Sunday, September 25, 2011

The 3-Day Komen walk in Seattle

Last weekend I went to Seattle to fulfill my 3-day Komen Walk with two friends, Harriet Baskas and Lisa Siegel. As I wrote earlier, we had a bunch of reasons for walking: to honor friends who had died, to celebrate those, including Lisa, who are surviving, and thriving—and to support further breast cancer research. A huge amount of progress has been made even in my lifetime, and the more support and community brings to bear on research and treatment options, the more positive outcomes there can be.

These fundraising walks are designed to be cheery, and when you add in "breast" you get acres of pink in the forms of ribbons, boas, tiaras, leggings, tutus, sneakers, and much, much more. Though I'm not much of a joiner or cheerleader, I really did enjoy the team get-ups, like this:

Of course, this kind of effort is a very personal one for many of those walking or crewing. It was common, and always touching, to see people wearing home-made signs commemorating their own loved ones: a grandma, mom, aunt, sister, best friend.

The walk took us through parts of Seattle I knew (Pioneer Square, International District) and parts I didn't know (Magnolia, swaths of Bellevue and Redmond). It was exciting to cross the I-90 bridge to Mercer Island, and to cover ground in some of the wonderful local parks. Most of all, it was great to spend time walking with friends and banter with kindred spirits along the way. The locals were great, too—cops and firefighters who volunteered their time to join or crew, friends and families who came to designated cheering stations to greet their walkers, and some, like this woman, who popped up every day on the route to offer her drumbeat. (She was great. Here she is with Harriet, who knew her.)

Besides the team outfits, there were slogans, puns, and bad jokes galore—one of the things that makes these "good cause" events so much fun. Some we spotted:

  • "The original happy meal" (on a silk screened T-shirt featuring a pink bra)
  • "Leave It to Cleavage" (team name)
  • Moms for Mams
  • Breastie Boys 
  • "Big or small, we love them all" (supportive men!)
  • "Honk if you love ta-tas"
  • Testicles for Chesticles 
  • the Half-Racks (my vote for best team name)

And there was this, surely an instant classic:

As for our metrics: Our team of 3 raised $10,175 from 112 people. Thanks to everyone who chipped in to help us reach our (required) goal and then exceed it. It's a terrific feeling to see the energy and generosity that emerge for such causes and community events. As for me, I'll look forward to further support for this and other vital causes (though I admit it: campaigns shorter than 3 days are mighty appealing) Even so, I'm very glad to have seen this one through.

Here's the Komen organization Fact Sheet ("Why We Walk"), and their summary of the Seattle event.
Finally, if you crave more pink, here's my photo album. Enjoy, and onward!
Komen 3-Day Walk, Sept 2011