Friday, October 12, 2007

3 Day Walk

The 3 Day Walk begins this weekend and my cousins are participating again. This photograph is of my Uncle Stanley and his daughters. Marie is the one on the bottom left. This is their story:

Dad is a daughter’s constant source of encouragement.

Stanley has four daughters. The second, Marie, has been active in fundraising for breast cancer research, always in remembrance of her grandmother, Stanley’s mom.

One summer Marie and her sister Amy traveled to San Diego to participate in a three day fundraiser walk, flying in from Atlanta the day before the walk began. Although they were excited about the event, they were also a little disheartened knowing there wouldn’t be any familiar faces along the route to cheer them on.

As they were settling into their hotel room and discussing where in San Diego to explore, they heard a loud pounding on the door.

Marie opened it and found her dad standing there. He had flown in for the weekend to make sure his daughters had the emotional support they needed to complete the grueling sixty mile walk.

In spite of jetlag, Stanley got up at 5:00 in the morning to drive Marie and Lynn to the opening ceremonies and see them off. Throughout the day they spotted him along the route, clapping and cheering them on. Somehow hearing their names called out over the crowd gave them a boost; they trudged on, forgetting about their tired and swollen feet. He would be there in the crowd again the next day, sometimes acting like he had just seen his favorite football team complete an impossible touchdown, giving his daughters much needed and heartfelt support.

Each night at the end of that twenty mile segment, Stanley waited at the finish line to pick his girls up and take them back to the hotel. He made sure they ended their day with a good meal, plenty of water, and a fresh pair of dry socks.

On the last day of the walk, Stanley needed to go back to work so he dropped his daughters off at the starting line on his way to the airport. He, almost never sentimental, looked at them and said, “I’m really proud of you two for doing this. And my mother would be proud of you, too.”

To Marie, hearing of her father’s pride was almost the moment that meant the most to her that weekend, bested only by how good it felt to look up and see him cheering as she marched past.

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