Glimpses of Grace & Lessons Learned From the Pink Bubble

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Caryn Firebaugh

10/23/2022

Focus:  “None of us, including me, ever do great things.  But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.”

COMMENTS FROM SCRIPTURE

LUKE 18:9-14  JESUS INVITES US TO BE RESPECTFUL, NOT BOASTFUL, AS MARK WAS WHEN HE BRAGGED ABOUT HOW STONG HE WAS IN HIS YOUNGER YEARS.  IF YOU ARE GOING TO TALK THE TALK, YOU BETTER WALK THE WALK, AS WELL.  IT IS BEST TO BE HUMBLE, KNOWING WE OFTEN FALL SHORT OF WHAT GOD WANTS OF US.

DESCRIBE THE 3-DAY

THE SUSAN G. KOMEN 3-DAY IS A 60 MILE WALK OVER THE COURSE OF 3 DAYS.  IT IS A WALK…NOT A RUN & THERE ARE NO PRIZES FOR BEING THE FIRST TO CROSS THE FINISH LINE.  INSTEAD… IT IS A PLACE WHERE EVERY MOMENT IS FULL OF MEANING, EMOTION & CELEBRATION. TEARS, LAUGHTER & HEALING…WE CALL IT THE PINK BUBBLE BECAUSE THOSE 3 DAYS ARE AN EXAMPLE OF THE WAY WE WISH THE WORLD WOULD BE.  NO ONE WALKS ALONE. WE ALL EXPERIENCE AN INCREDIBLE COMMUNITY OF KINDNESS & WE ARE BONDED TOGETHER IN THE COMMON GOAL OF A WORLD WITHOUT BREAST CANCER. EVERYONE IS SPECIAL!  AS WE WALKERS COVER 60 MILES ON FOOT…ROUGHLY 20 MILES PER DAY.  IS IT HARD…YES, BUT NOT AS HARD AS BREAST CANCER…NOT AS HARD AS GETTING BAD NEWS FROM YOUR SCAN…NOT AS HARD AS CHEMO & RADIATION…NOT AS HARD AS SAYING GOOD-BYE. 

WE START DAY 1 WITH A VERY EMOTIONAL OPENING CEREMONY.  WE RAISE A BANNER ON WHICH WE HAVE WRITTEN NAMES OF THOSE WE CHERISH…SOME OF THOSE NAMES WE WILL WALK IN HONOR & CELEBRATION FOR. SOME OF THOSE NAMES WE WALK IN MEMORY OF.  WE RECITE THE 3-DAY PROMISE:

          WE WALK BECAUSE WE MUST!

          WE ARE STRONG BECAUSE THE JOURNEY DEMANDS IT.

          TOGETHER IN BODY & UNITED IN SPIRIT,

WE LAY DOWN OUR FOOTSTEPS FOR THIS GENERATION & THE NEXT.

          THIS IS OUR PROMISE…A WORLD WITHOUT BREAST CANCER!

WHILE WE WALKERS SEEM TO GET MOST OF THE ATTENTION, WE COULDN’T DO WHAT WE DO WITHOUT OUR AMAZING VOLUNTEERS THAT HELP ALONG THE WAY.  

WE CALL THEM CREW.  THEY FEED US 3 MEALS A DAY. THEY ARE STATIONED ALONG THE ROUTE EVERY 3-5 MILES IN THEME-RELATED PIT STOPS OR GRAB & GOS.  THEY HELP US REMEMBER THE 3 R’S…REFUEL…REHYDRATE…RELIEVE YOURSELF & STRETCH!  THEY PROVIDE SNACKS, HYDRATION & LOTS OF ENCOURAGEMENT.  WE HAVE MEDICAL THAT BANDAGES BLISTERS & WRAPS ACHING MUSCLES & JOINTS. THEY OFFER PRIVACY FOR THE NURSING MOM TO PUMP.  WE HAVE THE BIKERS THAT LOVE TO DRESS IN PINK & DECORATE THEIR BIKES – THEY PROVIDE SAFETY AT BUSY INTERSECTIONS.   AND THEY RETURN YEAR AFTER YEAR TO KEEP US SAFE.  AND WE LOVE THE SAN DIEGO BIKE POLICE…MORE ABOUT THEM IN A BIT.

