When I first saw Lindsay R on the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® in Washington, D.C. this year, she was sitting quietly in the corner of an outside building at a lunch stop. It had been a very long morning for the 60-mile walkers, and Day 1 of the Komen 3-Day was turning into a deluge. Soaked to the core, Lindsay had joined the rest of the walkers under the protection of a roof as they changed into dry socks, ate lunch, and bandaged blisters.
And no one complained.
Lindsay seemed shy as I stole a picture of her, the pink of her outfit matching the pink of the large flag she was carrying in the rain, which read “COURAGE.” Many of the walkers choose to carry flags along the route, but I was distracted and did not get to ask her about why she was walking. Day 1 of the Washington, D.C. 3-Day ended with rain on top of more rain, and the walkers, Lindsay included, plowed on the streets for Day 2 and the second leg of 20 miles. It wasn’t until the camp show on Saturday night that I realized my first impression of Lindsay was misguided.
“My name is Lindsay and I am a survivor!” Lindsay had the attention of hundreds of people in an instant. “On Friday, April 13, 2012, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.” The audience was fully present as she described her ordeal of trying to find help. No one believed that she could have cancer, and her frustration seemed to have boiled over. “I felt so incredibly alone in my situation. It was one of the darkest, loneliest times of my life.” She told of her connection to another 3-Day family member, Bridget Spence, whose words gave her the “ability to keep hope alive and to live life, really live life.”
Her voiced boomed through the darkness in the Washington, D.C. night as the electrified crowd jumped to its feet. “CANCER WILL NOT BE THE END OF ME! Let me say that one more time. CANCER WILL NOT BE THE END OF ME!” To punctuate her attitude, she joined the crowd in the celebration of searching for a cure for breast cancer by dancing into the night. The experience of seeing her soul open as this transition from quiet, courageous walker to powerful advocate for hope was inspirational to the core.
From all of those fighting for a cure for breast cancer, we salute you Lindsay! Thank you for your inspiration!