(At the end of the Avon Breast Cancer Walk)
Lena, one of the walkers, said it’s like childbirth: You don’t think about getting pregnant again while you’re in labor. Crazy, right? But after the baby is born …
There were a few (translate ‘many’) moments when you think – what was in my drink when I signed on the dotted line? We were BEAT after the 39 miles! And then they invited us to the grandstand area – 2000+ of us. Hand-in-hand we came in front of the stage – walkers, survivors, crew and there we stood with fluid emotions. Staff member passing out Kleenex® tissues. And all of a sudden you get it! You get why you’re there. You remember the people who lost the battle. You celebrate those who are STILL fighting cancer. And you understand this is war.
Throughout the weekend breasts abound. Breasts are the name of the game – pictures, drawings, paper mache models… “Save a life: Grope your wife” says one sign held up in the cheering section. “Men who walk are more support than your bra!” says another. There are ta-ta vans, and booby patrol cars. You might even wonder, is anyone taking breast cancer seriously? Well, yeah…
32 years I’ve been a priest. I’ve sat on too many hospital beds with patients and families trying to get through this evil called cancer. Some battles you lose, some you win. The loss/win isn’t about life. Sure that’s the measurable commodity. But the real wins are when people get together – they cry, they hold hands, bow their head a bit and realize life isn’t defined by evil but by the power of love – the power of people coming together. And that’s what we all felt at the closing ceremony yesterday.
We did it. We raised $4.6 million. They announced the recipients of the grants – research teams, treatment centers, hospitals and organizations. I lost it when they presented $125,000 to Project Angel Food – angels who will provide over 56,000 meals to cancer patients in treatment! Yup, it all starts making sense as you look over to the bald chemo woman next to you and you remember your sister who made it through two bouts, swinging and beating the crap out of the disease. And suddenly you figure out what was in your drink and you’re ready to sign on the line for next year. The cancer walk is a commitment. It’s another battle in the war. Sure, sign me up.
Thanks EVERYONE – for your support. Your prayers, donations, words of encouragement, “LIKE”s and thumbs up got me/us through this walk. I love you all. Thanks for making sure evil can never win.