Last Thursday through Sunday, I was up in Cleveland attending the 3-Day for the Cure. Put on by the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the event raises money for education and research about causes, treatment, and the search for a cure to breast cancer. My sister and her husband volunteer their time for the event and were co-captains of the so-called "lunch station" this year.
|Getting ready outside of Cleveland Browns stadium.|
In a nutshell, all the event volunteers had to get trained on Thursday in downtown Cleveland. Each of the next three days, breast cancer survivors, their family members, friends, and supporters walk a different 20-mile course through the streets of the suburbs of Cleveland before heading to an area where they are fed and then sleep in tents for the night. All the walkers raises sponsorship money to participate with the money going towards breast cancer research.
|A sea of pink tents.|
For some of these people (and I say this with all the respect in the world), including those afflicted with breast cancer trudging away in the blistering heat, pounding the pavement for 60 miles is the toughest thing they will ever try in their lives. Along the course, there are aid stations including a bigger "lunch station" where I was at. We, the crew, would get up at 4:30 am and head over to the cook tent for some breakfast. Then, we were bused to our aid station location where we had several hours to set up the Western shelters, prepare the hydration and food, decorate the area, and so on. Walkers started coming in around 10 am until around 2 pm. After that, we'd break down and head back to camp. I'd say we served over 1,200 lunches each day ... it was pretty fast-paced work. The crew I was on rocked!
|Setting up ... calm before the storm.|
Over the course of Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I met many great people, heard many inspirational stories, and witnessed many acts of courage and strength. Unfortunately, it is all too easy for me to slip on occasion and think I am somehow "special" for running ultras -- damn ego :-( The reality of the matter is that what I witnessed this past weekend was truly special and put things in proper perspective. No ultrarunner nor Ironman had an advantage in the Toughness Department on many of these walkers.
Once all the walkers had completed the course, we all assembled in a large outdoor area in celebration and to remember those lost to this terrible disease. Having lost my mother to breast cancer and then having witnessed what my sister had to endure in her battle with breast cancer, the closing ceremony was quite emotionally moving to me on a personal level.
|Honor the survivors.|
In closing, I'd like to give a shout out to my sister who has poured herself into this cause now for three years with nary a complaint nor any need to turn the spotlight on herself. Tirelessly, unselfishly, she has spent lots of her time and money to ensure the walkers were taken care of. How refreshing to see that kind of altruism in this day and age. Bravo, sister!
|Lauren Weaver in her casual lunch attire.|