What a day!
HF and I were up by 5:45am to get to the Mall of America for the 2010 Susan G. Komen Twin Cities Race for the Cure (the 18th anniversary of the event). The 5K Walk wasn’t until 9:00am, but there was plenty to keep us busy until then. There was the aerobic warm-up led by Minnesota Vikings cheerleaders at 7:00am. There were numerous tents and booths, giving out everything from information to keychains to ribbon-shaped bagels to Yoplait yogurt. And we had to park so far out that by the time we walked all the swag out to the car to drop it off, walked back, walked around inside the Mall some, we figure we added another 5 miles to the “official” 3.1 miles of the Walk.
But what a fantastic event! The crowd numbered more than 50,000 participants, making us the second largest Walk in the country! The atmosphere was wonderful, full of hope and promise that we’ll someday find a cure for breast cancer. All around you was a sea of pink. And everywhere you looked, signs and banners and t-shirts, from the serious yet joyful – “In celebration of: My mom/aunt”, “In memory of: My wife/sister” – to the offbeat – “Save the hooters!”, “In celebration of: Boobs!”
In addition to the 5K Walk in which we participated, there was a kids walk the previous afternoon, a 5K bike/wheelchair race, a 5K run, and a 1K walk (inside the Mall). Next year, we run!
Moon and Staci from the KS95 radio station kicked off the 5K Walk, and Staci – herself a breast cancer survivor – kept videoing us with her iPhone. See if you can spot me! They had us do The Wave and reported it looking quite impressive from their perch above us as it traveled back through the crowd, but that video is apparently not up yet. If it gets posted, I’ll pass on the link.
When the Walk started, HF and I were fairly near the start, and we kept up a fast pace throughout the 5K, trying to get as close to the front as possible before the finish line. (The Walk wasn’t timed; we’re just competitive.) But no matter how many people we passed, there were always more in front of us. Still, doing this enabled
us to see a fascinating cross-section of Walkers. Couples holding hands as they strolled. Babies and toddlers being pushed in strollers. People with all manner of adornments to their outfits, from balloons stuck to their hats to a woman in a pink crown. But my absolute favorite were the firefighters – Walking, in full gear (helmets, tanks, and all), with registration numbers taped to the tanks on their backs.
All along the route, there were people cheering us on, from actual cheerleaders (both Vikings and what looked like high school kids) to an energetic drum corps, a garage band outside the fire station, and a local church group. The energy and support was simply amazing.
And all this was well worth the effort. Komen Twin Cities reports we’ve thus far raised nearly $2.5 million this year. 75% of all money raised by this event stays here in Minnesota to educate, provide access to mammograms for all women, and fund research (among other things). And donations are still being accepted, through May 22! So if you’d like to throw 5 (or more) congratulatory dollars my way, you can do so here. And again, a HUGE “Thank you!” to everyone who’s donated so far, getting me to 66% of the modest goal I set myself when I registered to Walk only two weeks ago!
Highlights of the day:
- Thousands of men dressed in pink
- A shirt reading, “Don’t let cancer steal second base!”
- SWAG! (HF and I each had two of the utterly delicious ribbon-shaped bagels on offer from Panera Bread.)
- Staci reading, “The Titty Committee” off a Walker’s sign, then giggling that she’d “said that in public.”
- The firefighters
- Being thanked for walking whilst we were out running errands in the afternoon, still wearing our Race for the Cure t-shirts.
My full Flickr album from the day is here. I hope you enjoy. I’ve been meaning to participate in one of these Races for the Cure – was even training to run the 5K in San Diego last November, until the move to Minnesota intervened – ever since my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer back in 2001. She is now an 8-year survivor and still going strong. I’m so glad I finally participated and am already looking forward to next year! Keep an eye on this space as HF and I brainstorm new and fascinating fundraising ideas (hint: one of our errands yesterday was a stop by the yarn store).
Oh, and to link this all back to Mental Health Awareness Month!
- Firstly, participating in the Walk fulfilled several of my basic needs: the need for purpose, goals, and meaning; the need for a sense of community and making a contribution; and the need for challenge! And, probably, also the need to take heed of the mind/body connection, what with exercise being so beneficial for our mental as well as physical health.
- Secondly, there’s a piece on using hypnosis with breast cancer and breast surgery here.