Monday, October 11, 2010

Life-Changing Experience

Last November, I took a leap of faith and registered for the Susan G Komen 3-Day for the Cure in Washington, DC in 2010. Perhaps you gave a donation to help me reach the required $2300 fundraising goal. Perhaps you took a walk on the trail with me to help me get physically ready to take on those 60 miles. Perhaps you gave me a word of encourgement or clicked the "like" button on my various posts about the 3-Day. No matter what you did to help me in preparation for this journey, I want to say THANK YOU, and please give yourself a HUGE hug from me :) It was truly an awesome experience which I'm going to share with you now. The weekend began Friday morning at the Washington Nationals' baseball stadium which is where the opening ceremony began. When I arrived at the stadium, I couldn't believe I was actually there!!! I was excited, yet nervous about walking 60+ miles in 3-Days. YES, we walked a little more than 60 miles! I learned a "Komen mile" is not the standard 5,280ft mile!! There may have only been 1 mile until the next pit stop, but it was more like 2! HAHA!! It was all worth it, though! Of course, not everyone can walk all 60 miles. "Sweep vans" are provided for individuals who cannot make it all the way to the end of the day, and there were walkers who needed them. I'm not going to lie-there were times it was tempting. I kept telling myself that last summer, I felt like my chest was in a vice for 2 weeks, and I SURVIVED!!! With that in mind, I kept going! I even fell flat on my face ending up with scraped knees & hands and a scratch on my upper lip! I got back up, though and kept going!!!!! NOTHING HOLDS THIS GIRL DOWN!!! I just kept remembering all of the encouragement I received from everybody from the day I was diagnosed with breast cancer until the moment I crossed the finish line yesterday! Along the walk, I met so many awesome and amazing people. I was a single walker, but I certainly wasn't alone. I am a social butterfly, and as my dear friend Lisa put it when she commented on one of my statuses this weekend, "you're like me-you could talk to a fence":) I heard a lot of inspiring stories. I read a lot of inspiring t-shirts. I came up with ideas for my next 3-Day journey. YES, there is going to be another one!!! Last year, I decided to take my experience and reach out to other women who have been affected by breast cancer, and I'm not giving up until there is a 100% survival rate! With that in mind, fundraising ideas are going through my head, and this week, as I recover, I'm making phone calls to see how to go about putting something awesome together!!!! I also met people from West Virginia. As I crossed at an intersection in DC, a guy at a cheering station saw my WV hat and chanted, "Let's GOOOOOO Mountaineers!" I met a WVU fan from Buffalo-a guy named Scott whose sister is a 3 yr survivor. He noticed my hat at a pit-stop on Day 1 and I saw he had a WV hat on as well. We got a pic together that day, and at the finish line. I told him I was going to friend request him on FB so I can see our pics. I found him today and I sent the request, so hopefully, I'll hear from him soon. He's probably recovering, too! LOL! I walked with a girl who is a WVU alum and her friend on Saturday. I also met up with a WV native who, everytime she saw me, she'd say-"it's a great day to be a Mountaineer wherever you may be!" My tentmate was OK. I definitely need a partner for next year, though. While I'm on the tent subject, let me tell y'all that I've only ever went camping once and I didn't sleep outdoors in a tent! HA!! I forgot to go to Cabela's to grab some "necessities"(mini miner's light; mag light, etc). We were limited to one piece of luggage and a sleeping bag. YEAH-OK! I take 4 bags to my mom's when I go for 2 days, and I was supposed to take 1 BAG for 3 days? HA! I managed, though! ;) So I know now what to do for next year as far as the whole camping and packing part of the experience goes! :) While out on the walk, I came across some reminders of other friends. I heard "Build Me Up Buttercup" & "Boogie Shoes"-2 songs Rick K sings! :) We also did the "Y-M-C-A" at the dance party Saturday night! Day 2 was the lonnnnnnnnnngest day of the 3 days. I took advantage of the free foot massages that night!!! Oh, was it awesome!!! Internet access and cell phone chargers were available for free so we could keep in touch with the outside world. Y'all know I would've been lost without my Blackberry!! HA!HA! Day 3 went pretty fast. I have to admit, I felt a little lonely knowing my family wasn't able to come to see me at the finish line. Once I got there, I was greeted by lots of people cheering us on. I received lots of hugs as I cried tears of joy for finishing all 60 miles. After the last walker made it to the finish line, we lined up for the closing ceremony at the Washington Monument. Crew members wearing gray 3-Day t-shirts were first, followed by walkers in white t-shirts, and last, but certainly not least-us survivors in pink t-shirts. We were in our own little circle surrounded by crew, fellow walkers, and family & friends. We walked to our circle arm in arm as our fellow walkers & crew raised their sneakers to us. It was AWESOME!!! The walk concluded with 8 specially selected survivors raising the "A World Without Breast Cancer" flag, and country singer Candy Coburn singing "Pink Warrior", which was the song that kept me motivated during my fundraising and training for the last year. We danced, sang, and hugged each other. It was such an awesome feeling, and with everyone telling me via comments over the weekend that I rocked, I truly felt like a rockstar for the first time in my life knowing that I reached out to help other women affected by this disease. After Candy was through singing, the 3-Day had officially ended and on the way out, we got cupcakes from TLC's "DC Cupcakes". They were taping for an upcoming episode. I realllllly hope I don't end up on TV! HAHA!! I will say, those cupcakes are AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They're pricey, but like they say, ya get what ya pay for! After I ate my cupcake, I grabbed my gear and headed to the shuttle bus which took us back over to the Nationals' Stadium where we parked on Friday. As I headed back down to my nephew's house for the night, I was still in amazement that I finished all 60 miles. When I saw my 2 little great-nieces, I gave them big hugs and I cried tears of joy in hopes that they will live in a world without breast cancer one day. My mission for 2010 has been accomplished. Thoughts and ideas for 2011 are brewing. Look for "Mountain Mamas 4 Ta-tas"........coming soon! :) THANKS AGAIN FOR ALL OF THE LOVE, SUPPORT, AND ENCOURAGEMENT! I COULD NOT HAVE WALKED 60 MILES WITHOUT IT!!!!!!!!!! I love you guys!!!!!!!!!!!



  1. Congratulations on making it the WHOLE 60 miles, Missy! I KNEW you could do it!! I enjoyed reading your blog. It was written so well that I feel like I was there!!! God Bless You! :) --Sherri Townsend Damron--