When my sister Susan sent me an email and asked me if I wanted to walk the Avon Breast Cancer walk this year, my first thought was “I don’t really do walks.” I’m not hugely fond of crowds. Though I’ve done a handful of 5ks with friends and a Turkey Trot here and there, I didn’t really get it. I prefer to walk on paths untrodden alone or with one friend.
But it was a healthy thing to do all the way around: physically, mentally, spiritually. I felt like I’d be pushing myself in a way that would evolve me. With that as my core value barometer, I decided I would look into it further.
Then I found out how far we’d be walking. It’s REALLY far. We’d be crossing that Golden Gate, notoriously cold and windy. We’d walk a marathon (26.2 miles) on Day 1 and 13.1 miles on Day 2, a far cry from a 5K. We’d be getting up at the crack of dawn (5:30 a.m. start BOTH days on the weekend) and walking hills. I wondered if I could do it. I wondered why I would do it. I wasn’t sure.
Still looking for an excuse to back out, I scheduled my orientation call to find out more. That’s when I found the excuse I needed. They wanted me to raise 1,800.00 to walk. What? This made no sense. Spend money to get there, stay there, PARK there (quite possibly my highest expense), walk until my feet fall off, and grovel for funds. I abhor the idea of fundraising. I couldn’t do that.
Could I? I wasn’t sure.
And then I had an epiphany. This was not about me or my neuroses and self-doubt. This was about making a difference in the lives of thousands of people touched by breast cancer. People like Liz Maceras, my teaching assistant at Pacific Elementary who died shortly after we worked together and left behind her husband and young daughter. People like my cousin, Randy, who died a painful death, and her mother, Aunt Ruthy, a survivor. People like my former principal at Pacific, Christie, and my friend, Lisa–both survivors. This was about them, and others like them–men and women–affected every day in so many ways.
Of course I could do this! I felt ashamed of myself for my early attitude.
I began asking friends to donate and it changed me immediately. While to some degree I knew this, I learned in a very tangible way what giving, generous friends I have and it melted my heart. I learned that people really want to help when you ask. I vowed to be more like them. The idea of being in this together, where everybody plays a part, crystallized in a visceral way. It was transformative.
Now I am committed, but I need your help. Our Team Weil-ness goal is to raise $5,000 towards making a difference. We need you to make it happen. When you donate, I will write your name (and whomever you are honoring if anyone) on my shirt and take you with me on the long journey across San Francisco. Please join me in crossing this bridge.
I. Am. Grateful.