Tuesday, October 2, 2012

39.3 miles WALKED for the AVON Walk for (against) breast cancer! Thank you for your help!

Well, you may or may not know yet but  with the grace of God and the sweet fellowship of some new friends I made the 39.3 mile Avon walk for (I think AGAINST) breast cancer a weekend ago!! Whoo Hoo! 

I intended to blog soon thereafter but was in preparation to leave for a Coaching Conference and class in Florida and I ran out of time! I learned so much for my coaching practice and had the privilege of speaking for the coaches there from all over the USA! Special time with great new friends!

The Team the Lord brought together to walk the walk! (I am in the cap) This was the last of the 2nd day 13 miles and the end of the 39.3 mile, two day walk!
Back to the Avon Walk!  

My TWO hats! My training hat (worn out like me but still with a "little bling!") and the AVON Walk hat my main training Sister Sarah lent me for this special event! Here I go!
Thank you for supporting me in this goal of ours as together, you and I, worked against a formidable foe, breast cancer.  Whether you prayed, talked me through trainings on the phone, walked with me in training (Coaching Moment: Make sure to DO the training for your goals along the way BEFORE the day of your "Event" so you'll be ready!), gave financially to the goal or came to Santa Barbara to cheer and encourage I appreciate(d) you and needed your love, support and encouragement to finish the goal! I received encouragement via emails, cards, notes, phone calls, text messages, a balloon bouquet ... in more ways than you can imagine!

 We started the day in Santa Barbara
 6:00 a.m. on the Beach in Santa   Barbara! 
Sunrise on the Beach in Santa Barbara! Beautiful!

                          Ready to go!  Yep, a little ... nervous? Oh, it will be fun!

 I thought of you as I giggled watching groups of women with pink wigs, tu-tus and dancing to the music with their pom poms! I smiled as we passed motor cycle gang folk sporting pink facial hair at the intersections. We waved to the little ones out on their lawns in the "jammies" and the families handing out sweets, water or high fives along the route in Santa Barbara and Carpenteria! What an amazing time!

I mentioned to one of my new friends Maria, as we walked along at some point, how WONDERFUL it would be if in real life, every day we all had people along our "route" of life high-fiving us, encouraging us, calling out to us that we could do it! Wouldn't that BE FANTASTIC and ... why can't we be those people to those the Lord put into our lives? (Coaching Moment: Yes we can and we shall!)

All along the route Dennis would surprise me ( but it blessed all of us :) with signs of encouragement on the Note Pad! So very fun for us as it was like the game of  "finding Waldo" as we looked for him around every corner!  Iced coffee was one of my personal favorite "rest stops" and I think he had several "takers" as other women begged for their own cup! I absolutely couldn't have done it without him, from the beginning of my commitment to train to the very last mile! 

Damon, Michele and our little Jayden came up for the weekend to cheer me along as well and that was sure fun and meant so much! Nothing like having your own cheering section and I had the privilege of sharing the encouragement with my other "Team" members that the Lord brought along! We enjoyed a little beach/ocean time after the event as the Lord provided a home for rent exactly ONE block from the beach and ONE block from the end of the Avon Walk! (WONDERFUL home ... let me know if you want that location to stay! Happy to pass it along!) A God thing for sure! Kyle and Steph were a text and phone call away as we shared several times during the weekend as well as they kept up with where I was and offered their long distance cheers! :)  I am one very very blessed wife, Mom, Mom-in-law and Granma to have such love showered on me! I enjoyed the texts and phone calls from our Moms and Dad, siblings and spouses, nieces/nephews and friends too!
Our friends Christine and Bob met us at one of the rest stops to cheer us along as well and it was such a blessing to have them join us! :)   

As we prayed together ( you and I) prior to the event for whoever the Lord might have for me to encourage in some way ... the Lord answered our prayers and graciously provided some sweet walking friends! We walked together, we prayed together, we wept together, we laughed together, we HURT together, we held each other up and cared for each other. We shared life stories and deep hurts. Two were from Chicago and three from Southern California and each had an amazing story. Two of us were survivors, two had done this walk a couple of times, several were walking for friends and family. The toughest for me was those that were walking for their Sisters. One has TWO, yes TWO sisters currently battling breast cancer. One sister got a mammogram because she was over 40 and hadn't yet. She found out she had breast cancer on both sides and had to have a double mastectomy.  She promptly insisted her sisters (5 girls in all if I am remembering correctly) get mammograms. The youngest (under duress) got a mammogram and found she not only had cancer in both breasts and her lymph system but it was already in her bones and now she is fighting for her life. I got to meet these two brave women, hug their necks and whisper we are praying for them encouraging them to battle on. Who knew how MUCH my heart would be GRIPPED by the stories I heard and the NEED for prayer for these precious women AND for the need for mammograms. Of course, a mammogram saved my life ... and thus may I encourage YOU to get yours this Breast Cancer Awareness month! Get er' done gals! It will give you a baseline if nothing else. It may save your life someday as it did mine.

 I got to share my heart about Jesus with several along the route! What a blessing! He is alive!!
My friend Maria and I did the entire 39.3 miles together, well ... after we found her at mile 5 or so and gather her up into our little group! She being 28 years old had LOTS of energy and I am so grateful we walked together as she kept us moving! :) We came over the last hill to see a "sea of pink tents" at the Wellness Village and although our toes (and hips, etc.) were hurting we were GRATEFUL to have gone the distance for sure!  

 I was told by my AVON walk representative that together, YOU and I, raised enough money to allow 19-20 women who would not be able to get mammograms to have this life-saving medical procedure! Now THAT blesses my heart! CONGRATULATIONS and THANK YOU for working with me in this endeavor! 

No kidding! A WORTHY cause! 

At the end of the day and the event ... I was blessed, encouraged, exhausted, my feet were very sore, my heart was super FULL, my eyes were wet with tears and my mind was alive with ideas and fresh memories. I was amazed, excited, sad,  determined ... oh, so full of prayers for some I met and some I didn't. The peace was overwhelming and almost palpable!

It reminded me the need to encourage even more women and men to come see Joni Eareckson Tada at our event October13th at church where she will share about her breast cancer journey and the HOPE she has in the Lord! Where faith and life-heart- aches meet in the middle and Jesus alone makes the difference.  

Please join us if you are local and register at as we have limited seating (due by October  8th). If you cannot I urge you to go to and consider ordering her brand new DVD about her Cancer Journey. I spent most of yesterday watching, re-winding, watching ... AWESOME DVDs. Very educational as well!

At the end of the walk they had a moving closing ceremony. They gave everyone a T-shirt that walked but the survivors that walked got a special t-shirt (see left) and everyone was introduced as groups.  When our group walked up to the front of the event people were cheering, high-fiving us, pom poms were waving, music was playing! Yes, I was crying like a baby.

 It was SO very moving but you know what?

I felt pretty much the same feeling when I was going right through the middle of the battle with breast cancer with all the love, meals, visits, cards, emails, flowers, gifts, notes, balloons, phone calls, text messages, Caring Bridge posts and especially the prayers!  You all might as well have been hooting and hollering and cheering and high- fiving me! Those hugs (literally and figuratively) were precious and I will FOREVER be in your debt and will remember always!

I am blessed to have each of you in my life!

Blessings and hugs and thanks for reading this loooong blog! 

Coach Kathleen