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SIDELINES: Komen 3-Day much more than a walk
I couldn’t be prouder of my wife. Obviously, I’m always proud of her. But this time I’m “really” proud of her.
Last weekend, she took part in her first Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure walk in Seattle. As one of 2,400 walkers in the 60-mile walk around Seattle, Bellevue and Redmond, my wife, Kimberly, helped raise an astonishing $5.4 million for breast cancer research.
Participants walk 20 miles a day. Each night of the event, a mobile city supplied sleeping tents and semi trailers that included warm showers, among other things. Organizers also fed the walkers and provided 24-hour medical services.
Not exactly two nights at the Ritz-Carlton, right? Which was something that kind of worried me because my wife isn’t exactly the camping type.
But even staying in a tent for two nights wasn’t going to stop her, and neither was the amount of money she had to raise.
To even participate in the 3-Day, women and some men committed to raise at least $2,300 each. That must be done before they even take a step, which is a big deal.
There are plenty of people out there who can flap their gums about “making a difference” but don’t follow through when push comes to shove. My wife, along with her friend Kim Hurn, backed up their talk and actually did something about finding a cure for breast cancer.
That says something, in my book.
Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer (1.4 million women a year) and is the leading cause of cancer deaths among women worldwide. More than 458,000 people worldwide die from the disease each year.
I was lucky enough to welcome my wife back from her three-day trek Sunday afternoon inside Memorial Stadium at the Seattle Center with our kids. But I wasn’t expecting what happened when the 2,400 people, including Kimberly, made their way down the tunnel and into the stadium.
That’s when the real meaning of the 3-Day for the Cure hit me like a ton of bricks. The emotion of seeing all those people come together with the singular goal of curing breast cancer broke me down.
As I was standing there holding our 2-year-old daughter, tears started welling up in my eyes. I thought about Whitney. I thought about my grandma, who battled and won her bout with breast cancer when I was a little boy.
It was powerful stuff. Very powerful.
“I walked because I can’t personally cure cancer, but we all know someone who has had it, beaten it, been diagnosed with it or passed away because of it,” my wife told me. “It meant so much to me to walk this year. It is amazing how many people are affected by breast cancer. I hope my walking and raising money allows researchers to get one step closer to finding a cure so my daughters can have a lifetime.”
Following the emotion of watching the walkers enter the stadium, I finally got to see Kimberly after three days away. But I hardly recognized her. She looked like she had just played in a hard-hitting Pittsburgh Steelers-Baltimore Ravens game.
She was limping like she had a pair of torn ACLs. Her ankles and shins had more tape on them than a 45-year-old Brett Favre. And being the super supportive husband that I am, the moment I saw this zombie walking toward me, I started to laugh. Which probably wasn’t the smart thing to do.
I’ll admit, I was a little skeptical when my wife told me she was going to have to start “training” for the 3-Day walk. I thought (to myself) that it’s really not that big of a deal to “walk” for a few hours for three consecutive days, is it?
For some reason, training for a walk made me think about Lance Armstrong and those people who try to convince me that he is the best athlete on the planet. But, in my book, there’s no way Armstrong is even in that conversation.
He rides a bike, which is something I taught my kids to do when they were 5 years old. What would be funny is seeing Armstrong attempt to hit a 95 mph fastball, stop Kobe Bryant from dunking on his head or make a tackle on a runaway Barry Sanders.
No amount of tight Spandex shorts or yellow jerseys are going to help Armstrong in one of those situations. There’s no doubt that he is probably the best exerciser in the history of the world. But athlete? Not in my book.
Back to my wife. Heck, I’ve witnessed Kimberly speed walk 50 miles one Saturday afternoon around the SuperMall. That was the first and last time I even attempted to go shopping with her. Obviously, that happened while we were dating when I was still trying to impress her. Now that we’re married, I just let her shop by herself.
That trip is also when I realized why malls strategically place benches all over. It’s not for aesthetics. It’s a place for pooped boyfriends and husbands to catch their breath.
But her training and mall walking exploits didn’t prepare her for getting that first case of shin splints, which put her on the shelf for a couple of days.
But even she will tell you that the pain in her legs was well worth it. She made a difference.
To donate to the Susan G. Komen For the Cure Foundation, go to komen.org and follow the prompts. It does make a difference.