It was another busy, crazy, insane weekend.
Martha and I spent 3 days (actually 4-plus if you include the training day) working the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer 3-Day walk this past weekend. For those of you who may remember, Martha walked last year and I worked on the medical crew, and I wrote about it here.
This year’s experiences were not much different than last year’s. But having had the opportunity of a year under my belt and a different venue to work in, I have some observations I think are worth sharing, mainly because I’m aware of much more than I was the first time.
Probably the most significant thing I can talk about is the volume of people. While there were less people walking this year – approximately 1600 compared to about 2000 walkers last year – the number of people who needed medical help simply by volume was higher because of the weather conditions we were working under. Day 1 consisted of lots of rain. Probably more than I think anyone expected. And we had numbers of people who suffered from mild hypothermia and exposure. Day 2 was sunny, bright, and really warm. That brought us walkers who had similar problems manifested in different ways. Day 3 was a mixed bag; mostly clear with showers in the morning and humidity throughout. And we saw a lot of walkers who were just hurting. Our sports medicine people (physical therapists and athletic trainers) saw a lot of this sort of thing.
We had some logistical problems related to supplies that were worse this year than last. On Day 2 we were starting to run out of things that we needed. Like needles to lance blisters with. Tape. IV start kits. The basics.
With all of this said, one thing that I can say with supreme confidence is that every person who worked on the crew without exception did an incredible, awesome job. I’ve said it before, but it’s a privilege to work with some outstanding professionals. Everyone’s efforts, for lack of a better word, were heroic. Almost as much as the walkers we were there to serve.
And it wasn’t just the medical crew. Everyone else, from the folks who fed us and kept the porta-johns stocked with toilet paper to the people who were on the road safety team to the kids in the youth corps, were tremendous. Nobody bitched, complained, or whined. Everyone did what needed to be done.
And there are people who I won’t forget anytime soon. Here are some of them: my new friend BJ who was in charge at Pit 1 where Martha and I were assigned. The young lady who is a survivor dealing with a recurrence and undergoing chemotherapy – she needed to be treated by us for a fever, a bad thing to have happen because of immuno-compromise. The gentleman who wouldn’t be kept down in spite of ankles who were quitting on him. He was put on medical hold and still weaseled his way back on the route on the last day. Not a smart thing to do (in fact, it was really, really stupid), but it was ballsy.
He inspired me considerably, and his determination made me think of Rocky Balboa. I know – of all people I should think of him. In the movie of the same name, he told his son that “it ain't how hard you hit; it's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward.”
For any woman (or man – yes, we can get it, too) who has to fight breast cancer, this is what it’s all about.
Will I do it again? Absolutely. For as long as I am able to.
Here are some images of the events of the weekend. Please pardon the quality of some of them; I took the photos with my mobile phone.