Monday, November 13, 2006

"Thank You For Your Support" -Bethany

Have you ever wondered what walking in a sea of pink would be like? Or how many times you would laugh at breast puns? Or even if it is possible to walk 20 miles, sleep in a tent and then wake up to do it all over again?

It is. And let me tell you, it is amazing.

My participation in the Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk in San Diego November 10-12 began on a January evening when my friend Amy said she had signed up and would be walking for her mom. My mind went to those I loved who had fought breast cancer and won and a few who had lost their battle: specifically my godmother Susan Armstrong who I loved so very deeply as well as my father’s mother who also put up quite the fight when cancer hit her body. “I don’t want to rust out, I want to wear out.” I was in.

That is when I started bugging all of you for money. I also started training-walking weekly with my friend and wondering if the 3-Day was going to live up to all it’s hype.

As I gathered supplies and my support came in, I was amazed by the number of you who accompanied your donation with a note telling me of the people you knew who had battled breast cancer. It is hard to find someone who has not been directly affected by this disease! It encouraged me to know how many of you believed in me enough to put up your own money to get me to the starting line.

The 3 days of walking are ones I will never forget. They will be with me forever for so many reasons. I had moments of strength as I faced the largest hills I have ever had to physically climb and MADE IT! I crumbled at times under the pain of twisted ankles and tired lungs. But I flourished when I had day after day of victory of returning to camp on Day One and Two and then crossing the finish line on Day Three.

The conversation between walkers was often the same. We talked about if it was our first or fifth 3-Day walk, if we were from out of town and then, finally, who it was we were walking in honor or remembrance of. It was hard to listen to the stories sometimes but always inspiring because all of us sitting at the breakfast table or waiting in line for the showers knew we were DOING something. Not letting something happen to us or those we love.

On Day Three, we were walking the streets of Hillcrest. Passing posh shops and shaking hands with people who were happy to see us there. At a stoplight while we waited for a “walk” sign, a city bus pulled over and the (big and burly) driver jumped out. He approached one of the walkers, said something her and then gave her a big bear hug. I caught up with her to find out what happened. She told me that he said his mother died from breast cancer just the month before and he said “Thank you for walking for her.” He was quickly back in his driver’s seat and a buzz among the walkers passed as we all shared the story with the people we were standing near. I looked back and saw this man wiping the tears from his eyes.

As I continued walking, I realized that I wanted to change my answer to the question, “Who are you walking for?” I realized that I signed up for this walk and raised the money in honor of my grandmother and my godmother. But I took each step, I walked 60 miles for people like that bus driver. To let them know their loved ones are not forgotten and will not be forgotten. To give them hope that we may live in a world without cancer. That I will never have to worry about my daughter, my son’s wife or their children suffering from the effects of cancer.

So it is on behalf of the bus driver that I send you this thank you letter. It is on behalf of my friend Amy’s mom who is a survivor and on behalf of the friends I have who have survived because of the money raised in walks like these. I thank you on behalf of the children of America who will have their moms, grandmothers and aunts with them longer because of the research your very dollars will help to advance.

I also thank you, on a more personal level, for the personal journey I was able to go on through this walk. I have emerged with a stronger love for myself and an admiration for what one person can do. I appreciate all of my friends and family more and feel such a love from all of you that I could never fully express it. So please read this letter between the lines. Read my appreciation and know that I hold all of you in a class of those who think above and beyond your own worlds. That you could see how-no matter the amount-your money and time spent praying went to serve the greater good of this world.

On the final day, all the walkers walked a Victory Walk and passed all our friends and family cheering us. It was hard not to cry when I saw my friends, my husband, I even grabbed Lucy and kept her with me. I didn’t want to let her go. We walked into a cul-de-sac and that is when they released the Survivors. Those that had walked both the 3-Day and the journey of Breast Cancer marched down the street, hand in hand. When they all gathered, I saw the other walkers all taking one shoe off and lifting it up. We all took a shoe off and lifted it high as a salute to those who were so brave and so heroic.


And today, I lift my shoe to you.
Thank you.

Bethany Zabrosky

3 comments:

  1. You were thought of and prayed for often around the WhiteHouse this weekend. Thanks for the pictures and details. I feel like I was really there cheering you on! I really do.

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  2. This is just plain awesome. Good job, Miss Thany. This is just wonderfully inspirational to me.

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  3. WTG! I did the 3 day in Philly this year and it was so great. I have a whole blog dedicated to it at http://www.3daymom.com

    And I'm doing it in 2007!

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