After less than 24 hours after the Susan G. Komen Tampa Bay 3-Day wrapped up for 2013, I heard from a participant who described her experience as a “piece of the miracle” of the Komen 3-Day. That seems to have summed up so many personal stories that combined to make the experience of the Tampa Bay 3-Day this year. From the glorious sunrise at Opening Ceremony on Friday morning to the seaside Spa Park Closing Ceremony, I witnessed one team after another and one walker after another accomplish more than they ever thought possible. A wheelchair was pushed for 60 miles. Many conquered the challenge for the first time ever, to their own amazement. So many reaffirmed their strength over past and present breast cancer.
With blue skies and a light breeze, the participants were eager to carry the banners over the bridges that dotted the course of three days. “Hope.” “My Sister.” “Optimism.” The firefighters, police, and ambulance services of Clearwater, Seminole, and Pinellas County were only a few who showed their strong support for the 3-Day®, lifting walkers into the air for photos, passing out pink Italian ice, and donning pink uniforms. So many showed their support on the final stretches of Day 1 and the cheering stations of Day 2 and Day 3.
The Camp Shows were a time to rest, to be entertained, and to be inspired. Kimberly Crist was recognized for her seven years of participation and over $69,640 raised to date for the fight against breast cancer. The crowd came to its feet with her acceptance of the Milestone Award on Friday night. Touching speeches by Elise M, Sonja A, and Charlie M, gave the Tampa Bay walkers time to reflect and be inspired by these wonderful people. Camp Show is never complete without the Youth Corps, both for their words and their dance skills. (And thank you to the brave souls who rocked the house during karaoke. You know who you are!)
After a shorter 15.3-mile third day, and after a beautiful stretch of bayside walking, an emotional Closing Ceremony at Spa Park kicked off. The faces of hundreds of dedicated walkers and crew members beamed in the afternoon sunshine surrounded by the beautiful bay. The individual stories looking back at the stage represented so many personal histories of triumph, ‘pieces’ making up the miracle of the Tampa Bay 3-Day.
Thank you Florida walkers!