First Shirt walks for cancer

  • Published
  • By MSgt. Jill Moore
  • 108 ARW

In May, I signed up to walk in the "Breast Cancer 3 Day Benefiting Susan G. Koman for the Cure" 60-mile walk in Washington, D.C. to be held Oct. 3-5. Several friends have endured the ravages of the disease and this was my chance to do something to help find a cure.
I knew I had to train for the walk because I was to walk an average of 20 miles a day, 3 days in a row. For months I walked 6-10 miles every day, building up to the end result of 18 to 20 miles.
I arrived at the starting location on Oct. 3 psyched and ready to tackle this grueling feat. I was amazed at what I saw; 3,000 people showed up for the walk. Each and every one had their own personal reason to put themselves through this walk. Some were survivors, some had family or friends with the disease and some just felt the need to help fight for the cause. The opening ceremony was touching and brought home the realization of how big this disease is and the need to find a cure.
As I walked the first day, I met a lot of people who would tell me their stories and it helped motivate me to the finish line for that day. On the second day, as I now had a blister on my foot that was wrapped and aches in muscles I didn't know I had - the people that were not walkers, but spectators or people driving by thanking me for what I was doing, was my motivation.
On the third day, with more blisters but less aches, my motivation came from a volunteer directing traffic at the bottom of a mile long hill I was about to trek up.
She said would you rather walk up that hill or have chemo treatments? That statement was enough to get me through the day.
At the closing ceremony every walker took one shoe off and held it up in honor of all those who walked 60 long miles in 3 days to find a cure for breast cancer. It was an emotional ending to the day.
More than $7 million was raised by the 3,000 walkers. I am proud to say I got to be part of this event. The walk is held in 14 different cities and I plan to walk in Philadelphia next year. If anyone is interested in walking with me or has questions about the event see me during any drill. You won't be sorry.