Six o'clock on a Sunday morning. Dawn in Albuquerque and it was already 75 degrees on a cloudless day. Going to be another scorcher. But that didn't stop more than 3,000 committed citizens who flowed into the Balloon Fiesta Park for the 2006 Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure (for breast cancer). This is the registration table, with a blowup of Louis the Lobo (UNM sports mascot) behind it.
There were lots of sponsors for this event, giving away all kinds of goodies and trinkets.
The purpose of the run/walk is to raise money for breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment. The guests of honor are the breast cancer survivors. Each survivor is given a pink T shirt, a pink bag of goodies, a free breakfast and a chance to stand up with other survivors and be honored by the crowd.
We have had several women on the clinic staff over the years that have struggled with breast cancer. This year, we were thrilled to have walking with us a survivor from our staff who couldn't walk last year because she was in the middle of chemo.
Here she is with her 16 year old daughter.
Our team, Los Globos, finally settled on the costume you see here: Trademark Lobo pawprints on a (home-decorated) T-shirt, and fuzzy gray wolf ears (also home-made, can ya tell?) on our hats.
There was a frankly silly pre-race warmup, led by one of those perky aerobics gals and followed by few.
The runners took off first, for a quick 5K'er in the full sun.
Once the runners were clear, the rest of us took off walking like a herd of, well, globos! The crowd wound
around the balloon fiesta park, past some volunteer high school cheerleaders, water tables and porta pots, and eventually back to the beginning.
Along the way we admired some of the other walkers.
This guy is a breast cancer survivor himself. He goes around the country doing these walks and speaking to remind men that they are not immune. This was his 170th race for the cure!
It was good congenial fun, but more than that, it was a tribute, a memorial, a walking prayer. I kept looking at the pink-shirted women and thinking, there but for the grace of God...As I walked, I held in my mind all the women I know who have suffered this disease. Some have survived. Some have not. Some are still struggling. All have known fear, and pain, loss, and gratitude.
Everyone finished, of course, in spite of the heat. It was only 5K, after all, a mere 3 mile walk. Compared to the journey the survivors have been on, it was nothing. I hope the funds we raised will help in some small way to lessen the burden of this awful cancer.
Oh, and by the way, Los Globos did win the Best Team Spirit award! Pizza party on Wednesday. You're all invited.