Friday morning, as the sun rose into a dusty blue and orange sky, hundreds of walkers, crew, and volunteers gathered at Walled Lake Western High School to kick off a 3-Day celebration in the fight against breast cancer.
We heard from people living with metastatic breast cancer, survivors, and watched our 3-Day family carry flags of our four pillars of strength upwards onto the stage. We shared the names of our loved ones lost in remembrance.
As the music swelled, we embarked on our first several steps. Our first pit stop was with the BooBees on the shores of Walled Lake.
As our crew friends in yellow buzzed around making sure we were hydrated and fed, we posed for pictures against the beautiful lake. We walked on, enjoying the beautiful greenery and flowers of Michigan’s flora, and ended up at Pit Stop 2, a crowd favorite for the weekend. Senior citizens from a retirement home came out to cheer on our walkers and drum, and many of us posed for snapshots with wonderful elders who reminded us at every turn how proud they were of us.
Our community came out in full support and cheered us on at the Novi Ten Shopping Center, and then we stopped for lunch at Meadowbrook Congregational Church at mile 10.3. Knowing we had 8.1 more miles to go, we charged onwards, stopping at two more churches for pit stops at miles 13.8 and 15.5, and then we rounded out our last few miles with another amazing cheering station at the Briar Pointe Shopping Center.
Finally, we walked into Camp at Novi Middle School, finishing out a joyful 18.4 miles, posing for pictures, enjoying spa waters in the lounge, the Bank of America massage chairs, and celebrating our top fundraisers and award winners. Then, we curled up in our cozy pink tents, ready to build up our energy for an amazing Day 2.
The temperature was rising, but we began Day 2 heading towards Thornton Creek Elementary for our first Pit Stop at mile 3.3. The popular Cass Benton Park was the site of our Pit Stop 2, and walkers took in the beautiful rolling green hills, enjoying the scenery but maybe not the elevation.
Birds flew overhead and butterflies fluttered around all through the park, accompanying us as we walked toward the Plymouth Cultural Center, where we took a well deserved break for lunch at 10.9 miles in. The highlight of the day was the popular fountain at Kellogg Park, dyed pink just for us. We all posed for photos at the fountain and took in the sights and sounds of the farmer’s market also going on at the same time.
We charged through the vibrant business district to Northville Downs, the site of our Grab and Go B at 16.2 miles, and by now, the heat was feeling sweltering.
Making sure we were all hydrated and stretching, it was onwards, to Pit Stop 4 at mile 19 at Thornton Creek Elementary, and then finally, to mile 22.3 back into camp, where again, we cheered in our last walker.
The Camp Show kicked off another ’bout of inspiration and hope for us walkers and crew; especially in hearing from Tony, a male breast cancer survivor living with metastatic breast cancer (joined by his daughter Amanda, a first time walker!). His positive and poised speech reminded us all of why we fundraise, why we train, and why we walk: to one day live in a world free of breast cancer. We headed to our pink tents one last time, ready to emerge from them inspired and determined for Day 3.
Day 3 arrived quickly, bringing some extra heat and humidity just so that our walkers and crew could prove they were even more awesome than they already knew.
We took a bus for a quick ride to Kennedy Elementary School in Livonia, then headed out, enjoying miles of cheering stations to our first pit stop of the day at mile 3.3 at Franklin High School. From there, it was onwards to Pit Stop 2 at Wallaceville Field, where we enjoyed the shady parts of the path and admired the tall, green trees.
We also oohed and aahed over the Rosedale Gardens Historic District, packed with beautiful pre-historic World War 2 brick colonial and English cottages.Then, we walked through the always-beautiful N. York Street, where residents adorned the sidewalks with bra garlands and decorations, misting us with cool water, handing out popsicles, sharing THEIR stories of survivorhood and loved ones lost, reminding us again – at every step – why we walk.
From lunch at York Park where the crew was delightfully themed Under the Sea, we rested in the shade, and gathered our remaining strength for the final five miles of the day.
The last few miles took us through the city of Dearborn, the home of Henry Ford, and marched us towards the Ford World Headquarters, where our family and friends waited to celebrate our joyous victory.
As our crew lined up and walked into the Closing Ceremony, walkers followed, with our survivors marching in right behind us. As the music swelled, tears filled our eyes as we passed the Memorial Flag on to seven-city walker Heidi, ready to be carried victoriously in to Twin Cities in just a week and a half.
Michigan, thanks to you, we raised a staggering $1 million in the fight against breast cancer. We will NEVER give up!