This weekend I walked 39.3 miles to end breast cancer. As many of you have read from my previous post, this has been something I have been training and fundraising for since about March. It took a lot of sweat, a lot of endurance, and a lot of gatorade to get through, but it was a weekend filled with funny sayings about breasts and breast cancer (save second base, hippies for hooters, chicas for chi-chis, boobie bandits, the list goes on…), fun people, and amazing memories and theÂ But more than that it was the love, compassion, smiles, and stories of the participants that made it worth the achy joints and blistered toes.Â Ok, I know that sounds really cheesy, but I am way serious.
When you participate in an event like the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, it’s not just a group of people deciding to do something good for others. These women and men! are STRONG. Everyone is united, tied together by a pink ribbon, so to speak. Whether they really are just in it because it’s a good cause and a fun weekend, or they are walking in memory of a loved one, by the end of the weekend, the faces of every participant, and the stories they tell are what get you through step by step.
My mom is a 17 year breast cancer survivor. There were women walking side by side with her, from 20 year survivors, to a woman who is a 2 month survivor and just had a double mastectomy last week. Â The stories are incredible.Â The whole event really moved me on so many levels, it’s hard to put it to words. But from the nursing perspective, it really put a lot of patient care into perspective. It’s one thing to hear one woman’s story when you read it in a book or a magazine. But when you hear it in her husband’s voice, or in her daughter’s tears, or see it in her smile, it becomes real. As nurses, we’re the one’s who are there (or need to be there) for these women and men and their families. Like each walker did this weekend, we need to be nurses not only to wounds and chemo treatments, but nurses to the fear and terror when those three words are uttered, “you have cancer.
We need to hold hands and stand strong, talk about options and advocate for their lives, because if we don’t we’ve failed them. I think walking this walk was different for me than in the past. I saw it from a perspective of what nurses do. Their lives are changing, and we’re the ones who can be there to make it a smooth ride. It was empowering to know that I can be a part of that ride. To know that what I do can help make a world of difference, because breast cancer is so rampant and touches so many lives. I walked 39.3 miles this weekend for my mother, a 17 year breast cancer survivor. I walked for me, so that one day I won’t have to hear those three words. I walked for nursing, to know what our patient’s journeys are truly like. And I walked for the next generation, so that they won’t have to walk.