2 days, 40 miles, 5.8 million dollars! These numbers will forever hold a special place in my heart. On May 15th and 16th, along with 10 other SmartPak employees, I walked 40 miles throughout Boston for the 2010 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. Some thought I was crazy for challenging my body (my feet especially) to walk 40 miles, but most thought it was heroic. Cancer has unfortunately affected not only some of my friends but my family, and I have made it a life long goal to do what I can to bring awareness and support to fighting cancer.
A lot of time and effort goes into preparing for such a long walk. Riding horses and occasionally going to the gym was the gist of my work out regime. Over the past several months I have made my gym visits more frequent and began walking during lunch and after work to get my feet in shape. I even stopped getting pedicures! This was tough since we were just getting into flip flop season. Obtaining donations is always a challenge, but with the support of SmartPak, friends and family we were able to hold an Avon Walk Benefit, fundraise by selling cookies and holding raffles to raise enough money to participate.
After many months of preparation, before we knew it, the walk was a month, a week, and then a few days away. Once Friday came I couldn’t concentrate on anything but getting into Boston for Event Eve. The forecast for the weekend was predicted to be sunny, 70’s and luckily no rain! My bags were packed and I was ready to challenge myself and show everyone that I am truly in it to end it.
On our first day the SmartPak Team got up bright and early, dressed in our pink, and drove to UMass Boston for opening ceremonies. The stories of those participating in the walk, survivors and supporters brought us all to tears, and really showed us why we are doing this, why we have committed ourselves to help those battling this disease. Once we started walking we were all smiles and feeling great. The event staff did such a great job keeping us safe and organized. My favorites were the Motorcycle Safety Crew. These big motorcycle men in there black leather chaps and Harley Davidson attire wore pink bandanas and strapped large pink bras to the front of their motorcycles. Most of them had volunteered in years past, and one gentleman was going on his 9th year! They definitely made the first 26 miles as easy as they could get!
By the second day, we were all aching and tired, not just from walking but sleeping outside in tents at the Reebok Center. I woke up feeling as if I slept on a pile of rocks, but I got up, got breakfast and was on my way to doing 13 more miles. Even though the second day was shorter it was not easy, but having people at the cheering stations and outside of their homes cheering us on, offering oranges, candy, and water was truly spirit lifting. Even 1 family had “dogs and children for photo ops!” which was just hilarious. They surely put a smile on everyone’s faces and really helped us push through.
I couldn’t have asked for better company when crossing that finish line. We laughed together, cried together and supported each other. The event coordinator was proud to announce that New England raised 5.8 million dollars for Breast Cancer research, and Team SmartPak raised a total of $26,000. This was Team SmartPaks 5th year participating in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, and I’m sure there will be many more to come.