Monday, July 4, 2011

Walk For A Good Cause

Just as most people can't imagine 4th of July without BBQ and fireworks... at our house, Independence Day just seems incomplete without getting our fitness on!

It's a family tradition (well... more like 'mom & kids tradition') in our home to start 4th of July off bright and early with a 5k!  I've participated off and on for several years in the local C.A.T. Walk/ Fun Run 5k that is held every July 4th.  C.A.T. stands for Cancer Awareness and Treatment and is an annual fundraising event. 

All of my kids (except for Teen Star, who did a different 5k with me last fall) have now done the C.A.T. Walk with me, this year being Jabberjaw's first time.

Some years we have walked, other's we've run, depending on individual fitness levels (ok... depending on my  current fitness level!).  A few years back I was doing really well with my running and had both Bookworm (who was training for HS Cross Country at the time) and Genius join me in running the whole thing.  This year Genius will be joining the High School Cross Country team in the fall and ran the whole thing alone.  Jabberjaw wanted to run the whole thing, but as my fitness level wasn't quite there this year, he had to settle for run/walking it with me, as I knew he would not be able to keep up with his teenage brother.

Jabberjaw was just happy to be finally old enough to participate in a full, large-scale event.  He has participated in Kid's Dash's before, but this was the first time he got to be with "the big kids" and actually do the full 5k.  He did great, although he started tiring about half way through and walked for quite a ways before I let him run full out about the last 3/4 of a mile or so and meet his brother at the finish line.  I was happy to come in to the finish in just under 50 minutes and was well ahead of the extremely large pack of walkers.

The weather was beautiful and there is always such a great spirit of community at this event.  They announced over the mic, before the event began, that there was a record-breaking turnout this year of over 1400 participants!  They also mentioned that in the event's 11 years running it has raised over $500,000 to aid in treating and finding a cure for cancer.  What an amazing thing to be involved in!

It really hits you how many people are affected by this disease when you look around at how many people at the event are wearing the cancer survivor shirt (different color).  It was especially poignant when I saw a young boy, probably around Jabberjaw's age, wearing the survivor color.  Many of those who are wearing the regular color have papers pinned to their shirts stating who they are walking either "In honor of..." or "In memory of..." 

 I didn't write any names on a paper, but I, too, had people on my mind as I walked/ran.  I have several friends who have been battling cancer this year or in recent years.  I was grateful, as I walked in their honor, that they are all doing well in their battle against cancer.  After everything each one of them has been through, walking a 5k seemed very small by comparison.  I thought about how grateful I am to be healthy and able to walk and run.  I was honored to spend my Independence Day trying to get the world one step closer to being Cancer Free!


Lora said...

Cancer free....that would be nice. Good job! I keep telling myself I'm gonna do one of those, but not yet :) Glad you had a fun 4th!!

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