Dear lovely readers,
In 1993 I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease. I had woken up one morning without the ability to walk, and a series of misdiagnosis happened for months as my condition deteriorated, until the Lyme diagnosis was reached. It took a long time to get me back on my feet as I struggled through a few hours of school daily when able, and spent most of my time alone in bed when not. My freshmen year of college I started getting sick again, resulting in daily injections to again defeat Lyme my sophomore year. Late into 2007 I started going downhill again, resulting in yet another year of dropped work as I remained largely home bound, letting my body heal. The past year or so I’ve again been playing with another – albeit gentler – system of symptoms and forms of healing.
Throughout the rollercoaster that has been living with Lyme and its effects, I’ve learned so much about my body, my spirit, and the world around us. While I do sometimes wish life were a little easier and my body a little less strained, I am thankful for the ways in which it’s shaped me.
After college and my second bout of Lyme I moved to New York City with a lot of energy and a want to give thanks for my rebounded health by doing something hard for a good cause. With weakened knees from arthritis, running a marathon was out of the question. Then I found a flier in a coffee shop for the Susan G. Komen 3-day, a 60-mile walk where each participant had to raise a minimum of $2,200 and train heavily to walk 60 miles over the course of 3 days, benefiting breast cancer research and community outreach.
I walked across bridges, around the Central Park reservoir, up and down the East and Hudson rivers, and all over my new beloved city. I made every step of those 60 miles through New York’s five boroughs and into New Jersey, limping a bit but feeling so thankful and fulfilled. As my mother pulled me into her arms at the closing ceremony, in tears for the friends she’s loved and lost to breast cancer, I promised to walk in every city the Komen foundation organizes.
That was in 2004. Over the past ten years I’ve walked in Boston, Philadelphia, Tampa, San Diego, Atlanta, Dallas, Phoenix, Detroit and the Twin Cities, with various family members and friends under the banner Team Walking for Udders. We’ve each raised the now $2,300 to participate in each walk, as well as privately funded our own travel to get to and stay in each city, totaling over $50,000 in donations.
This September, I’ll be taking thousands of steps for a very important milestone, as I celebrate my 11th and final 3-day walk in Seattle.
Every year is special, and unique, and overwhelmingly beautiful. Over the three days we walk with strangers who become friends, who share stories of how they’ve been affected by breast cancer and why they’re walking. I walked with a young woman who had lost both grandmothers, her mother, and several aunts from breast cancer, and was considering preventative measures under recommendation from her doctors. She walked in every city in one year – 60 miles each weekend for the cause. In Tampa, which I walked in alone, I was about to pass a woman who was walking solo and rather slow, when I decided to slow down and chat her up. After about 15 minutes of small talk she confided that she was walking for her sister Barbara, who was in her final days of her relationship with breast cancer; she died that evening, around the time we walked over our 40-mile line to end our second day. We walked the final 20 miles together, and it lifted my heart to see so many other walkers stop and embrace this woman, who continued her mission to walk in honor of the sister she had so recently lost.
There are so many beautiful stories shared in these three days.
So, first, I invite you to join me in Seattle in September. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to participate in such an event, you’re more than welcome to join Team Walking for Udders. We’re an enthusiastic and gentle bunch, and together we make sure all team members meet their financial obligations and stay safe training and while on the walk. Check out our Blog for information on all our ten walks and our Team Page to join!
Secondly, I invite you to donate to our team and help us make our minimums.
It’s not exactly easy raising $2,300, especially with so many members in the same family with the same contacts, and doing the same event year after year. We appreciate every single donation, no matter the size. We do our best to keep up with our sponsors through our site and with old-school emails and mailed cards. Thank you for anything you can donate to help my team along.
To sweeten the deal, I’m offering a little treat system for those who donate!
- For those who donate $5-$50: You’ll have my unconditional love and thanks… and I’ll keep you posted with our progress and success!
- For those who donate $50 – $200: I’ll bake and deliver cookies to a local cancer center. This will be done in August, when my donations have to be in, and so with your support there can be so many sweet things sent to those going through treatment and those helping them. And I’ll send you a picture and note of where your thoughtfulness landed!
- For those who donate $200 – $500: I’ll include you in the numbers for the cookies sent to a local cancer AND I’ll send YOU 3-dozen assorted sweets and a WHOLE LOTTA LOVE!
- For any angels who have the cash and ability to donate over $500: I’ll send you two dozen homemade cookies every month for SIX MONTHS before the event! You can even send over requests, because I love to make people’s favorite things!
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
And for more information on our past walks, head to WalkingForUdders.wordpress.com!