A sea of pink tents during the Susan G. Komen 3-Day walk. Courtesy photo
Even the port-a-potties showcase support for the fight against breast cancer during the Susan G. Komen 3-Day walk. Courtesy photo
By NANCY PARTRDIGE
By the time you read this I will be in Seattle.
Along with a few thousand people, I will be walking 60 miles in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day to raise funds for breast cancer research, education and treatment.
I am walking in gratitude for the early detection that prevented me from having a difficult journey and I am walking for all the reasons I have shared with you in columns in the Los Alamos Daily Post during the past 10 weeks.
During the past 24 weeks I have walked more than 700 miles, led training walks for other Susan G. Komen walkers on early Sunday mornings in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, gone through three pairs of shoes, killed a Garmin and a Fitbit, applied three tubes of sunscreen, consumed a case of Gatorade, and used up a tube or two of Arnica and Aspercream.
Here is an overview of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day walk:
Today, a few of us will meet with the crew and we will have a rehearsal for the opening and closing ceremonies. I’m more than a bit nervous about this. For 17 years I have been one of the thousands of walkers in the crowd watching the people on stage during the ceremonies. This time I get to be on stage with the researchers, doctors and support services as they receive checks directly from the funds that have been raised by the Seattle walkers.
Friday, we all gather at 5:30 a.m. at the Seattle Center to drop off our gear bags at the tent trucks, slather on sunscreen, have a breakfast snack, then Opening Ceremonies begin (tissues are required as we remember those we have lost and support those currently in the fight). The walk route opens a little after 7 a.m. and we head out on a 21.4-mile route through downtown Seattle before taking the 520 trail to Medina across from Lake Washington.
We stop for lunch provided by one of our grant recipients in Bellevue, then walk along the Microsoft Campus Headquarters and through the neighborhoods of Bellevue, Redmond and along Lake Sammamish. The day ends at camp at Marymoor Park, where we spend the night in a sea of pink tents and pink port-a-potties. There is a tent decoration competition, which my teammate Martha Lauer Cowley and I are hoping to win.
Our two-person pink tent is going to become TaTa Tartuga (think Pirates of the Caribbean), the party place for pink pirates and scallywags. We have a banner and a pirate flag as well as pink pirate swords, gold beads and coins, and pink eye patches.
Saturday, the route again opens at 7 a.m. I will be on the lookout for Cow Man as we walk 21.3 miles on the Sammamish River Trail then through downtown Redmond and surrounding neighborhoods to Kirkland. We get to walk through the woods on the way to lunch at Juanita Bay. Then we walk through downtown Kirkland along the shores of Lake Washington and into Redmond to camp at Marymoor Park for another night in pink tents with pink port-a-potties.
I’m a credentialed “Safety Walker,” which just really means I know how to do all the stuff we all learned in kindergarten. Along the route I will be doing for the tired walkers what they may not do for themselves – looking both ways at intersections, stopping at red lights, reminding walkers not to use their cellphones while walking, flagging down the sweep van for sick or injured walkers, etc.
Sunday, we all climb aboard buses that take us to Husky Stadium where we start walking along the Burke Gilman Trail. We walk past Lake Union and around the north side of the lake. We will pass through Gas Works Park, the historic Fremont neighborhood and over the Fremont Bridge then wind around the west side of Lake Union.
After lunch, we walk through the northern part of downtown and back on the Elliot Bay Trail to the Seattle Center and Memorial Stadium for closing ceremonies (more tissues required as we celebrate survivors and research accomplishments).
The first thing I do when I pass under the huge pink balloon finish line is to walk straight to the registration tent to sign up for next year’s walk. The options for my 19th year of walking to raise funds for breast cancer research, education, and treatment are Atlanta, Dallas, Michigan, Philadephia, San Diego, Seattle or the Twin Cities.
In the meanwhile, I will walk in the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk Oct. 6 in Santa Fe. Everyone is invited to join Team Nancy and walk with me – no fundraising minimum and the walk is only a few miles. http://main.acsevents.org/goto/npartridge
About the author: Nancy Partridge is a native of Los Alamos. She learned to walk about a year after being born at Los Alamos Medical Center. A few years later she learned to be a Safety Walker in Mrs. Benton’s kindergarten class at Mesa Elementary School.