Saturday, June 18, 2011

I Walk For Kit

No one in our family has had any real motivation to participate in these ever popular cancer awareness walks until this year.    So of course, we were complete newbies.  I laugh because we thought we were all prepared and that was so far from the case! When we first got to the site we noticed how elaborate some of the other teams had made their homebase.  (Ours was a double lot because we had two teams so we had extra pressure to represent.  Little did we know...)  Some of them were inspiring and amazing.  Ours consisted of Uncle Paul and Roan sitting in an empty double wide lot.  That's it.  Not even a chair!  It was a sight to see and I'm sad we didn't get a quick snapshot of the absurdness. 

 We were told a couple of days before the walk that they did some themed walks throughout the night.  I'm disappointed that we didn't find out until it was nearly too late.  Some of the themes were Superhero (I thought with time my brother would have majorly represented), crazy hats, 80's, movie star, etc.  We only had time to pull together some crazy hats.  Here's Eric with my sweet Dollar Store find.  Next year I think we'll better represent.

Roan, Eric and I worked on decorating a paper bag that housed a votive candle.  They used these "luminaries" to line the path and to honour the cancer victim or survivor.  So we did one for my dad.  My cousin Keane designed one to be from the siblings as well.  It consisted of 9 different symbols/emblems that represent the nine siblings.  (I need to touch base with him to find out what they mean and which one belongs to which sibling.)

Dawn, my mom, Lesley, Roan and myself also worked on a large banner/flag for us to proudly hold during our family march.  I'm not gonna lie, it's the second attempt after I experienced an epic fail when I spelled our last name wrong on the first one.  D'oh!  Thirty-six and a half years with this name and clearly I have a problem spelling it slowly and under pressure with permanent marker!  It was good for a laugh and I know my dad would have found it funny too.

Us against Cancer

My aunt Gabrielle had t-shirts made up for our team, as you can see in the photos posted.  We had people bringing a couple of tents, air mattresses, chairs, and snacks for us to munch on through the night.  We thought we were so prepared, but it was blatantly obvious that we were the newbies on site.  Some of the set ups were so magnificent and elaborate. We paled in comparison.  We weren't even seasoned enough to know we would need flashlights for crying out loud.  Strange that we didn't realize this earlier, as it was an event that went through the night.

Uncle Marc and Eric outside a Breast Cancer Survivor site

Aunt Sheila outside of Ruby's Army's site. 
Part way through the evening my cousin Tara came to our rescue and brought us reserves.  She brought us a fire pit, solar lights, bug zappers, flashlights, coffee, blankets, etc.  We've vowed (after stealing other people's ideas) to make next year way better.  Dawn and I were even thinking of an 80's prom theme where we'll walk in tacky, taffeta prom dresses reminiscent of the '80s.  Not truly my dad's era, but fun for the rest of us.  He appreciated lame shit like that.

 I was so proud of my Aunt Nadine and Uncle Larry for coming to the walk to offer us their support.  It's extremely difficult for both of them to walk any sort of distances now, but they walked for my dad and then stayed for a bit to offer us their moral support.  She is my dad's older sister, the only one as all the rest are younger sisters and my uncle grew up across the street from the Rousseau's and eventually married one.  So he's probably the only person still in my dad's life that he'd known longer than his own family.  I'm so grateful they found the strength.

Josh and Eric

We had an over all good time with all of the family.  Some stayed with us right through the night (THANK YOU!!) and some came and visited, walked and went (THANK YOU!!).  It was so nice to see everyone again.  I love to hear stories about my dad growing up, they keep him vivid and present.  It was nice to hear that others are still struggling as I do.  It reinforces to me that I'm (and our immediate family) are not alone in our sorrow.  It's nice to know that they didn't all just go back to their lives after the initial loss and return to normal.  It's nice to know they still think of him often, are overcome with tears at inopportune times just like me and that they are still sad.

Alison, Adam and Becca
Roan and Eric

As night fell and Dawn and I continued to walk we paused three times so Dawn could light the luminary bags for our dad.   I'm not sure why something so 'trivial' seemed so important, but it was.  I hope he could see the lights and I hope he knew we were doing this all for him.  It was nice walking the path, just me and her for him.  We did, however, eventually stumbled upon a hidden gem (albeit a little off course)....the concession stand inside (the civic centre on sight) and discovered they had fries and gravy and nachos and cheese.  So just a minor side step and then back to the walking.

Roan AKA Moonlight (the Superhero as dubbed by Captain America)
 After total darkness, Roan became infatuated with all the glow sticks and made it his mission to see how many he could scam out of the volunteers, family and complete strangers.  I deem he was greatly successful.  He then spent numerous laps trailing some dude dressed as Captain America, probably inundating him with the most absurd questions and stories.  Hopefully to his delight and not chagrin.

Eric being well...Eric!
And of course, once Eric got his hands on a glow stick, one of the first questions he posed was if I thought he could fit it through his old septum piercing.  Much to his delight and my young cousins' (Becca and Jordyn) chagrin, he was successful!!  I think he should have done an entire lap like that. 

Cole and Roan
Roan came with us to walk.  Gage wasn't able to come as he wasn't going to be getting back from his Grade 8 end of year school trip until 9 p.m.  I couldn't believe that Roan walked that circuit as often as he did. He didn't stop moving until I forced him to lay down to try and get some sleep around 4:30 a.m.  He walked the path, he ran the path, he played games with Sawyer, he scammed glow sticks, he pal'd around with Cole, and he ate cookies.  

The above is a picture of a bunch of the luminary bags in the shape of a heart.  Our two decorated bags are up in the top left lobe (right on the screen). Sadly I didn't get a picture of it lit up at night as it looked pretty.  But we did get a picture of HOPE and a couple of the lined pathways.  

We spent a lot of time between walking hanging out around the 'camp fire', laughing, telling stories and singing.  The entertainment provided was not even mediocre.  It was painful and lacked any sort of talent what's so ever.  We still haven't figured out where they found these people.  Needless to say, they provided us with our own form of entertainment.

But I'll close with perhaps the best word only t-shirt I've ever read (sorry no picture):

"These boobs are fake.  My real ones tried to kill me."

Cancer, you may have taken someone extremely important to all of us, but you will NOT break us.  Go fuck yourself. 

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