As you know, on October 22nd my mom, my sister and I participated in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5k walk with many local ladies’ intervened by this mommy makeover surgeon. It was a glorious autumn morning in west central Florida with morning temps in the 60s!! My husband and I headed out bright and early to get to the Sarasota Polo Club, where the walk was being held. As soon as we got off the interstate we were greeted with signs pointing the way. There were sheriff deputies every few intersections too, they were really prepared for the crowd.
Due to the amount of people it took a while to park but the volunteers were doing a great job getting everyone where they needed to be. We got out of the van and I donned my pink bra and tiara and headed to the golf cart that would take us closer to the event. My mom and sister had arrived early to attend the survivor’s breakfast, so after I checked in and banked the last of my donations we headed over to the survivor’s tent where the festivities were just wrapping up. Mom headed toward the bleachers to join the other survivors for a group photo.
Then we had some time to get organized and visit the vendors and support groups that were represented. Over on the main stage a Jazzercize group was leading the crowd in some warm up exercises-which were needed especially due to the chilly un-Florida like weather. Next we headed to the starting area.
What I haven’t told you yet in any of these posts is that my mom is not only a 5 year breast cancer survivor she also suffers from COPD and is on oxygen 24/7. She works out regularly on her treadmill and in the swimming pool and completing this 5k was a HUGE goal for her. My sister on the other hand, is a runner so she was going to carry mom’s portable oxygen machine while we walked.
The walk started v-e-r-y slowly trying to get the thousands of walkers down the path and onto the streets surrounding the polo grounds. At about 1/2 mile into the walk or should I say crawl still at this point, mom’s oxygen machine started beeping that her battery was low! It said it was on 2 which should have meant at least an hour of oxygen left but it was already beeping. We discussed our options a) send Wendy back to get the backup battery supply b) keep walking til we get to a water station c) ignore it. Mom insisted we ignore it but by the time we made the first big turn the machine was warning us it was about dead. Mom shut off her machine and kept walking. Sending Wendy back was no longer an option because of the fences around the property at the Polo Club there was no short cut to take. Shortly after the one mile marker we found an official and we told him our predicament. He assured us the only answer was for mom to stay with him and wait for a golf cart to pick her up. He promised the cart would drop her off before the finish line so she could finish on her own and with tears in her eyes she said “But I won’t really be finishing” 🙁 Wendy and I promised to finish the walk for her and we left her with the official.
By now the crowd had thinned out with walkers all moving along at their own pace. We settled into a comfortable cadence and enjoyed the beautiful scenery, the mansions with horses running in the side yards were just breathtaking. I was inspired by the thousands of people walking for a single cause. Men, women, teens and children all wearing pink. Many with signs of who they are walking for. I felt like I was a part of something bigger-a movement to eradicate a disease and put an end to how this disease effects families. It was a great feeling.
I got excited as I passed each 1/2 mile marker. I was feeling good, not tired or winded like I sometimes due thanks to my anemia. When we rounded the final corner, I saw a golf cart go by and I saw my mom on it. It was a bittersweet moment because I know how much she wanted to complete the 5k. As we approached the finish line I felt such a sense of accomplishment and pride I can’t really explain it. We met up with mom and she was doing better, there are somethings that we just can’t control and her oxygen machine is one of them 🙂
I want to thank all of my online and offline friends who supported my walk with a financial donation Pat Fischer, Jean Simmons, Laurie Brosius, Ginger Davis and Rene Syler. We raised $120 not quite half of my $250 but hey-we did something and we WILL do more next year!