The Pak Walks for a Cure

by: Jessica – Sales Team

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January 2007 – Exciting News!
Exciting news! A team of SmartPak employees has joined together to participate in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.

In order to participate in the walk, each person is required to raise a minimum of $1,800. That’s a lot of money, but SmartPak has generously offered to give each of us half of that amount – $900!

Thank you SmartPak!

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February 2007- Off to a Great Start
Avon_MarchTraining_full2.jpgThe training begins!

Despite the cold, our Avon Walk Team is off to a great start! We have attended an introductory meeting, so now we know what we’re really getting into! We’ve also mapped out a loop near the SmartPak office, and have been walking this a couple of times per week after

work. We have also started walking together on the weekends at Morton Park in Plymouth, MA. The park has a great loop that circles a very pretty pond, and the best part is that we can bring our dogs! Between all of us, some days we have as many as EIGHT pooches, and I don’t know who’s been having more fun – us or them! We’ve unofficially dubbed ourselves “The Pak”, considering how many four-legged creatures are in our walking bunch.

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March 2007 – Discovering a great training spot
Our dear friend Nina, a former SmartPak Product Specialist, has decided to join our team! Now we are nine walkers strong, and getting more and more excited for the walk all the time. We’ve also discovered a great new place to walk – Wompatuck State Park in Hingham, MA. There are miles and miles of paved trails, so it’s just perfect. Even this fridged weather hasn’t deterred us from sticking to our weekend walks! We’re up to 6+ miles, despite the cold. Good thing SmartPak sells dog blankets…

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May 2007 – Countdown to the Walk
avon4.jpgAs the countdown to the actual walk begins, we’ve started to plan out the logistics of the weekend. We’re getting our team shirts silk-screened, and SmartPak has generously donated 9 pink hats, embroidered just for us.

Our fundraising is going fabulously well – many of our team
members have raised all of the $1,800 themselves, meaning that the money donated by SmartPak is just extra! We have reached nearly $20,000 total, and the checks keep coming in!

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Friday, May 18, 2007 – Event Eve
On Friday morning we woke up to a very rainy weekend forecast… however, nothing could dampen our spirits – the walk weekend had arrived! Feeling like the luckiest group of walkers in the entire event, the first thing we did at work that morning was order 9 pairs of galoshes off of our own website. Once again, it pays to work at SmartPak. The day got even better when Nikki’s mom showed up at the office with amazing pink cupcakes that were almost too pretty to eat…almost.

avon5.jpgRegistering at “Event Eve” in Boston was very exciting. It felt SO good to hand in all that money! Then we headed to our dinner reservations – Italian, of course – do you think we would pass up the chance to stuff ourselves on bread and pasta and not feel guilty?! Bring on the carbs!

Friday night we all piled into Kristen’s house – she and her husband live the closest to the city, and generously offered to put us up for the night. After using approximately 1 million trash bags to line our duffles and protect our sleeping bags, we all hit the sack, lulled to sleep by the rain.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007 – The Avon Walk is finally here!
Avon6.jpg

Despite the chilly temperature and steady drizzle, our spirits were high as we blasted Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” (our theme song) at 6:00am on the drive to Umass Boston. As we stood in the mud before the opening ceremonies, our galoshes were clearly the envy of all. Good rain gear and an instilled tolerance for Port-o-Potties made us all very glad for the hundreds of horse shows we had under our belts…

The 26 mile walk on Saturday was fun, challenging, exhausting…you name it. After 11 hours of being on our feet, we finally made it to “The Wellness Village” in Canton, MA, where we would be camping for the night. As we set up our tents in the sodden field we were thrilled to have gotten through the first day’s walk, despite the fact that our bodies were weary. Ok, ok, so ‘weary’ is an understatement.

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Sunday, May 20, 2007 – 39 Miles and $22,000 – We Did It!

avon7.jpg

Early Sunday morning, we awoke to the same dreary weather, feeling stiff and a big soggy as we packed up our gear, but ready to take on the second day nonetheless. Luckily the fabulous Avon Walk Crew had a hot breakfast ready for us – real Oatmeal is to die for, why do I buy that instant stuff anyway?!

The second day’s walk was 13 miles – half of Saturday’s distance. A couple of us had to skip a few miles in the beginning due to the prior day’s wear and tear (thank goodness for those shuttles!), but our entire team met back up for the final leg, and the all-important finish line. Wow, what an experience that was! Walking arm-in-arm through a wall of cheering supporters was just amazing – hundreds of people had shown up to show their appreciation for our accomplishment.

After lots of photos, hugs and tears, we gathered together with the rest of the 2,800 walkers, to participate in the closing ceremonies. Hearing that such a small group of people was able to raise $6.7 million dollars for the breast cancer cause was simply mind-blowing. Seeing all of the smiling, teary-eyed survivors made every blister and sore muscle completely worthwhile.

As we hobbled into work on Monday morning, our bodies were certainly fatigued, but you couldn’t wipe the smiles from our faces. We all felt extremely proud to have raised money for such a worthy cause, and to have done it together with friends made it even better. Each one of us is inspired and excited to walk again next year, and I feel confident that more SmartPak employees will be donning their walking shoes, too. And I’m going to keep my fingers crossed that we’ll be able to leave the galoshes at home.

P.S. The Pak would like to thank our walk supporters – Mark Turner and Matt Isaacs – without you guys meeting us with high fives and at every rest stop, setting up our tents and just plain being there, we wouldn’t have made it. Thank you!!!

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SmartPak congratulates all members of “The Pak”:
avon8.jpg

Kristen Isaacs, Jessica Normand, Lucy Brush, Nikki Ray, Ashley Wener, Katie Troyanoski, Heather Campbell, Michael Hurwitz, and Nina Akerley.

Posted in Blogs, Events

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