i will walk 39 miles.

Posted on Jun 1, 2012 in Fitness

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.

24 Comments

  1. Best of luck! You are going to have such an amazing experience.

    I, too, feel like I do very little that is important. I would like to do more but struggle with how I could have the most impact.

  2. The ribbons are a great idea! Do all you can to be tender to that injury today–maybe ice up, advil up?–so that it will be quiet this weekend. I’ll be cheering from you. I may even have to break my weekend rule and hang out on Twitter for your updates! You’re gonna do great!

  3. Oh man, I have the SAME injury in my left achilles tendon right now, too, which is hindering me from running :(. Hopefully it doesn’t act up on you during your walk tomorrow and Sunday! You can totally do it.

    I also really love your shoes. I want my next pair of running shoes to be a fun color like that!

    My work does a bi-yearly volunteering event, one in the spring and one in the fall. Last year I raked rocks out of grass at one of the state parks, and cleaned classrooms at a local school. In a few weeks, I’ll be painting over graffiti somewhere downtown. I’m glad my work is great with volunteering days!

    You will rock it this weekend!

  4. You can do it! I’m so incredibly impressed by your commitment and desire to do this — I know what you mean about needing to do “important work.” Sometimes I’m just a musician, and it doesn’t feel important at all. But then there are times when I get to do concerts for things like the Child Cancer Fund, and it feels like I’m actually using my ability for something that matters.

    I’ll be watching twitter all weekend, cheering you on! (And a Cass-sized space on the planet is a pretty awesome space. Never forget that!)

  5. So cool to see my name in that huge stack of ribbons!! Makes me feel like a part of this really amazing thing that you’re doing. Have fun, take care of yourself, and ENJOY the experience. Good luck!

  6. Best of Luck to you! You are going to be amazing and I’m sure you will feel so proud afterwards.

  7. Yay! I can’t wait to read the update of your walk this weekend. I might go check to see if they have any virtual walker trackers. I know you’ll do great. It’s such a wonderful cause.

    I was looking through your past posts since this one reminded me…. did you ever do the giveaway for the second round of items for the walk fundraiser?

    • Sure did! I just contacted the winners directly instead of making a post about it. :)

  8. This will be an amazing experience! Don’t be nervous about the walk. When you are tired and aching the crowd or other walkers will carry you through. On my first 3 day experience, I was half way through the 3rd day and I started to think I could not go any further. At that point a boy about 6 stepped into my path and hugged me. He had lost his mom to breast cancer and he hugged me and said thank you. I cryed for a while but the rest of the walk was easy. He was the one with a tough road ahead, my journey was almost over and walking didn’t seem so tough any more.

    Good luck!

    • Oh my gosh! That made me cry just reading it! What amazing motivation to keep walking!

  9. A $1,000 donation!!! That made me a little teary. After all the crap we hear on the news, there ARE amazing people in this world! Best of luck on the walk. Hope you have an awesome weekend!

  10. Go you Cassie! Very proud of you and looking forward to seeing your pictures and hearing your recap! <3

  11. This is amazing. You will do great. I look forward to read about your experience.

  12. Best of luck to you tomorrow. You’re going to rock it out! :-D

  13. Great job on the fundraising and good luck on your walk! It’s funny how insurance (mine at least) will pay for a mammogram but not any follow up ultrasound for suspicious spots. I have been putting it off because it is $369.00 to do! You’d think they would call that preventative! Thanks for helping women to take care of this important issue!

  14. Good Luck Cass!! I can’t make it to Chi-Town but I’ll be cheering from my town!

  15. I did not know you were writing down everyone’s name, wow, that’s amazing! I glad I was able to help your sister out: )

    Good luck to you and your sisters!

    I haven’t done any important work yet, but I am itching to find something. I did volunteer for the first time at a Eco-Friendly green festival, which was real great: )

  16. Cassie –

    Just started reading and cooking from your blog, and I’m in love – with the way you write, your outlook on food and health and your recipes. The baked pizza rolls were a hit at my friend’s bachelorette party!

    Thank you for walking. Early detection saves lives and a year ago it saved my mom!

  17. I completely understand the wonderful feeling you’re getting right now by knowing you are doing something to save lives. A couple months ago I received a phone call asking me to donate peripheral blood cells through the Bone Marrow Donor Program. I of course said yes and started the process by having my blood drawn many many times to test for tissue compatibility and diseases. I received the first injection to boost my blood cell count when I got the call cancelling the procedure because the infant was too ill for her procedure. I was devastated for her and her family, having my own 2 yr old I couldn’t imagine what they were going through. After the weekend I was called and told they needed me to come donate bone Marrow immediately, which I did. After surgery I was very sore for a couple days but I knew it was worth it. Earlier this month I was contacted again but this time for white blood cells. I donated the say before I left Dallas for Charlotte, N.C. That experience was much worse than the Bone Marrow donation because my body did not react very well to the anti-clotting meds they were putting into my blood as it filtered through the machine. I did talk to the blood techs there and the told me about how so many people save lives every day by coming in to donate blood, whole blood, and plasma.

    I am glad to report that the infant is doing very well and nearly all of my marrow has taken over her diseased marrow. Everyone should sign up for the Bone Marrow Donor Program. They swab your cheek and if you are a match, which is actually very very rare, you can decide whether or not to donate at that time. Or go donate blood, whole blood or plasma, in some places you can even be paid for your plasma donations! Just because you can see the face you’re saving it doesn’t mean what you’re doing isn’t important or meaningful.

  18. Best of luck! It’s amazing what you are doing, keep your head up, and just think of all the people you are helping.

  19. Cassie,

    Just a comment to let you know I am thinking about you and your sisters today. I know you all are rocking those miles and you all should feel very proud of what you have accomplished.

    I too walk for the cause. My walk is in November, and I am in week 2 of 26 of my training. I am getting so excited!

    I am off to check out your tweets and instagrams :)

  20. Gearing up here in Rainy River for our annual Relay for Life Cancer Walk.Our Red Hatters are walking again this year as “Team Canada” Its a long night but we have a lot of fun and raise a fair amount of money for the Canadian Cancer Society. Best of luck this weekend.

  21. I just found your blog and really like what you have to say – congrats on your accomplishments!

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