Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Walk: Part 2 - The Pink Factor and Life in the Bottom Quartile

When you look at the 3-day web site, you get the feeling that there will be a lot of pink at this event. You have no idea.Lindsey, Jeanne, and I looked like the goth kids compared to the other 4,497 peppy and perky people decked out in pink. For some reason, the three teachers in our group were the ones who sported the pink clothes and additional pink "flair"(Jennifer, second from the right, and Isabelle and Amy, not pictured).There were the crazy costumes and accessories - pink cowboy hats, pink tutus, pink boas, pink pumps, and everything else in between (there was also the Southern California factor, so people were really decked out, made-up, and tan!)

Here's a photo of us at one of the pit stops. They had all sorts of stuff to dress up in for a photo. But seriously, many people wore stuff like this when they walked. Plus, people really played up the word "breast" and all of its nicknames with logos on shirts and signs. Here are some of my favorites:
  • I'm a breast man - seen on the shirt of a very old (probably 90-year-old) man who cheered us on along the route.
  • Save the Tatas
  • The Tittee Committee
  • Mammo-Glam
  • Big or Small...Save Them All
  • Boobs on the Move
  • Chicas for Chi-Chis
  • Happy Hooters
  • Jammin' for Jugs
  • Saving Second Base
I must say that this was one well-oiled pink machine. There were vans always driving by, to pick up anyone who needed a lift. These people would receive a button saying, "Sagged and Proud".

Most of the pit stops were themed. My favorite was the 80s "Hard Walk Cafe". They blasted my favorite 80s music and staff and volunteers were dressed in mini-skirts, double belts and some sported mullets.There was a lot of preambling going on at the opening ceremonies, and while I appreciate a good speech, what I saw along the walk was much more moving: the woman walking with the sign on her back that said, "85 year old walker, 2-time cancer survivor", the dad with two young kids with a sign saying, "We miss you Mom", the current cancer patient standing on the side of the road with the sign, "Thank you for walking for me". Those were the things that moved me along, plus the fact that my bladder was always in search of the next bathroom. (I was very close to having my own slogan that said, "I peed in my pants for breast cancer.")

Oh, and the food. Almost every supporter on the side of the route had bowls full of, what I can only imagine to be, left over Halloween candy. Aside from candy, people also handed out donut holes, popsicles, chips and salsa, and all sorts of other stuff. My favorites were the guy who had two buckets, one labeled "Milk Chocolate" and the other "Dark Chocolate" (by Day 3, he only had Milk Chocolate left) and the one guy who had freshly caught mahi mahi on crackers with mango chutney. I actually gained weight from this walk, if you can believe it.

We slept in tents. Yes, even me. Luckily they were set up for us already and Lindsey, my tentmate, is an experienced camper. She brought the tarps and the tarp clips, and camp light. If it wasn't for Lindsey, I would have been wet and miserable (thanks Lindsey!).

With a team that included alumni from competitive schools like Harvard, Stanford, UCLA and USC, we were somewhat dismayed to find ourselves in the bottom quartile of walkers. No matter what time we left in the morning, we were consistently among the last 25%. (This didn't sit well with my competitive side, but I had to keep reminding myself that this was not a race.) But we had a great time talking as we strolled. Amy brought a set of "conversation cards", with deep and thought-provoking questions we could ponder and discuss, like "What was the worst hairstyle you ever had?" and "What part of the world has the sexiest men?".

All in all, it was a wonderful experience. I spent lots of good quality time with my friends and I hobbled away with only three blisters and some mild soreness in my legs.

Thanks to all my wonderful friends and family, I met my goal of raising $2200 for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. The event in San Diego raised more than $10 million - pretty impressive for a lot of people dressed up in pink. And if you're wondering, yes, you can still donate if you haven't already.


Al Fish said...

Great job, very inspiring. :)

michelle pearlman said...

congrats jeanne i am so proud of you! can't wait to see you soon!