One of the MOST Meaningful Days in a Long Time
When the meeting was over, we all headed out for the tailgate party. The rain had stopped but the wind was whipping. It was a lot of fun and I got to talk to everyone and they all wished me well in my new endeavor and said so many wonderful things to me. I was a happy girl.
Now the rest of the weekend was something that resulted from a simple conversation between myself and a very special friend. You see, last year, Karen was diagnosed with breast cancer. She would be undergoing some major surgery and treatment but she wouldn’t start that until she was able to attend the Company annual celebration last December. This was a priority for her and something she really wanted/needed to do. When she told me what was ahead of her, I told her that if she was up to it, we would find a breast cancer walk close to her, and she and I would walk together. She said she would keep me posted and that was our promise to each other.
She did amazingly well and her attitude was the most remarkable force to reckon with. I can’t even imagine what the battle was every day, but she said she was up for the walk and we were going to do it…in Grand Rapids, MI, her home town. Now the pieces of the puzzle are making more sense I would imagine.
When word got out that Karen and I were going to do this, so many more of her colleagues joined in and her incredible supportive family would be there in full force. Tara her daughter, took charge of forming the team “KICKIN’ IT UP FOR KAREN” and she and Karen’s husband Rich made the event happen.
Back to South Bend. I had the enormous pleasure of riding from South Bend to Grand Rapids with Tom and his family. Melody, Tom’s wife and I have known each other for years so I was glad to spend some time with her. BTW she is the backbone of Tom’s business but don’t tell him that. Their sons Noah and A.J. are two of the most incredible young men, who watch over each other like nobody’s business. AND can I just say that they take their football teams VERY seriously…right Noah???
The drive was a breeze and we all met in a hotel and shared pizza and conversation and we all received our shirts and bibs for the next day. I was so glad to see Karen and if nothing else happened, my trip was complete.
The next morning, bright and early, we headed to the area where the walk would be held. Who knew it would be so cold in September in MI?? Ok so I’m still thinking of the temperature in Texas but we were all really cold but so happy to be there. All the little ones were in strollers under blankets and everyone was there in full force.
Up until that morning we weren’t sure if Karen would be able to actually do the walk, but she would be out there cheering everyone on. We all saw the support that this community had for this disease that affects so many of the people we love. There were over 7,000 fans of the survivors. Those fabulous women wore their hot pink shirts proudly. It was a reality check to see that this disease does not discriminate at all. The number of survivors in their 20s and 30s was a frightening number but the number of survivors made it even more emotional. I would not have missed this moment for anything. If you have not supported a breast cancer walk in your area, you need to. Some people are not fortunate enough to have support at home or from their fellow workers. Walk in honor of or in memory of someone but get out there and walk. If breast cancer has not affected you, find another cause and get out there.
I am so happy to say that Karen did do the walk and did cross over the finish line. She is one of the strongest women I know. I am so proud to call her my friend. Always remember, a simple conversation can turn into something that can change your life…