Like soldiers preparing for battle we assemble our gear, making sure we are prepared for this arduous day of walking 26 miles on a sunny but cold New York day:
Fanny Pack - check.
Water Bottle - check.
Cap - check.
Cat Ears - check.
Cat Tail - check.
Gloves - check.
Chapstick - check.
Moleskin - check.
Advil - check.
Charged Cell Phone - check.
Extra Socks - check.
Space Blanket - check.
Bling - check.
And then there are our mementos. Wristbands, pins, posters, and signs showing who we are remembering or honoring. I carry Sugar's sign and 100 pink ribbons.
The ribbons are small, 1/2" x 2", but their significance is enormous. Each has a name on it, the name of a warrior, a person or pet who did something I've never done, faced and fought cancer.
They occupy a small physical space, but their place in my heart is huge. Carrying these ribbons is a sacred trust, a way for these brave souls to matter, to be honored, to be remembered for their strength and courage. It is a privilege to carry them.
Just as it becomes light, we are off. We walk, we talk, now and then we shed tears. We stop at our pit stops to eat a snack, refill our water bottles, and use the port-a-potties. People ask me about Sugar's sign and I share her story; most are amazed that a cat can get breast cancer.
I meet one of Sugar's followers from the Sugar Rub! Facebook page.
Seth, the MooCow Guy is everywhere! He hands out Cow Tales candies. He cheers us on!
We walk across the Brooklyn Bride and see Angie, our personal team cheerleader. Soon, we stop for lunch.
We walk through Brooklyn and back to Manhattan. It's getting colder and some of our team members gratefully wrap up in the space blankets provided by my husband.
Finally we reach Randall's Island. The last two miles are brutal in the cold and relentless wind. But finally, we are there!
And so Day One has ended. We are tired, cold, and sore. Our hearts are full, and we are happy that we only have to walk 13 miles tomorrow.