It seems like just yesterday I was announcing to you guys my next big thing. My two sisters and I signed up for the Chicago Avon Walk for Breast Cancer early in the year and pledged to walk 39.3 miles through the streets of Chicago and raise money to go to research for a cure and to fund preventative care for underprivileged, high-risk men and women.
And now, here we are, June 1st. Tomorrow, I’m going to walk 26.2 miles. And then on Sunday, I’m going to get up and do 13.1.
It’s been a really amazing ride. I have to be honest, I constantly struggle with a desire to do important work. While I enjoy what I do (graphic design, in case you didn’t know) and am pretty talented, I’ve always craved doing something that gives back. I do work in non-profit and do a lot of pro-bono work, which helps me sleep at night, but at the end of the day, I’m still just designing websites. One of my catch phrases at work whenever someone gets upset about something relatively asinine is, “They are just websites. It’s not like we’re curing cancer here.” And it’s how I’ve always truly felt. I know that might sound like I’m putting down my profession, I’m not. I’m just realistic that picking out the colors on a website is not nearly as important to the strength of our society as the work some other folks are doing.
But participating in this event, raising this money, learning where it’s going, seeing the difference—it’s really made me feel valued. I feel like I’m doing more than just taking up a Cass-sized space on the planet. It’s incredibly empowering to feel like you’ve actually made a difference. Especially for a cause that is so personal.
We absolutely could not have hit our fundraising goals without the help of our raffle sponsors, Anytime Fitness, Chobani, and Bob’s Red Mill. So a huge, giant, mega thank you to those kickass companies. Go buy from them, they are good people.
And also thank you to the 200+ of you that donated to our team. Thank you to the person who donated $3 (one dollar for each of the three sisters) and thank you to the person who donated $1000 and thank you to every person who donated something in between. Every single dollar mattered and even more than the final dollar amount, my heart is warmed by the sheer number of individual donors our team had. You are all amazing. I am so proud of what we have accomplished here.
Ready for the final total? We raised…
With that kind of cash, the Avon Foundation can fund 59 mammograms for women without health insurance or with inadequate health insurance. Or pay for four MRIs or biopsies for a woman who couldn’t otherwise afford it. Or fund the Y-ME Breast Cancer Support Hotline. Or help fund research at Indiana University Health to identify risk factors that can help in early detection. Or help fund the Helping Her Live program, an initiative in Chicago to help educate and prevent breast cancer deaths among black, Latina and low-income women who may not have otherwise had access to education, preventative care or disease treatment.
Amazing, right? We are literally saving lives. Such a cool freaking feeling.
As promised, each and every one of my donors (and anyone who donated to the second raffle on behalf of my sister, as well) will be with me each and every step of the way. This week, I’ve been working on writing everyone’s name down on a pretty ribbon (one of the reasons I’ve been M.I.A. from posting here). These ribbons will be attached to by hydration belt this weekend.
I have to be honest, I’m a little nervous about the actual walking part of the weekend. My training topped out at 20 miles and that walk went pretty flawlessly, so really, I have nothing to worry about. But there is something incredibly intimidating about that massively high number of miles. I’ve also been having a little bit of pain in my left Achilles tendon. Not a ton, but any injury can become severe when you multiply it times 39.3 miles. I know there is no shame in not completing the whole walk (after all, the fundraising was the main goal) but I really, really, really want to finish both days. I desperately want a picture with that 26.2 mile sign on Day 1. It might be my only chance to complete a marathon, and I want it. Plus, every time I find myself struggling, I just need to remember that this is nothing compared to the emotional and physical pain that people fighting cancer go through. I need to be strong for them.
Thankfully, the weather is supposed to be pretty much perfect (highs in the 70s, mostly sunny) and there will be a lot of support along the way. My parents are driving us up and cheering us on along the way, and I’ve heard the crew members and volunteers are absolutely the best in the business. If you find yourself in Chicago tomorrow and Sunday with nothing better to do, feel free to stop by one of the cheering stations and cheer on the walkers! We can use every bit of support we can get.
If you can’t make it to Chicago, I’ll be Tweeting and Instagramming all weekend, so feel free to check in on me there. And of course, I’ll post a recap of all the festivities next week when we get back.
See you on the flip side.
What do you do that is important work?
P.S. There is still time to donate! We’ll be accepting donations throughout the weekend. I’d love to see some donation e-mails come through while I’m on the walk! Donate now.