun shining enough to feel great against my skin.
Throughout the walk there were cheering stations set up where people were dressed up in crazy outfits, handing out candy, stickers, or even some tequila shots (yes, I seized the moment and had a shot). The whole time you were made to feel like a hero and I teared up a little each time people cheered, and especially when seeing people wearing signs saying "thank you for walking for me". We were able to make it back to camp around 3:30 the 2nd day, as I checked out the beginnings of blisters on my heels and my pinky toe. Nothing major, but enough for me to not want to put my shoes on for a while. So instead I showered, put on my slippers, ate dinner, and then danced the night away (of course). I had some encouragement from teammates, as I really could have just gone to sleep and not even had dinner. But the dancing felt good and was super fun!

Day 3 was our shortest day, 14.3 miles according to the route map, but we all counted each of our trips around camp and we figured that we must have at least done another couple of miles to make it closer to the actual 60 miles we were proclaiming to have walked. We walked from camp, through Old Town San Diego, ending up at Petco Park. We finished up around 1:30 and hung out in a Sports bar with all the crazy football fans. Garrett met up with us there and everyone on the team cheered for him when he walked because he was the representative from home. All of the other husbands were back at home taking care of their kids. We were told it would be a lot of standing around and waiting, so not the most fun place for the boys to come and that's why just Garrett came down. Closing ceremonies were amazing, emotional, and inspiring. We all took off a shoe and raised in the air as the survivor walkers came in to the ceremonies. I cried as we walked in as we walked past a woman who's hair was just growing back and she was saying thank you to all of us for walking.

Even though I was tired from all the walking and standing around during the weekend, I kept thinking of all that these women (and men) have gone through during their fight with cancer. I continued to think of my mom and how just a little over a year before she had her lump removed and how thankful I was to be able to do this for her. And even though it was hard raising all of my funds, I was so thankful that I was able to have my teammates to help me with fundraising. So, when they asked me on our last night at camp if I was going to do it again.......I just had to say YES!

P.S. As a team we raised $20, 607 and in all the San Diego 3-day walk raised
approximately $9.5 million


Garrett said...

One of the greatest things I have ever seen...and I wasn't even part of the walk!

Anonymous said...

Mom says:
Oh, Tasha. I cried as I read your account of the walk. What a wonderful experience. And how thankful I am to have a daughter like you.
Love, Mom

dole2obama said...

Great job Tasha! Dancing, tequila shots, thousands of women, and ending it by hanging out in a sports bar? Where do I sign up? Hahaha! But seriously, I am very proud of you and you did an excellent blog on your experience. I can't wait to see what is next for you and I am very proud to have you as my sister-in-law!

Paula said...

Thank you for sharing all of those pictures...very moving to me, Tasha! You always put your feelings into words so well and I loved how you described everything. You know how proud we all are of you and your mother probably is the proudest!
Hugs, Paula

Serenity NOW said...

Oh my gosh Tasha what a beautiful post on your incredible experience doing the breast cancer walk. I was choked up reading your story. I can only imagine how you felt when you saw breast cancer survivors thanking you for walking for them. Such an amazing cause that you all worked so hard for. The world is a better place with people like YOU in it.

Love you, Susan & Dennis

P.S. Loved all your pictures.

Sandy said...

Tasha, I too cried when I read your beautiful account of your incredible experience. You are an amazing person and we are blessed to have you in our family. We loved the pictures.
Love, Sandy and Joe

namie said...

Terrific and I am so proud of you.
Love, Namie

Grandma Dee said...

Oh, Tasha, I can't believe how wonderful this post is. I am just sobbing now. What an incredible experience. You write so movingly that I feel like I was there with you as you experienced everything. I was there with you in prayer, though. So very proud of you for all the training and generosity of time, money and sacrifice. What a loving tribute to your mom and all those who have had breast cancer. Thanks, too, for wearing the ribbons of my friends' names. That means alot.

December is always a mixed feelings month for me. I love the season as much as my mother did. But, it is also the same month she passed away, and I still miss her so. She loved baking, shopping, decorating, cooking and everything that goes along with Christmas. My Christmas party is something she would have loved attending. And I know that she would have been so proud of what you did on behalf of your mother. My mom and yours would have been fast friends.

I love how sweet, funny, disciplined and loving you are. The Riley clan is blessed.
Love you lots,