This is where the morning turns just a tad bit amazing. Due to the cool nature of the morning, I was wearing LOTS of layers of pink: I had on my AmCancerSoc pink zippy, and on top of that my Nike HOT pink winter hooded jacket. On top of that was my new SURVIVOR sash. On top of that was my many-ribboned inspirational scarf that so many folks had adorned with prayers, blessings & wishes shortly after my diagnosis & surgery a couple years back. On the top of my head sat my CURE hat -- from all of those bicycle rides this summer, and to top off the whole ensemble I was wearing my butterfly boppers..... a memento from my first Komen walk with our MI BCO sisters up in Detroit.
Well somehow in that whole sea of pink the young fellow in charge of the entire morning "noticed" me taking pictures of the welcoming balloon archway. He asked if I'd follow him & meet our official radio talk-show host M.C. for the kick-off celebration. So then off we went to meet Ms. Ireland of Sunny 95. She put my name on her clipboard & then before I knew it we were on the stage together & she was introducing me.
We had a mini-interview where she asked me about the scarf and so I told that happy, upbeat, all-smiles story. Once she handed me the microphone I realized I was poised for a unique opportunity to tell more than the story behind my scarf. So after I concluded that chapter, I continued and told the assembled several thousand walkers of the name of our little team: "Away We Go for Heidi Ho" and a very abbreviated story of our fellow sister Heidi who lost her life barefly six months after her BC diagnosis at the young age of 43, leaving her two very young children without their mommy. Of course I got choked up -- as did the crowd. So then I took a very deep breath and said that I wanted to hear a great big 'clapping' for Heidi. Just as soon as the clapping started, I enthusiastically said, "Away We Go for Heidi Ho!!" to big cheers, lots of clapping and my exit from the center stage.
[Despite all of the pink, all of the cheery happiness, and all of the corporate sponsors, we do indeed continue to lose our sisters. It is heart wrenching to continue to lose some of our best & brightest. I was allowed to have a few moments on the stage and to focus on that fact. We need progress and we need a cure.]
Then our DJ/MC led us in a moment of silence, which of course always takes my breath away. We were then led in the singing of the Star Spangled Banner, and then the final count-down for everyone to get underway, going under the balloon archway starting point and reflecting on all that's happened since we walked together last time.