Tuesday, June 05, 2012

This Moment

The walk was incredible. The walk was amazing. It was also grueling. And tough. And difficult.

I was blessed to have some pretty supportive people around me.

On the first day a group of 4 others (one who was a teammate and then 3 wonderful men of Team Skipper) walked with me, and encouraged me to keep walking, even when I thought I couldn't take another step, because they got that being able to finish it was going to mean so much to me. They encouraged me. Helped me when I freaked out over a missing camera (that was thankfully found). They carried my bag. Told me to drink more water. Basically, they had my back. When we crossed that finish line the first day, I cried. No, it wasn't the first time that day. But I had done it. Not alone though .... the hard things in life are so much easier to get through with help. Surgery, chemo, radiation, infection, surgery again, healing, and walking 26.2 miles. I was not made to do it alone. And every step of the way I have been incredibly blessed to have people there who have metaphorically carried me through it. The walk was no different.

The second day, despite being fewer miles, was much harder for me. I won't lie. At one point I'm pretty sure I growled at some people. I was exhausted. I was tired. I thought for sure I couldn't take another step. But my same group of four, where there beside me. In addition, 5 more of my teammates (including another breast cancer survivor) and 3 other new friends (shout-out to team North Dakota) joined me. And helped me. And again, encouraged me. Carried my backpack. And helped me, because seriously, I wanted to stop. so. many. times. {But seriously, I really didn't. I just didn't think I was strong enough to do it. I also want to take a second to assure you that my wonderful support group would have stopped me should I have hurt myself or looked, you know, ready to pass out. They truly had my back}.

So anyway, we were walking. And with 1.5 miles left, I was feeling pretty defeated. I texted my husband to let him know I was 1.5 miles away. He told me he was at the finish line with the kids and would see me soon.

We started walking again. Through the Cancer Survivor's garden, and Buckingham Fountain and heading towards Soldier Field. And I hit a wall. There was a moment where I was just ready to stop. Get in a car. And drive there. But then I thought of my husband and kids, waiting for me. And I looked around at all these people who were there, encouraging me. A few who were essentially strangers. Some old friends. Some new friends. There. For me. They would have crawled to that finish line if that's the pace I needed to keep. These amazing people, who could have taken off and walked much faster, were instead walking with me, to help me finish. And somewhere, somehow, I got re-energized. And I was ready to keep going. To walk. To finish this amazing journey I had started. So we walked. We knew we wanted to cross that line together - we had done this together, and we were going to finish together. And as we neared the line, we linked arms.

Somehow when we got closer I was sent to the front. And my friends started chanting my name. This incredible group of people I was walking with, chanted my name. It is one of those moments that I will always remember. They have told me that they were inspired by me. But I would argue that it was I who was inspired by them. This incredible group, some of whom were strangers to me a mere 36 hours prior, took time to encourage me and to help me. Out of the kindness in their hearts.

That is what I will remember about the walk over the past weekend. People coming together, for their family, their friends, their acquaintances and for strangers. I believe life was not meant to be lived alone. I believe there is strength in numbers. I believe kindness is never the wrong path to take. I will forget the blisters. I will forget about the achy joints. But I will not forget how amazing it felt to have finished this walk. I will not forget that I didn't do it alone. And I will not forget all* the amazing people who helped get me to that moment.

*all the amazing people who helped get me through it includes you, my lovely readers, every person who donated to me, every person who wished me luck on the walk, every person who thought about me, prayed for me and sent good vibes for the weekend, every person who walked with me, every person on my team, every person who supported me every step of the way. So thank you. To all of you.



    To have the finish of your first Avon walk on digital file is fabulous. I loved watching it. The pride in Eric's voice is just--gah!--LOVE.

    Congratulations, Brandie. It's been quite a year for you so far...and there's still 6 months to go! :)

  2. Brandie, I would walk 39.3 miles with you and for you again and again. I might be crazy, but not crazy enought to sign up for this thing again on the same day I was told I probably have a stress fracture from the first time, without having you as my inspiration!

  3. That is amazing :)

  4. I totally just cried my eyeballs out, Brandie! I think Angela Lansbury would've done the same, though, because YOU ARE AMAZING. Lots of love!!!!

  5. Brandie that was beautiful. Made me tear up a little watching that video. Eric was so proud of you and you can just hear the love in his voice. You are so blessed and so are all your fans for having you to inspire them. xo


  6. Anonymous11:01 PM

    You are a true warrior with quite a troop behind/beside ya.... Blessed indeed. You continue to inspire with your incredible spirit & courage. Teared up watching the video, too. But not out of sadness, but out of pure joy, for you. Soak it in sweet lady, you so deserve it. <3

    Michelle Sept 02 board.

  7. Thank you for sharing your fabulous weekend. I can picture how it was like by the way you described that weekend.
    I am so proud of you and you deserve a big high five, a standing ovation -- an Olympic gold medal.

    Congratulations, Brandie. So true, this is just the beginning.

  8. Brandie, this was beautiful. *sniff, sniff*

    Congratulations. YOU DID IT!

  9. Oh girl...we all know the real reason you wanted to get to the finish line...so you could get home and buff your Mercedes!

    But for real...




    I couldn't help but cry through the video...congratulations!!! *hugs*

  10. That video and that post made me cry, Brandie. I am SO happy for you and for all you have overcome!

    Now go rest those feet.

  11. Anonymous11:10 AM

    You don't know me, but I was at the Avon Walk this weekend, too. I was honoring a loved one that passed away this year. I just wanted to let you know that, even though I don't know your whole story, you are an inspiration to every single one of us who walked. It was because of survivors like you that I finished. Whenever I hit a wall, I would look at someone very obviously fresh out of chemo and think, "If they can handle this walk, then so can I." Thank you for being a wonderful person. -Jeni M.

  12. TheNextMartha11:35 AM

    Much love and admiration for you. You rocked that.

  13. Anonymous11:58 AM

    I've just finished 18 months of breast cancer treatment and am training to walk the SF Avon Walk next month. Your story was so inspiring and made me cry too. We think we are over the crying but then a story like yours brings back the power of friendship and love that helps us get through all this - the treatment and the Walk. All the best to you!

  14. Crying. You are my superhero!

  15. wow! inspired! congrats and thanks for sharing this post!!

    candy @ Mommypalooza

  16. Oh Brandie, this is SO beautiful. I love the video and the words and all you've done. It is amazing what we can do when we have community surrounding us, and wow did you do it. Congrats on finishing and I can't wait to see what else you'll do!


Seeing your comments makes me smile! Thank you so much =)