Sunday, May 16, 2010

Day 1

The sun is not quite up yet, but we're ready to go...
The Opening Ceremony takes on a reflective, yet inspiring, mood. A highlight of the event is a circle of survivors, facing outward as a symbol of those we have lost.

Obviously Energizer was a sponser this year.

This is Rose...I met Rose standing in line for my I.D. during my first walk in 2007; we ended up, along with her friend and another we met along the way, sticking together. So, two years later, it turned out she was walking again...we made a plan to meet at opening ceremonies, and off we went.

And thus it begins...

(I think my parents drove around a bit with the camera after opening ceremony...)

Mom and Dad were pulling back into the hotel at about the same time we were passing it...Mom snapped this picture out of the car window.

Pit Stop #1 (the first of many). Chicago Botanic Garden. When it started raining shortly after this, we started seeing a lot of sad, drooping bunny ears...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Day 1, complete! After about 15 miles in the rain, we were exhausted and maybe a little miserable. Not much fun picking up your gear and getting settled into your tent in the rain (thankfully, the tents were set up and waiting for us this year, thank you Boy Scouts!)...After dinner it FINALLY stopped raining and it was SO nice to finally be dry. Spirits were immediately lifted. The next morning, it sadly started raining again, just when it was time to emerge from the tents. So rather than putting on my nice dry "day 2" shoes, it was back on with the soaked ones...ugh. Thankfully, it didn't rain for much longer, and thanks to the Chicago heat, our shoes were pretty dry by lunch time.

Day 2

The biggest Cheering Station of the Walk: Mt. Prospect. Mom, Dad and Aunt Sue came out to cheer!

Day 2 traditionally involves walking through neighborhoods where the residents (as well as the law enforcement) are extremely supportive.

Home Sweet Home. Tent thankful that it was not raining on us right now...

This is inside the "remembrance" tent - a somber and beautiful space, where participants can write in a book (which is on display in subsequent years), and look at photos. It hits hard to look at the framed pictures of walkers and crew members lining the tent walls...many of which with captions indicating the date they passed away along with the years they walked or crewed.
The white tent in the center is Chicago's white tent. Each city that hosts the walk has a white tent on which participants can write. These other 13 tents are on display outside the remembrance tent.

Day 3...

Life-long friends Amanda and Melissa happened to be in town during the walk...they gave up a good portion of their afternoon to hang out at a cheering station and encourage everyone as we neared the end. Getting through the walk would be nearly impossible without support and encouragement.
Closing Ceremony at Soldier Field!

Tribute as the survivors who walked enter the ceremony...