Friday, August 12, 2011

Ta-Tas on Parade!

I knew that would grab your attention!

Today is a type of paid holiday for me.  It's the one day out of the year when the Susan G. Komen 3-Day For the Cure parades across the sidewalk just outside my office window.  I throw candy at the passing floats while blowing a kazoo.  No, I don't.  I sit working at my office PC while peripherally glancing at the scene outside my window for the better part of the day.

That scene includes thousands of women (and quite a few men) marching through my work day in bright pink get-ups, raising money to find a cure for breast cancer.  Many of them sporting funky head-gear such as neon visors, Easter bonnet-type hats, pink do rags worn hanging in the back (partially convincing me they'll march themselves straight to the desert by the end of tonight!) and things I couldn't make out from the distance, but what appeared to be some sort of balloon animal hats. (Although, I fear they may have been some sort of cap with fake boobies attached.)

Everyone combined creates a sea of bubblegum pink dotted with lime green. (The green for the pink-wary, I assume.)  There must be a breast cancer store where these wardrobe purchases are made, because everybody has some combination of the same pink top/black shorts, pink top/pink bottoms, green top with black spandex or, for the bold fashionista, a mixture of pink and green.  There were also a few small tribes donning Smurf blue. But, I'm guessing these uniforms were not purchased at the breast boutique, they must have just had a mall date together in the days leading up to the event. For the record, this day also witnesses more fanny packs than the entire year of 1993.

I hear hoots and whistles outside my open window.  Passing cars honk in support and the triumphant will raise a fist or toss a friendly wave.  The wearier the walker, the more the gesture looks like a "wave away". (Honk!) Limp wrist flinging upward, "Yeah yeah, I hear ya. Can't you see I'm walking here?"

There's also the same small group within the group I see every year decked out in the Pluto souvenir hats you can only score at Disney theme parks.  Y'know, the hats with the dog ears that flop down over your own?  I'm guessing there's some sort of story there. Seeing fewer in the pack of Plutos this year, my imaginary story turns bleak. (I'll later convince myself that any missing parties from the Pluto Posse must have not been able to get the day off of work to participate. That's all. Right?) 

And, that's the most distracting thing about the 3-Day event.  Not the constant cheering, the honking car horns or the sponsored van blasting inspirational workout music along the route.  It's knowing that every set of passing feet I see that day has a story.  The minimum fundraising requirement to participate in a 3-Day walk is $2,300.  I know how hard it is to raise $2,300 in the midst of the current Michigan economy.  That further convinces me that no one is walking in vain. 

It's hard for me to face my computer and tap away at my duties when I'm creating sagas for every walker in my head.  The large groups of cheerful woman in the brightest of pink are survivors and families of, I say.  The banner holders with the perfect posture bearing the colors of their loved one march so proudly, happy to carry the extra burden on a day like today.  The lone men you see here and there who seem not to belong to any group but their own, to me, are the widowers.  Or, the men whose loved ones are in the hospital or at home waining from their treatments, hanging on to the hope that their husbands efforts this day might soon  free them from the tumored chains that bind them.

One group of two actually caused me to swallow a sob.  They passed by around 12:30 this afternoon. A pair of older gentleman, near seventy I'd say.  My mind went aflurry with what their story must be.  How long ago their heartbreaks took place.  Did they know each other before today?  They kept a slow pace, but a steady one.  Soldiers and brothers for the cause that touched both their lives somehow at some point.  This disease altered both their life courses somewhere along the way and so they each scraped together their $2,300, in whatever circles they could charm, because they refused to let their love one's story fade.  I'm glad they found each other.  I prayed for their legs today.

Today I prayed for alot of strangers.  I saw women in knee braces, knowing their legs aren't strong, but pushing through somehow.  Women pacing too quickly and panting before the day was even half over.  Men and women marching through their grief, working up the nerve to share their battle wounds at the camp that night.  Smiling faces of survivors, who seem to walk on air, having hope to share at that same dinner tent.

Now, I'm not naive.  I know throwing money at a disease doesn't necessary arise a remedy.  A cure is not an auction, just waiting on the highest bidder to come forth.  But, while science uses these wonderful donations to continue their research and make the advances that didn't exist a hundred years ago, there's more that this event does.  It provides the biggest group therapy session imaginable to the hurting.  It helps others to physically see that they are not alone in the battle.  It gives those who have been there and have been helped, to have their chance to now do the same for someone else.  There is strength, love and hope in those numbers. 

And, as the parade passes out of my sight and moves along its way, I realize it will push past thousands of other office windows, homes and cars moving cautiously through traffic. Causing thousands of new spectators to swallow their sobs and wonder these warriors' stories.   Making thousands of others simply aware.

1 comment:

)O( Figgy )O( said...

Brava! Very visual blog again my lovely niece! Maybe one day, in my children's lifetime there will be a cure! Until then, we walk to remember, hope and support.