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Friday, October 11, 2013

Walk 30k in mama's shoes

I just walked 30k in my mother’s shoes. Actually, it was more like 22k. My own shoes didn’t self-destruct until the 8k mark. I was part of Kemptville Walks for Mammography on Oct. 5 and things were going along swimmingly, I was swingin’ my arms and cruisin’ right along. The only part of me that hurt was my old lady hips. My feet felt great. Then suddenly a mouth appeared on my fave old Australian Reeboks and I almost fell over and broke my neck.
I stopped and my walking partner turned to see what was holdin’ me up. “I have a mouth,” I reported. “On my shoe.” I lifted my foot to show her the damage. My brain started racing, searching for a solution. Just then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw my mother’s van approaching. “Mom!” I looked left and right and then hop-skipped across 44 to where she had pulled over. I thought maybe I could give her my truck keys and she could run back to the starting point and get my spare shoes for me. I realized she probably had better things to do with her Saturday but that’s just the kind of mom she is. The amazing kind.
“I was just on my way to the gym,” Mom said. “You can have my shoes!” She wears the same size as me, but the shoes were the rockin’ and rollin’ style of Skechers that made me feel like I was walking in ski boots. It only took me a few strides to get used to them and soon I was strolling in what might be the most comfortable pair of shoes I have ever worn.
And that is how I did the 30k. In my mama’s shoes. Thanks, Mom. I love you.
The route this year took us through a gorgeous kaleidoscope of coloured leaves in the Ferguson Forest Centre. I had forgotten those trails that we walked on elementary school field trips and summer day camp excursions. What a beautiful slice of nature we have bordering one of the fastest growing communities in Eastern Ontario. Back out in civilization, we got some honks and waves and I even picked up a donation from Steve Cater, who pulled over to cheer us on.
Why do we do these walks for cancer? Yes, it is a symbolic way to raise awareness about the struggle that each cancer patient is going through. It is also a personal challenge for many. But the thing I love about doing the Terry Fox Run or Kemptville Walks is that for those few minutes or hours, you are forced to be in the moment. You think about the people you have lost to cancer and the ones who are currently dealing with it in one form or another.
My favourite part of the walk this year was seeing an old friend, whom I haven’t spoken to much since high school (outside of Facebook). Leanne just got her breast cancer diagnosis a couple months ago. She started her therapy a couple weeks ago. Last week her family of boys shaved their heads in solidarity with her. Leanne was waiting at the side of the route with her sister and husband as we rounded the bend. I took note of her beanie hat and new hoodie, emblazoned with an embroidered pink ribbon and “My Journey to Wellness” slogan.  Well that just made it real. We had a good hug and I continued on my way. At every pit stop, Leanne was there in her van and her husband and sister were handing out water bottles. She smiled her beautiful smile and cracked her jokes and it was just gorgeous Leanne, without any hair. Thank you, Leanne, for sharing this event with us. I understand she did Run for the Cure in the rain on Sunday, as well.
I would like to give a shout out to my STAR 975fm morning show host, Drew Hosick. Drew has been doing a lot of walking this year, in his own personal fitness campaign. But I know the 30k was a challenge for him, and he was definitely feeling the pain at the halfway mark. As he approached the finish line, he felt dizzy and almost fell over at about 26k. Just then Leanne and her husband showed up, and they offered to walk the rest of the way with Drew to the finish line. It was a pretty emotional event for all of us who were watching, waiting and cheering them on. Congratulations to everyone who took part in the 10k and 30k, and many thanks to all who donated. Over $50,000 has been raised for Mammography at Kemptville District Hospital.

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