Wednesday, September 14, 2005

'Surrender To The Schmaltz' ...

Four years ago, as Gemma dropped me off at O'Hare for my flight to Atlanta for the 3-Day, she hugged me and offered two pieces of advice: "Lots of Kleenex" and "Surrender to the schmaltz."

Final preparations are in place for the walk. I checked in online a couple weeks ago -- a new development. Last time, we all went to Day 0, where you got tent assignments and watched the safety video and all the other logistic-y stuff that needed to be done before the walk the next day.

Now, everything is done online, mailed to you in advance, even more finely tuned.

Today, I'm gathering all my gear -- shoes, Band-Aids, flashlight, hand wipes, socks (lots of socks), sleeping bag -- more gear than ever seems like it will fit in a single piece of luggage.

And sitting down at my desk, to add to my list of last-minute things to pick up, I noticed an e-mail from the 3-Day. It's a link to a movie -- more like rolling credits -- which I've linked to the title of this post if you'd like to see it.

I don't know how much it will mean to anyone who isn't involved in the 3-Day, anyone who hasn't been immersed in the emotion, but I invite you to view it.

Pallotta Teamworks, the organizer of the 2001 event, had several schmaltzy sayings, my favorite of which was "Humankind. Be both."

That is the simple spirit of the 3-Day.

That is why I walk.

Raising money and awareness for breast cancer research is a noble cause, to be sure, but selfishly, I walk because for three days, I get to surround myself with more love and kindness than you can imagine. Gemma's sister Deveraux has said, "I want to live in the 3-Day universe."

I invite you to share in it. Closing ceremonies are at Montrose Harbor, Sunday afternoon at 4:30, though if you'd like to come, you should show up an hour early.

This will likely be my last post until the walk is over.

I'll tell you all about it when I'm through.

My love and thanks to all who have supported and encouraged me over the past six months. My heart is full, and you are the reason why.

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