This was not a mountain adventure or, paddling, or what is usual posted on my blog but it was definitely an adventure and a great experience I had.
A few years ago before I had my son, I would sign up for 5 – 10K runs at least once a month from March or April through to November if I could, or till whenever the weather would allow. Mostly 5ks, but there were a few 8ks and 10ks. They were all kind of runs from fun runs, to fundraising runs, to whatever you can think of. I loved doing them and for the ones I had to raise money for, I would try and then I would run. I had a blog about all of my runs, but I was silly and deleted it because I stopped running and haven’t done it in years. I am still sad that I deleted that one.
Anyways, – among my year of runs, I had been invited join my friends team for the Weekend to end Breast Cancer. A two day, 60km overall walk. 32km one day and 28 the next. That experience was one I will NEVER forget. Each person was to raise $2,500 to be able to participate in the walk and each person on our team did just that! We started the two days early and walked with hundreds, maybe even a couple thousand people, it was big! (I also had a blog post and photos of that one).
There were rumors going around during the walk that- that was going to be the last year that they held the walk in Calgary because participant numbers had just dropped so much over the years, and they needed those numbers to stay higher so they could bring in and keep all the volunteers and everything they did for the participants. It was upsetting, especially after experiencing the whole weekend, but also understandable. So when I got the email about how I participated in the Weekend to end Breast Cancer, and they were going to host for the first time ever a new walk, OneWalk to Conquer ALL Cancers, I was immediately in!
I tried, not hard enough, to get a team together but I was also completely fine signing up by myself. I wanted to do it either way and knew I could raise the money. OneWalk is a walk to Conquer ALL Cancers, where 100% of the proceeds go to the area of your choice. I worked hard for a few months reaching out to people through email and social media, sharing my story and fundraising. It’s definitely nerve-racking as you approach the walk date and you still haven’t raised your goal. All you want to do is participate as you tried your best to raise the funds required. In the end, I reached my goal and was able to walk. I was definitely sad for those who couldn’t participate due to not reaching the minimum of $1,500. It is a lot to ask for, and especially when so many people have lost their jobs in Calgary the last few years.
Thinking because I walk a lot already, hike a lot, and never really stop moving, I didn’t think I needed to walk 25km before walk day! Let me just tell you, that walk kicked my BUTT!!!! I am definitely not in my early 20’s anymore and don’t recover the same way I used to ha-ha! I think I could have put a bit of effort into better training leading up to the walk and when I do it again – I definitely will.
The morning of the walk, it was pouring! I got there at 6:30am for checking in, dropping last minute or cash donations and for breakfast. Opening rally started at 8 and then we started walking at about 8:30. When I got to the breakfast tent, I hear “Kristina!” It was a girl who I grew up playing soccer with, went to school with and our families were friends back in Okotoks. We got to chatting and it turns out she was there with a team of her own from Okotoks Home Care, where she works. There was 5 of them and they invited me to walk the route with them, so I did! I was quite happy that I ran into someone I knew and was able to share the experience with them.
Maybe a kilometer after we started, the rain finally stopped. I was wearing crop tights, a sweater, a rain jacket, my backpack with a rain cover and a garbage bag wrapped around my waist to keep my bottom half dry. It was surprising to me how many people actually were not prepared for the rain at all! Throughout the first 5-10km – the layers slowly came off. I think by kilometer ten, we were in tank tops for the most part. It ended up being a beautiful day overall, sun shining on us 🙂
I learned throughout the walk, that one of the ladies had actually lost her mom, I think it was June 1st. As she told the story, I tried to hold back the tears. (I am a super emotional person, I can’t help it!) Her mom knew she was doing the walk and planned to be at the finish line to watch her daughter walk through, for her mom. (Man, as I am writing this my eye are swelling up!) I couldn’t even imagine how that walk must have felt for this women. She didn’t shed a tear, she stayed strong and told her story and walked proud for her mom. I have never personally been affected by cancer, nor have I had family that I have known go through it. I do however, know of friends who have lost parents, friends, I know of people I have worked with who ended up getting cancer, a longtime friend of my dad’s has been fighting for YEARS! And if all I can do is try to raise money and participate in these events, walk for the people affected, or taking care of their loved ones, then I will continue to do so.
The whole day was amazing. The Boobs on Bikes volunteers were so awesome to see again, they were also at the weekend to end breast cancer. Driving around on their bikes, decked out with boobs… everywhere, I don’t even know how to explain it, so I will post a photo. But everything from just driving around to make sure we were ok, giving us high-fives as we walked, helping groups of us get through major intersections, they just did so much. All of the volunteers who provided us with snacks and drinks, lunch, all the sponsors and providers of again, snacks drinks and porta-potys, everything, everything everyone did – did not go UN noticed.
When we started nearing the end, we were tired but just knowing how far you’ve come, seeing random people cheering you on as you go, definitely helped push us along. As we came through the finish line, we were all hand in hand and couldn’t stop smiling. You could see all of us trying not to cry ha-ha, but so, so happy and feeling great and accomplished. We crossed that line and all came into each other’s arms and just shared a big celebratory sigh!! We did it 🙂 !
Amazing day, amazing people, experience, and what a cause!
Thank you to everyone who supported me and helped me reach my goal to walk, thank you to all the volunteers who made this day possible, without you guys this wouldn’t have happened, and my new team for sharing the experience together!
Till next year’s OneWalk event!