Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Komen 3-Day Opening Ceremony

The Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure kicked off with a great opening ceremony. It was still kind of dark at 6:30 when we all gathered outside the Washington Nationals baseball stadium and faced the stage. Music pounded. The skies were overcast, but there was no "liquid sunshine" yet. The crowd was high energy. A young woman came on stage. She was a doctor, and a breast cancer survivor. She was the highest energy, most enthusiasic doctor you will ever meet, and we would see her many times over the next three days. She had also done the 3-Day herself, and knew what we were in for.

As she spoke, I continued to look around the crowd. I saw a few men, but there was a lot more estrogen here than testosterone. It also was clear to me that I had been wrong about something. In my first Komen 5K, only breast cancer survivors had worn pink, so I assumed that this would be the case with the 3-Day. But there were far too many people in pink for that to be the case, including many men. I found myself wishing that I had a pink dry-fit shirt.

I really liked this woman's hat. She and two friends had identical skull caps that mimicked breasts, including the areola and nipple! On the last day of the walk, I ran into them along the route and chatted for a couple of minutes about their hats.

For me, the most moving part of the opening ceremony involved the flag raising. A single woman - a breast cancer survivor - walked through the crowd and climbed the steps to a circular platform. She carried a large white banner, covered with text that people were had written. The text was messages written by participants about people who had died from breast cancer. I wish I had seen it before hand, because I would have written a message for Ann. This banner is called the "remembrance flag," I think. The woman slowly raised the banner up a flagpole, and then she was joined by eight other women - all breast cancer survivors - who each carried a banner. They formed a circle around her. I so wished my sister could have joined them as a survivor, but was very much moved by the nine of them, knowing what hardships they had endured and gotten past.

After the circular area had cleared, I snapped another photo of it, since there was a little more light now. You can see the white remembrance flag in the center.

One of many attributes anyone facing cancer must have is courage:

It would take a while for the large number of walkers to pass through the "cattle chutes" to start the walk, and I continued to study the walkers. I thought that this guy's pink banner was pretty cool, and also chuckled a bit over two ladies walking together (one shown here) with the team name of "Fore Old Jugs."

Soon enough, I passed through the "cattle chute" and was taking my first steps on my long walk to honor the memory of my sister, and to honor all those who have had this awful disease.

1 comment:

Wombat Amplification said...

Go Art! We are all so proud of you! Cheers, Paul Fawcett