1ST 3-DAY IN KANSAS CITY

2006…LINDSEY WANTED ME TO WALK.  I WAS SO OVERWHELMED BY THE THOUGHT OF WALKING 60 MILES.  BUT I WAS INSPIRED BY OUR VERY OWN BETH BASKINS AS SHE MANAGED HER BREAST CANCER DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT.  SHE (YOU) GAVE ME THE COURAGE I NEEDED TO DO SOMETHING HARD. I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR YOUR INSPIRATION.

I MUST ADMIT I WAS VERY SELF-FOCUSED AS I TRAINED & TRAINED. CAN I DO THIS??? WHAT IF I FAIL & DON’T WALK ALL 60 MILES???   WHAT IF I DON’T RAISE ENOUGH MONEY???

I KNEW IF I COULD JUST DO ONE EVENT, I WOULD BE DONE.

THAT THINKING STARTED TO CHANGE AS THE OPENING CEREMONEY BEGAN.  SO MANY STORIES OF BRAVERY, COURAGE & LOSS. I BEGAN TO FEEL THE COMMUNITY & THE INCREDIBLE FEELING OF BEING A PART OF SOMETHING BIGGER THAN MYSELF.

ON DAY 2, FATIGUE & WEARINESS WAS STARTING TO SET IN.  WE CAME UPON A CHEERING STATION & I LOOKED INTO THE FACE OF A BALD WOMAN OBVIOUSLY BATTLING BREAST CANCER.  SHE WAS CHEERING ME ON…THAT WAS MY DEFINING MOMENT.  I KNEW MY FUTURE WOULD INCLUDE ANOTHER 3-DAY COMMITMENT. THREE MONTHS LATER MY MOM WAS DIAGNOSED WITH METASTATIC BREAST CANCER.  SHE EARNED HER ANGEL WINGS MARCH 29, 2007.

GLIMPSES OF GRACE & SMALL ACTS OF KINDNESS

MARSHA-THE KLEENEX LADY IN SAN FRANCISCO

FACE PAINTER IN SAN DIEGO

THE HUGGING LADY CHECKING US IN & OUT OF CAMP…I NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER & HEALING OF A HUG.

CHEERING STATIONS – STRAWBERRIES & CRÈME PUFFS IN MILL VALLEY,

OLD FIRE ENGINE-3-DAY WALKERS ARE HOT

CHILDREN CHEERING ON THEIR MOMS – HANDING OUT CANDY & STICKERS

SD BIKE POLICE – PINK HAIR, TUTUS, MUSIC, DANCE PARTY AT LUNCH, PINK SHIRTS ON DAY 3 (BULLET PROOF VESTS)

THE 3-DAY TRANSFORMS & HEALS – EVERY STEP IS A STORY

TOM IN SF – WAS TO WALK WITH HIS WIFE, BUT SHE PASSED AWAY 3 MONTHS PRIOR. MET IN OPENING CEREMONY-WIFE FLAG.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU SAVED ME- WOULD POSITION HERSELF STRATEGICALLY THROUGHOUT THE DAY TO CHEER US ON.

YOUTH CORPS – LAUREN-LOST HER MOTHER TO BREAST CANCER.  MY DAD MET MY NEW MOM ON THE 3-DAY!

COLETTE- SOCCER COACH IN SF- HAIR JUST GROWING OUT & DYED A DELIGHTFUL SHADE OF PINK. HER ENTIRE TEAM SURPRISED HER AS WE WALKED THROUGH THE CAL CAMPUS.

