When I was in college, I joined Zeta Tau Alpha. Our national philanthropy is Breast Cancer Awareness. Throughout my college years, I volunteered at many Race for the Cure events, as well as Think Pink! Basketball and Football events at school. I supported the cause, loved the pink ribbon gear, but was never touched by breast cancer, until November 2007, when my mom was diagnosed with it.
She had a lumpectomy, completed radiation the week before my wedding, and began chemo right after Christmas last year. She was a trooper, and beat the cancer! Thankfully there were many women before her, as well as organizations like Zeta, who have supported awareness and raised money for research.
My mom has always enjoyed walking as a form of exercise, and decided that her way to pay it forward was to do the Avon 40 Mile Breast Cancer Walk in Charlotte, NC. She was drawn to this event because it's not a race, it's an event to raise awareness, with most of the money going to research in the city where the event is held (there are about 10 nationwide).
She raised around $9,000! About 1,300 people participated, raising over 2.5 million dollars!
The event was held on a Saturday and a Sunday, with 26 miles the first day and 13 the second. It's not like a race where the roads are closed off, it begins in downtown and winds through the suburbs of Charlotte. There are designated cheering sections every 2 miles or so, where there are rest stops or quick stops with drinks, snacks, toilets, and first aid.
It was extremely well organized, and so much fun!
There were not many spectators because it's on open roads, but I followed Mom and her friend Cindy as they walked from stop to stop. It rained Saturday, so my mom had me wait at mile 13 with dry shoes and socks for her... but not many people had that option as they didn't bring cheerleaders!
I also was lucky to have 3 of my wonderful sorority sisters join me at one of the stops to cheer for mom!
Overall, it was a long, tiring, but AMAZING weekend, full of great stories, inspiration, and awareness. All of the women my age are very lucky to have the women a decade or two ahead of them working so hard to find a cure so we don't have to face this awful disease.
I highly recommend checking into any race that supports a cause, not only is it good for your body, but it's good for your spirit, and that's exactly what a truly healthy lifestyle is about!
Thanks, Mom :) I'm proud of you!