I have to admit, I’m still fighting back tears after my afternoon spent volunteering for the Susan B Komen 3 Day event. I have heard of this event, I have had friends who have participated, I have made contributions, heck I’ve even stuck frozen peas down my shirt in an effort to promote this cause. All of those things made me feel good, and that I was doing the right thing supporting friends and those that I care about.
My initial plan was to march in the DC event with my friend @geosteph. With all of the health issues I’ve battled this year, it became clear that I was not going to be in any shape to walk 60 miles. That disappointed me, but I kept that on my list of things to accomplish in 2010.
One day it hit me, that I could participate in the Dallass/Fort Worth walk as a volunteer. By the time I signed up to volunteer, the only spots that were left were for the clean up crew. The clean up crew comes in so the crew members that have been working with the walkers can participate in the closing ceremony. I thought my role would be tearing down and packing up and picking up trash. I arrived early, ready to start my clean up detail. In my mind I thought that the chairs were set up for the volunteers, that the walkers would be going directly to the closing ceremony area–no, they were all going to end up in our section of Fair Park.
We had a short volunteer meeting, and I was in the *I don’t know what I am supposed to bed doing* group. I was assigned to t-shirt duty. My spot was in the pink section of the end of the walk t-shirts. My new friend Tiffany and I were the two people designated to ask walkers if they were survivors or walkers when they walked dazed across the finish line of the walk.
My afternoon was spent cheering, clapping, saying “Good Job” “Congratulations” “Way to GO!” and directing traffic, walkers to the white shirt area, survivors what size shirt do you need. I saw people bouncy and perky, I saw people tired and worn out, I saw big smiles, I saw tears.
I am a very emotional and tender hearted person. I spent the afternoon flashing a big happy encouraging smile. There were a few times I struggled to hold back the tears when survivors and friends and families crossed the finish line. I’m pretty sure I’m in more than a few photos as people were documenting this monumental cause.
One walker stopped in front of me. I asked, “Survivor or walker?”
She said, “this year I need the survivor shirt”.
I handed her the shirt, and said “Congratulations” with my goofy but sincere grin.
She leaned across the table toward me, “Can I hug you?”
“You sure can.”
It was a long tight huggin’ the stuffin’ hug. The kind of hug that I often give to friends, the kind of hug that I wish I could give to friends at a distance in need of a hug. When she walked away, I had to turn my back for a minute to compose myself…I had dissolved into a puddle of tears.
For me, it was 7 hours out of a Sunday afternoon to drive downtown and back and to give of my time, but most importantly to give if myself. You hear the term “priceless” all the time to describe experiences. I’m not sure one could put a price on all the love and hope I felt from the 100’s of people walking in Dallas today.
It reminded me of the 3 things in the center of my vision board…my main goals.
1) Help someone achieve a dream.
2) Help someone catch the giving spirit.
3) Make someone smile every day.
I can’t even count the number of smiles I received today. People who were exhausted, near zombie like who still took the time to say thanks when you congratulated them. The workers from Susan B Komen, all sorts of people thanking us for helping today..I felt my afternoon was spent in a very meaningful way.
The best way to prepare for life is to begin to live.