This is gonna be a long one.. but stick with me

Like I said Nuggetiers this is gonna be a long one, but I need ya to stick with me till the end. I’ve got a story to tell and I need your help to make the ending a happy one.

See, over three years ago we lost my Aunt Paula. She was a bright spot in all of our lives. A world traveler with a sense of adventure and a keen eye for vintage couture. Yet also a great, if at first reluctant, camper! She made us laugh , and fed our souls as well as our bellies (she was an AMAZING cook). She also turned out to be one of the strongest people I’ve ever had to honor to know and privilege to love.

We lost her to breast cancer. She was given poor advice and a misdiagnosis. By the time she found a good doctor the cancer had advanced well beyond the help of such drastic measures as masectomy and chemo, though she braved them anyway. She did have a good year or two in there where her hair grew back a bit, though I suspect she sort of enjoyed the divaliciousness she got from sporting great wigs. She passed when I was carrying #3. I had a very hard pregnancy and was on bed rest for months and never got to hug her goodbye. Last year I decided to honor her memory and her fight by participating in the DC leg of the Avon Breast cancer walk. I was 35, over weight and the exhausted mom of four, basically the trifecta of out of shape. But I figured if she could still make sure everyone got a Christmas gift just weeks before she passed I could do this. And it was easily one of the top five most amazing things I’ve done in my life. It moved me to tears, literally made me crawl on my hands and knees, brought me closer to my better Angels and infused me with a humility we should all experience someday.

Here are some of my best photo memories of those two amazing days:
Aunt Paula would have gotten a kick out of me wearing a picture of her on my tail!

The kids got in on the action… “Auntie Paula’s Pink Pavement Pounders” (sorry for the crappy resolution!)Who doesn’t love a hairy guy in pink drag? One of the neat things about this guy is that he is the CEO of a company that brings groceries and meals to women and their families battling breast cancer (and other illnesses). It seems so simple but, what would my family do if I wasn’t there to do the grocery shopping and cooking? Forget about the cleaning!!

And me with two of my team mates from the Solo Strutters, a team of walkers without a team. This is was without a doubt one of the proudest moments of my life, I didn’t even care that Reece Witherspoon was there with us!!

Notice that sash, Mrs. America style, around my neck? It says “Every Three Minutes”. All through out the walk, staffers place one of these on a walker every 3 minutes. That’s because every 3 minutes in America a woman either finds out she has breast cancer or looses her battle with it. I cried like a baby when I got mine. It hangs in my study at home, to remind me every day. One among the MANY things I learned during the walk was that we never walked alone, literally and figuratively. This is a excerpt from the letter I wrote after the walk, I’d like to share it with you.

“…Let me tell you first about Mohawk man (yep a grown man in his 40s with a Mohawk) and his wife. His name is Dale he is the proud husband of a beautiful blond hottie wife. They are one of those couples you look at and just sigh because we all want a love like that. They have two great sons (13 and 11 years old). Mohawk starting walking with his wife four years ago when her best friend was diagnosed with breast cancer. They both said it felt like it was something they needed to do for her and could do together. Last year they couldn’t make it the whole 39 miles together. He did it and she waited at the finish line for him with their boys. See she’d found a lump six months earlier and the side effects of the chemo where pretty bad and she couldn‘t walk. This walk meant more than all the others and the hug he got at the finish was the best ever. As I walked on Saturday I found a pink penny on a park bench. I picked it up and told my team mate Tonya “hey look a pink penny how freaky huh?”. Tanya then told me I’d picked up one of Mohawks thoughts. HUH? She explained that one of the things Mohawk and his wife do is give each other pennies for their thoughts. A cute little thing they started when they where dating and kept up for the past 16 years. See Mohawk’s wife died in February this year. He puts a pink penny down every time he thinks of her while he is walking. He now walks all eight cities and raises the whole $1800 every city through donations and by making hats with Mohawks on them to sell for fundraising… All so that no other husband looses his best friend and so that his wife will know that he will never give up the fight… “

So why now? Why have I asked you to sit through this epic post? Well this year I wasn’t able to make the walk. I really wanted to, but the universe had other plans. The funny thing about the universe is that when you least expect it, it’ll remind you how very small the world is. While out doing the blog hopping thing a few weeks ago, I happened upon yet another great blog. How the heck are there SO many great blogs out there?! I mean honestly people. I have a hard time finding a great book but man I could spend days blog surfing and seldom find one that sucks. This particular blogger hooked me with her humor, reeled me in with the great giveaways she does. And then the universe stepped in to launch me flopping on the deck of her boat. Turns out SHE is walking the Boston leg of the Avon Walk this year! What were the odds? One of the most daunting things about the walk isn’t the OVER 40 miles you’ll end up walking. Nor is it the musty mulit-used tent you may opt to sleep in (never again). It’s not even the thought of blisters the size of softballs on your feet. For me and for most walkers it’s the $1,800.00 smackers you are required to raise before check in on the day of the walk.

