This past week, September 5-7, I participate in the Weekend to End Breast Cancer benefiting the Princess Margaret Hospital for the second year in a row. My team, the Marching Mammys, was made up of some extraordinary women. I walked with my mother and mother-in-law, both celebrating 5 years cancer free, Amy and Becki (my sister-in-laws), and BonnieLee (a dear friend of our family who has experienced the effects of breast cancer in her family).
Our weekend began Friday night when we met up at a Days Inn in Toronto. We then headed over to the Direct Energy Centre to sign in, get our tent assignments and do all the admin work. We even got cool airbrush tattoos and some of us bought some WEBC paraphenalia.
After registration was complete, we headed to an Irish Pub to have some din din. We then headed back to the hotel where we painted our shirts to wear on Sunday and head to bed.
Saturday morning ... up at 5 a.m. and in a cab by 5:30. The morning started out rainy but after about 2 1/2 hours of walking, it began to clear up. The rain was very light so the drizzle didn't bother us much.
Part way through the day, Suzy Q had a lovely surprise when three of her dear friends and co-workers were waiting at a cheering station with signs and posters and lots of noise to cheer her on! What a great encouragement to have such support.
We finished Day One (~35 km) around 4:30 p.m. We then headed to our tents to get our beds set up. We all enjoyed a lovely hot shower and then headed to dinner. Yummy food!!
After dinner, a few of us did some yoga and then headed to the dance. It seems crazy to dance after walking 35 km straight but honestly, it's the best thing for you. It really helps you to loosen up and move different muscles.
After the dance, at around 9 pm, we all headed to bed. I slept like a log even though I was sleeping on the ground. I think when your body is that tired you have no choice but to sleep well.
Sunday morning, we were up at 6 a.m., packed up our stuff and headed off to breakfast and were on our way by 7:15. We were all feeling pretty good for most of Sunday morning but once the rain started and showed no signs of stopping, we could feel the energy dwindling. However, there was lots of encouragement along the way. Nothing like handsome Toronto firemen to keep us walking!
By about 2 p.m. on Sunday, some of us were having a hard time, but with the encouragement of our other teammates, fellow walkers, and crew, we were able to push through and keep moving. Here is a picture of us at the last rest stop with just under 3 km to go.
We stopped for a coffee during the last leg of the walk and we were able to cross the finish line just before 4 p.m.
We were met by our loved ones who were beaming with pride to see us hand in hand across the line. We then proceeded to the closing ceremonies where we were shocked to see a 96 year old woman DANCE across the finish line. Wow!!! She certainly put things in perspective for me as a 22 year old who, at times, wondered how I would finish the walk alive.
We then cheered as the crew and volunteers from the weekend joined us in the closing ceremonies and finally, and most importantly, as the survivors of the Weekend to End Breast Cancer entered the ceremony.
This event is so close to my heart, especially this year, when I walked with my two mother's, who are both 5 years cancer free. At times, when my feet were soaked and covered in blisters and my legs would hardly move, I had to remind myself that the pain I was feeling was pale in comparison to the pain felt by those who are undergoing treatment and those who have lost a loved one to the terrible disease. I can handle the sore muscles, blisters and exhaustion if it means that, in some way, I have made a difference.