Team SmartPak is Walking on Sunshine!

by Laura C., Product Specialist

They say to truly know someone you must walk a mile in their shoes. If one mile is good then 40 must be better!

This year the SmartPak crew headed back into Boston to participate, once more, in the 2008 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. As a novice Avon Walker I was a little nervous. Thankfully, everyone who participated last year assured me that not only would I be fine but also that it couldn’t possibly rain again.

We arrived at UMASS Boston bright and early Saturday morning, all decked out in our matching t-shirts and hats (once again graciously donated by SmartPak). The campus was a sea of pink and ponchos and the air of enthusiasm was infectious! That’s funny, I thought they said it wasn’t going to rain……

With an inspiring and tear-filled opening ceremony behind us, the Avon Walk was finally underway!

Sometimes, you become so focused on the task at hand that you lose track of the little things. In truth, the subtlety of the sun peaking out was almost lost on us until we began to feel a little warm under those plastic ponchos! We cued up this year’s theme song (a more appropriate choice than any of us could have guessed) and Team SmartPak was truly “Walking on Sunshine”!

With Katie as our trusty walking DJ (speakers on a backpack keep the enthusiasm high), a well-deserved break at lunch to jettison the soggy socks, and the team mantra: “Hydrate!”, a very weary bunch of SmartPakers crossed the finish line of day one. We had reached the Wellness Village. We were exhausted but we were dry, (maybe everyone was right after all)?

We awoke the next morning a little stiff and a little sore but surprisingly upbeat. Day one was successfully behind us. Now, the only thing standing between us and the finish line was a measly 13 miles. With water bottles and camelbacks filled, feet securely bandaged, and tents collapsed and packed, we set off again.

Lunch on day two presented a most welcome surprise. Some of SmartPak’s very own canine employees turned out to wish us well (and join us for lunch). Canine enthusiasm is contagious and happy dog tails helped motivate our tired bodies and aching feet. Besides, they all looked so cute in pink!

The Team SmartPak Canine division, as well as some friends and family, joined us to walk that final mile. There is nothing like the feeling of crossing that finish line – joy, sadness, exhaustion, accomplishment….it’s everything.

The closing ceremony for the 2008 Avon Walk was amazing. Walkers, supporters and Survivors all with hands clasped high above their heads showed that for those two days we truly did walk as one.

When we all came in to work on Monday it was fairly easy to pick out the Avon Walkers. Not only were we all in our pink t-shirts, but the slow, stiff, halting movements made us stick out a little. Thankfully we decided that the dress code for that day was sweatpants, t-shirts and whatever you could stand to put on your feet. I think I speak for all of us when I say, “I can’t wait to do it again next year!”

P.S. Once again it is necessary to thank our wonderful supporters Steve Semick, Josh Burt, Brian Donalson and Steve Lollman. Thank you all for cheering us on at the rest stops, collecting the clothing that we shed along the way, once again helping with those tents at the wellness village, and most importantly for bringing the dogs! And of course, a very special thanks to all those individuals (friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, and even pets) whose pledges on our behalf made Team SmartPak such an integral part of Avon Walk Boston 2008!

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