NAMES ON OUR BANDANA – CELE

NEARLY ALL WALKERS & CREW MEMBERS HAVE BEEN TOUCHED BY A BREAST CANCER DIAGNOSIS…PROBABLY MOST OF YOU IN THIS ROOM OR LISTENING ON ZOOM COULD SAY THE SAME THING…A MOM…A DAD (YES MEN GET BC)  A BEST FRIEND…A WIFE…A DAUGHTER OR THEMSELVES…& IN AN INSTANT THEIR LIVES WERE CHANGED.  BREAST CANCER PUTS YOU ON A NEW SCARY PATH, BUT I HAVE FOUND THAT THE 3-DAY TURNS THAT JOURNEY IN A FORCE FOR GOOD & OF HOPE.  AS A 3-DAY WALKER, I HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO TRULY CHANGE LIVES & THAT INCLUDES MY OWN.

IN CLOSING

I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE A LETTER FROM LARRY.  HE HAS WALKED OVER 50 3-DAY EVENTS IN MULTIPLE CITIES & HE GAVE THIS LETTER TO ANOTHER WALKER AT THE AIRPORT AS HE WENT TO BOARD HIS FLIGHT.

DAY 4    

FOR THREE DAYS, WE HAVE COME TOGETHER TO CREATE A BETTER WORLD…NO ONE IS IGNORED OR OVERLOOKED…EVERYONE IS CHERISHED & INCLUDED.  AND WHEN WE RETURN TO THE REAL WORLD…REMEMBER TO HYDRATE…TO STRETCH…& TO FLUSH!  IN THE REAL WORLD, PEOPLE DON’T CHEER AS YOU WALK DOWN THE STREET…AND PEOPLE MAY NOT THANK YOU EVERY DAY OR TELL YOU HOW MAGNIFICENT YOU ARE.

REMEMBER SOMETHING…NO MATTER HOW FAR YOU WALK OR HOW MUCH MONEY YOU RAISED, YOU ARE EXTRAORDINARY.  YOU DO MATTER.  YOU CAN MAKE A DIFERENCE.  REMEMBER THIS IN THE DAYS & MONTHS AFTER THE 3-DAY…WHEN YOUR KIDS PULL AT YOU…OR YOUR BOSS CRITICIZES YOU…OR YOUR PARTNER IS INSENSITIVE.

WHEN YOU ARE FEELING FAR FROM THE 3-DAY, REMEMBER WHAT MAKES IS SPECIAL IS STILL WITHIN YOU.  IT’S WHO YOU ARE…WHO YOU CHOOSE TO BE.  OUR JOURNEY DOESN’T END AT CLOSING.  IT’S JUST ANOTHER STEP ALONG THE PATH OF OUR LIVES.  THE LESSON WE HAVE TO LEARN IS HOW TO MAKE EVERY DAY SPECIAL…FILLED WITH KINDNESS & COMPASSION…A TRIBUTE TO THOSE WE’VE LOST, THOSE WHO STILL BATTLE & THOSE WHO’VE SURVIVED.

AS KIDS, IF WE DIDN’T FINISH A LESSON IN CLASS, WE’D GET HOMEWORK.  HERE’S OUR HOMEWORK.  THE NEXT TIME SOMEONE’S IN TROUBLE & NEEDS HELP, WALK TOWARDS THEM…NOT AWAY.  THE NEXT TIME SOMEONE’S IN PAIN & NEEDS SOMEONE TO LISTEN, WALK TOWARDS THEM, NOT AWAY.  AND THE NEXT TIME WE’RE TIRED & CAN’T TAKE ANOTHER STEP…TAKE IT ANYWAY.

THE 3-DAY CAN CHANGE HOW WE LOOK AT LIFE & HOW WE INTERACT WITH OTHERS.  IF WE OPEN OURSELVES UP TO THE EXPERIENCE, WE WON’T BE THE SAME PERSON WE WERE BEFORE.  THAT’S WHY WE GET HOMEWORK.

SALUTE

AT OUR CLOSING CEREMONY, WE TAKE OFF A SHOE IN SALUTE TO OUR SURVIVERS WHEN THEY WALK IN ARM-IN-ARM.  I SALUTE THE SURVIVORS IN THIS SPECIAL PLACE & AT HOME ON ZOOM.  MAY WE WELCOME THE HOMEWORK THAT COMES OUR WAY!