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This weekend was full of emotions. We were looking forward to the Tidewater Run for the Cure (which included the Virginia Beach area.) It was our first ever participation in a charity event dedicated to eradicating breast cancer.
We arrived early at downtown Virginia Beach and waited our turn to pull into the parking garage along with thousands of other runners and supporters. The race began at 8:30 AM but we were there about 7:00 AM. In some ways, I knew what to expect. I have participated in a lot of races 'back in the day' and it was fun to be around the excitement.
Many people had were part of teams of eight or ten runners and some had colorful T-shirts, or hats or other identifying garb. In some ways the atmosphere was festive, as we celebrated the lives of our loved ones and friends whom we were thinking about.
Our ForTheLoveOfMeghan Team had eight people on it and we gathered at Starbucks. The morning was cool and chilly with a pretty good wind. But the day was bright and sunny. There were lots of tents and booths and vendors around the city center - Neptune Park - and along the boardwalk where the race started and ended.
The crowds numbered in the thousands and it was very crowded. We could hear the national anthem being played to start things off. After that, we meandered around for a while before we all tried to line up for the run.
It was jam packed and took almost six minutes to get to the Starting Line. We started out running slowly for about 10 yards, then came to a complete stop as there were hundreds of walkers moving out ahead of us. We made our way over to the sidewalk and weaved in and out of folks until about a quarter of a mile down the road before we were finally on our way.
I got to run with Kelly. She decided she was going to run with me and I loved it. We saw many people who had notes on their shirts proclaiming who they were rememembering or who they were running for.
In addition to running for Meghan, I also ran for Barbara Brown and wrote here name on my back. She is in week two of chemo for breast cancer and lives in Buffalo, New York. We met Jon and Barbara Brown in the 1980's when we all were stationed in Hawaii and attended the same church.
During the run, I experienced a lot of different emotions. Running is an emotional thing for me anyway. I am greatful to be able to run because I enjoy it so much. But over the years I have had ankle, calf, tendon, etc etc issues and so I consider it a gift to be able to run at my age of 57. I thought of Meghan and I thought of the thousands of people there - and all over - who are impacted by cancer. When you see faces and names of people who have died it is pretty startling. It is such an insidious disease.
Kelly and I ran for 5 minutes and then walked 1; ran 5 and walked 1; ....5 and 1 etc and we had no trouble making it to the end of the 5K.
We saw some very sad things as people named who they were running for. One lady wrote: "I am running for me - stage IV cancer". Stuff like that is sad. Running for Meghan is sad. We all miss her so much. But the more I think about it I know she would not like us to mope and feel sorry for ourselves. We know she is in a better place and she'd want us to run, enjoy life and make a difference.
It was so great to have her parents, Marg and Bill here with us for the run. They stayed with Kelly at her house and delayed their return to Canada a day so they could be there for the run. It was really great to see them again and to spend time with them during the week.
I have lost count as to how many people have run for Meghan or have created ForTheLoveOfMeghan teams in her honor and memory. But I know there have been at least 10 around the country and in Canada. Our run was on Saturday, but on Sunday, niece Heidi ran a half-marathon (13.1 miles) for Meghan in Denver, Colorado. Way to go Heidi!
One of the hard things is not having Adam here to be with us. I know he would have loved to be part of it all. But he is called to be where he is in India, volunteering in Meghan's memory. It is one of Meghan's goals that he has dedicated himself to fulfilling. This weekend was really hard for him too. Talk about being alone...
But I know he will make it and work through it. He amazes us and we are very proud of him.
Glady, he called from India about 10 minutes before the race was started and Pam was able to talk with him a few minutes before the phone connection got so bad it dropped off. Still - it was good to talk and he knew we were thinking of him and Meghan and to hear his voice.
The event raised lots of money I am sure and our team raised over $500 (thank you Brad, Jane, and Diane and all the others.) There will be other opportunities to give and I will spend a blog highlighting Meghan's favorite cancer charity - the Kelly Shires Foundation - at another time.
So the race went great. It was a beautiful day. It was fun. Our team did well. We got to be part of the Breast Cancer Awareness movement. We got to spend the day with Bill Marg. And we remembered Meghan. And Adam. And Barbara.
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