Here on the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®, I learned very quickly that I needed to be ready with a camera sometime between 6 and 7 o’clock for a very special event: The Last Walker. While normally the hero of an event like this is the first walker, Dr. Sheri reminds us at The Opening Ceremony that “this is a walk, not a race.” In that spirit, the last walker is celebrated like a returning warrior, encouraged by the entire camp rising to its feet, cheering, clapping.
Last night’s grand entrance of Christa C. from Chicago brought the participants streaming to the flagpole to the point that it was difficult to find my usual position for a photograph. Christa, a 7-month survivor of breast cancer herself, was accompanied by motorcycle-riding Route Safety Crew Member Karen R., also from Chicago. Why the escort? “I saw Christa at about Mile 15 today,” Karen almost yelled in my ear over the chanting crowd. “I noticed her shirt, which looked too familiar. Then I noticed her shoes. I asked her, ‘Where did you get those?’ She responded that she bought them from another unknown breast cancer survivor at an estate sale in Chicago. They were mine!” Christa, in her jungle safari hat with pink streamers agreed. “When I bought them from the estate sale, I wanted to wear them in honor of this unknown breast cancer survivor. I had no idea she’d be protecting me on the route!”
Call it what you want. Coincidence. Luck. Fate. Destiny. For Christa and Karen in Chicago, two strangers have again been brought together by a common cause, a touching and recurring theme on the Komen 3-Day Series.