I was blessed, once again, with the generosity of family and the open hearted strangers I met. I sent out letters, emails, did bake sales, raffles and sold hoards of donated items and gently used kids stuff at flea markets. I turned up on day one with MORE than I needed. I felt the warm spirit of my Aunt Paula saying “Share the wealth sweetie” and I did. I gave over $500 in checks to walkers who had yet to make the minimum at check in. It felt like winning the lottery!

So now I’d like to ask that the Nuggetiers help a fellow SITSta out. Nicole at Good Golly Miss Blondie (http://www.goodgollymissblondie.com/) is short of her $1,800.00 goal and her walk is fast approaching. For every dollar (and yes you can donate JUST ONE, imagine if we all did that.. we’d hit the hundreds!) you donate through her official Avon Walk site (this also helps assure you it’s legit) you’ll get an automatic 10 entries into her giveaways (and boy does this woman have giveaways!). You’ll also get one for each dollar here at the Nuggets. I’ll be offering up a beautiful necklace from Cookie Lee Jewelry. It is a double strand silver design with Angel and Cherubs on it (I’ll post a pic as soon as I can get a good model, NOT ME!). It’s valued at $35 and still has the tags and original packaging, it’s never been worn. So let me introduce you to Nicole.. Nugget style in this Q&A session, thought up by yours truly (duh). You’ll find her Avon Walk link at the end. If you donate please leave me a comment so I can verify and be SURE you get all the swag entries you’ve earned. Thanks peeps! OH OH.. if you blog about this on your own very cool blog I’ll also give you an entry for that Cookie Lee swag. And since $ is involved, this time I’ll use that stinking randomizer thing, just so nobody gets their chonies in a knot.

Why the Avon Breast Cancer Walk?
I’m a big fan of boobies, lol. Actually my SIL walked it last year and is walking again this year, so she asked me to be on her team. Breast Cancer affects so many of us, I wanted to be able to help in some way.

Do you train? DiPaola Momma didn’t do nearly enough of that!
I started training a few weeks ago and I’m up to 8 miles, which sounds pretty good until I remind myself I have to walk 40!

How do you get stains out of your whites?
Believe it or not…Lestoil, the stuff is amazing!

Have any questions for others who have done the walk or walks like it?
Yes, how do I prevent blisters?

Will the Sox win the series.. If so what COLOR socks will they be wearing (yes this is a loaded question from the wife of a (insert shameful blush here) Yankees fan)?
I’m gonna go with theres a good chance and it’ll be RED!

Do you have any idea how many MORE miles than the 40 they SAY you’ll walk, you’ll actually be walking?
Any extra miles, I plan to crawl

What kinds of fundraisers have you done so far?
begging, groveling, guilt-tripping. Haha. But seriously, I’ve just asked people at work, sent out emails, and I’ve offered people 10 extra entries into my giveaways for donating any amount.

You’ve got a GREAT blog! How ever do you find the time for the rest of your life?
Wait?! I’m supposed to have a life other than my blog?

Here’s the link to Nicole’s walk page for donations, thanks again Nuggetiers! http://info.avonfoundation.org/site/TR/Walk2009/Boston?px=4497428&pg=personal&fr_id=1770

If you want to send donations by mail (if you’re trying to be credit card “good” like me) you can contact Nicole via email (you’ll find that in her profile) and she’ll give you that info. You’ll also get a tax ID number if you want to deduct your donation.

And someone asked if I’d joined the Army of Women YOU BET and here is a link if you’d like to join too! http://www.armyofwomen.org/ One last thing.. I PROMISE just one. I’m going to leave this post up the rest of the week. No fits, no reviews, no pithy nuggets of wisdom.. just a chance to read this post and make a difference. I’m also going to be in NYC Thurs-Sunday so I won’t be able to respond to comments so I’m turning off the moderator. A hard thing for a control freak like me.. lets hope that people keep the comments nice, otherwise I’ll cry. That was more than one thing huh? oh well

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