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Monday, October 27, 2014

Pretty in Pink


Yesterday I did the 2014 Albuquerque Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, along with 15,000 other registered walkers, and I suspect, a good many who were not registered.

Although breast cancer has not (thank God) struck my family, this is a cause that I have supported for many years. In 2003, I completed the  3-day, 60-mile Avon Breast Cancer Walk from Santa Clara to San Francisco. Two years later, a friend and I did a 2-day, 26-mile walk. I have done the Albuquerque Making Strides walk three of the past four years, missing the walk the year my father died.

Although I was disappointed to learn that this year's walk had been reduced from the previous 5 miles to just more than 2 miles (it was advertised as a 3-mile walk), I still appreciated the opportunity to join a couple thousand people on a beautiful fall day to bring awareness, show support and raise funds.

As I waited for the walk to start, I was once again struck by the diversity of the walkers. There were fat walkers and thin ones; old and young; kids in strollers, elementary, middle and high school students, individual walkers and teams of walkers. A JROTC group handed out water and monitored the course. One man wore a shirt announcing that he was walking for his wife. A boy wore a bright pink shirt that said "Real men wear pink." A girl scout troop walked. I saw a man doing the walk on crutches, and another with a brace on each leg. One woman was in a wheelchair pushed by a family member. I saw many women wearing a pink 'survivor' sash that proclaimed their victory over this horrid disease. Walkers spanned many ethnic groups: white, black, Hispanic and Native American (I'm sure there were Asian walkers, too, although I didn't see them). This is as it should be, as breast cancer crosses all racial and ethnic lines. The most common color yesterday? PINK. There were pink T-shirts, pink tutus (including one on a Boston terrier), pink hats, pink shoes, even pink hair.

These walks are always very emotional for me. They are inspiring and they help restore my faith in a humanity that often seems to have lost its concern for others. For one morning at least, I was able to push aside the dark, painful acts that fill the news, and enjoy being part of a movement that celebrates the survivors, honors the deceased and offers hope to those fighting breast cancer. And this group raised $354,000 to help fund research, provide support to those suffering from breast cancer, and help pay for mammograms for women who can't afford them.

The Making Strides for Breast Cancer Walk is all about hope. And my hope is that some day, this walk will no longer be necessary.