It is hard to describe the 3 days that Team New Kids experienced. You can describe the weather, sometimes the sore muscles, the unending trips to find a bathroom, the snacks, the cheers, and all the pink that surrounded us, but it is hard to sum up the experience as a whole. Each day of the Atlanta 3-day was special.
It started on Day 1 with a heartfelt opening ceremony that got us pumped up to walk out of Lake Lanier. We were encouraged along the way at the cheering stations by family members and on-lookers alike. We got high fives from little kids at an elementary school! We were so excited to sit down and eat lunch and then it started pouring down rain. We got soaked and a little disheartened but ended up laughing hysterically. We were thrilled when we realized we only had 4 more miles to walk that day. We were even more excited to see friends and family come out (in the rain) to cheer us on that last mile to the buses back to camp. And boy were we excited to see chair massages by Energizer at camp. That first night I was amazed to be surrounded by so many pink tents inside the Georgia Trade Center. It was a true sea of pink. We got to enjoy some good food and entertainment to boost our spirits. And I was really excited for that hot shower and no one passing out!
Day 2 started out cold and stayed that way the rest of the day, but there was no rain! We got to see friends and family again and just a couple of miles into Day 2 and this time Kim was surprised by having her dad, brother, his wife and their kids drive down from Ohio. It was so much fun to see her so happy! We had a very cold but dry lunch. We huddled under mylar blankets and were excited to be halfway done with our walk. There were so many people that came out on Saturday and Sunday to cheer us on. It was inspiring to have those individuals come out and cheer us on. It was inspiring to have music blasting by the crew dressed in costumes each time you crossed the street. It was inspiring to see a woman walking in a walking boot with a broken foot. It was inspiring to see a woman with cancer walking with her chemo bag and oxygen and when she couldn't walk, a teammate pushed her in a wheelchair. These were the things that kept us walking as it got colder and we got sorer. But we finished Day 2 with a treat of sneaking off and going to dinner with our friends and family! There were bathrooms that flushed and a sink! You can't imagine how exciting that is after 50 porta potties. That night we heard the story of a dad walking with his 16 year old daughter to try to find a cure before she would need one. We heard the story of a 29 year old woman who has already fought 2 kinds of cancer and the Tuesday before our walk was diagnosed with a 3rd type.
Day 3, we were sore and hurting but we wanted to finish and with the stories of the night before in my mind, I was ready to get going. I think Day 3 was probably the best even though it was the hardest. We were walking into Atlanta and seeing the skyline getting closer and closer and places you recognized was so exciting. We kept walking and in the end, we walked every step they put in front of us (and some extra ones with runs into CVS, Office Depot, RiteAid, and Subway to find bathrooms). We entered the holding area before closing ceremonies with an exciting, hand-in-hand walk into Turner Field with music blasting and other walkers cheering us on. Closing ceremonies was another hard to describe moment. Our team went in arm-in-arm and thought about the last 3 days and 60 miles. I was honored to be able to be there with breast cancer survivors and raise a shoe as they came in.
While I can describe the events of the 3-Day. It is hard to describe the little things that happened around us each moment and the inspiration I felt from the whole weekend. If you want be inspired and in the end to be proud of yourself, I recommend participating in next year's 3-Day. I got so much more out of the event than I thought I would. I was inspired, I couldn't believe I completed that physical challenge, and I was closer to 5 other womean than I was 3 days before.
Thank you to each and every person that encouraged me or encouraged by teammates. Thank you for your donations! Thank you for working to find a cure to breast cancer! With the help of each of you, Atlanta raised $5.6 million dollars!