Saturday, May 18, 2013

Breast Cancer 3-Day 2007 Day One Arrival |Opening Ceremony | First Steps

DAY ONE – Friday, August 24, 2007
Arrival - I woke up at 3:00am to get ready for the morning, eat breakfast, a last-minute check of my gear and pack up the truck. I was on the road by 4:00am – no “normal” people were up at this time. Picked up my teammates, Angie, Deanna and Chris at Chris’ house in Inver Grove at 4:30am. Everyone looked tired, but excited to begin! We began our venture out to Coon Rapids, where opening ceremonies and the starting line resided for the 2007 Twin Cities Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk. When we pulled up to the Anoka-Ramsey Community College the line of cars dropping off walkers was miles long and we hit the lot – jumped out, grabbed gear and GO! With all of our bags marked with our name and tent number, we dropped off our gear at our gear truck (gear truck F) and made our way to the ceremony stage. You could tell we were all a little nervous, and maybe not yet fully awake. The venture officially began as we walked into the holding area - as a team!

Opening Ceremony – Not before long, the early morning darkness faded into the light of morning. The Opening Ceremony began at 6:30, sunrise, with greetings from 3-Day staff to the walkers and crew and a wonderful speech from Jenne Fromm, the 3-Day Spokesperson, who told many stories of reason why some of the walkers were participating this year. A group stretch also took place, which was interesting to see over 2,500 hundred people crammed into a small space trying to do hamstring stretches and bending over. The ceremony untied all the walkers and crew in kicking off the amazing journey we were all about to take. During the ceremony, walkers carried in flags with words such as “hope”, “love”, “healing”, “celebrations”, “dreams”, “turning point” and “victories”. These flags were carried at previous 3-Day walks this year in Chicago, Boston, and Cleveland, and would be carried by walkers throughout the walk in the Twin Cities and following walks. They are to remind us of why we were walking. The flags made their way to the front stage as a special group of survivors gathered on the center stage. The survivors stood in a circle and raised their joined hands in the air as a sign of victory of their fight with breast cancer. All around me were people cheering and crying – it was very emotional. It would not be the last time I would see, and be a part of, cheering and crying. During the Opening Ceremony, the only news crew I saw was channel 4 and their cameras seemed to only be out before the opening ceremony started, which was really surprising that there was so little, if any, coverage.

First Steps – Shortly after 7am on Au-gust 24th, 2007 the Twin Cities Breast Cancer 3-Day walk began. Over 2,500 walkers took their first steps across the starting line. We were about 50 feet from the stage, which resulted in us being in the 2nd wave of walkers released. Our team made our way to the First Step starting line and began our journey. When I crossed the starting line I felt an overwhelming wave of emotion, which increased as we passed by other walkers waiting to start their journey, giving us high-fives and cheers along the way. We also walked passed hundreds of spectators with signs supporting their friends/family but stayed until every walker passed by.

The first hour of the day was filled with amazing sights – a constant stream of women and men walking two or three abreast, uninterrupted for more than two miles. It is the only time during the whole 3- day event that every walker started the walk together. From the Anoka-Ramsey school in Coon Rapids, we made our way down Mississippi Boulevard to the trail entrance into the Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park. This is where I was handed the “Turning Points” flag to carry. We passed through the normally quiet suburban residential neighborhoods where families were sitting in their lawn chairs in their yards with signs, balloons and cheers for all of us walkers. Some houses where even decorated in pink the night before because the owners worked that Friday during the day. From there we continued on the trails in the park back onto Mississippi Blvd from 86th Avenue until reentering the regional trail near Redwood Street – then into “friendly” Fridley. Our team was unfamiliar with the area, which may have helped the time pass more quickly as we did not know where we were or where we were going. Most of the morning we walked along a trail that followed the Mississippi River, under a canopy of oak and elm trees. 

Keep Your Eyes Open for the Next Blog! 

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