Wednesday, November 10, 2010

2010 Tampa Bay 3-Day for the Cure Recap ~ Day 0

Over the last week, I have been trying to absorb the 3-Day and put the experience in words, but I have come to the conclusion that it isn't possible to express the love, emotions, and gratitude that have become entwined in my heart by this AWESOME experience. Bear with me as I dig through the emotions and try to recap this life-changing journey for you. An online album of pictures from this journey can be viewed at http://picasaweb.google.com/htapley821

On Wednesday, October 27,  I ventured over the mountain and through the woods to pick up mom ~ Rose, so we could make the journey to Florida on Thursday. The ride over the mountain couldn’t have been more beautiful. The leaves were in full glory from deep burgundy red to golden yellow, and the preceding day’s rain made miniature waterfalls over the face of the rocks ~ it was truly a gift from God and a wonderful start for an incredible journey

After a restless night, Mom and I woke up early eager to start making our journey. From the moment we got to the airport we knew this was going to be a day like no other (not because of the police dogs due to bomb threats). Because of our pink attire including ribbon necklaces and mom’s rose hat, we got the attention of many people around us, and the stories of breast cancer surrounded us. The security guard who checked mom’s medicine told me her mom, Pat, was a nine year survivor. Then when we got on the tram, Sarah, a woman in her 30s announced she was a one year survivor. Her battle included a double mastectomy and radiation and chemotherapy, and it was obvious her curly short hair was the result of chemo. Her cancer didn't show up on mammogram but she knew it was cancer before the doctor she worked for broke the news to her. As we were exiting the tram, another young woman (Kristy), also in her 30s, announced she was also a survivor who also had a double mastectomy. Mom told them to keep the positive attitude.

Once we landed in Tampa, the big small world became more apparent. As mom waited for me outside the restroom, she was approached by two women , Kim and Donna ~ who were on the same flight as us, and they were also walking over the weekend. We all made our way to meet Michele.  Michele had also made arrangements from the 3-Day message board to give the the Bippity Boopity Boobs from Pennsylvania a ride to their hotel. These three women were easy to spot since they were wearing 3-Day shirts from the walk the year before. At the same time we were approached by Airport Girl who was also there to pick up a friend, and they were also walking in the 3-Day. We greeted each other as 3-Dayers do with hugs.

After gathering luggage, we headed to the beach to take the Boobs to their hotel. As we drove over Sand Key Bridge, the excitement in the vehicle rose;  we could see the park where the Opening Ceremony was to be held, and it was adorned the 3-Day way. Michele made a little detour before dropping the Boobs off at their hotel,  and we drove through the park. It was hard to believe the event was finally here. Michele, Mom, and I later joked this experience was like having a baby since we had been planning for nine months and soon we would go through 3-days of labor.

To be continued...

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