Friday, July 6, 2012

What's Nov 17th All About? Sit Right Back And You'll Hear A Tale

NOTE: What you'll read below, in black, was written about our 2012 Walk. The Walk for 2013 in Charlotte, NC is November 16th. The official link to our Walk has been updated for 2013).

A tale of a coming trip
That started when some minds got tossed
Without na'ry a blip.
Without na'ry a blip.

OK, so there was a blip or two on the screen. But the song sounds better that way. It all started last year when Al Estep, better known in melaworld as Black Is The New Pink, and I (Melanoma Prayer Center and Melanoma Grief Chapel) realized that our great minds were thinking alike and since we weren't horrified by the thought but intrigued, we corralled Chelsea Price (Adventures With My Enemy...Melanoma) and Rich McDonald (Hotel Melanoma) into dog-paddling into uncharted waters with us. We were gonna raise big bucks for melanoma research.

That was the plan. Raise big bucks for melanoma research. And we were cool. We're always cool, but we outdid ourselves when we decided to call ourselves The Power Rangers! We set up a group page on Facebook. And we were going to raise big bucks. For melanoma research. That was our plan.

I said that though, didn't I? That was as far as we got before getting stymied. Al and I are in North Carolina. Chelsea's in Virginia, and Rich is in Colorado, so logistics became an issue. We didn't know the first thing about running an event, which proved to be something of a problem, too. All we had was a plan, a name, and a page. And four spirits unwilling to cave to having nothing else.

Or so it may have seemed to the untrained eye. What we had going for us was we wanted to meet each other! That was behind our original plan all along. We wanted to get together and accomplish something toward a uniting goal and we are all united by melanoma.

Well, as we were beginning to wring our hands and the proverbial towel before throwing it in, God stepped in. Some would call God "fate," but not me. Chelsea was going to participate in an Aim at Melanoma Walk in Charlotte, NC in November 2011 and report back to us on how it went. We had, as a group, decided that was the type of event we wanted to pull together but couldn't. But now, Chelsea could participate in this one and tell us what we needed to know and do.

What we needed to do was join forces with Anne Bowman who is the Charlotte, NC Aim Chapter President and coordinator of the walk. She was who we needed to know. Turned out the wheel had already been invented! Can we say, "YAY!!!"?

With the wheel invented and Anne's "OK" we climbed aboard and promised our support, enthusiasm, and occasional blog getting the word out there. I've blogged three times already about this walk. Blog post number one. Blog post number two. Blog post number three.

The really cool, fun, and exciting thing is this really isn't about the walk anymore for many of us. Oh, raising money for melanoma research is still important, but this has become to be about what it was when Al and I first met minds: meeting each other.

In the time that we've been booking hotel rooms and making plans, we've also been growing as a community. We've grown deeper together and our bonds have toughened and tightened. We've become something of a highly dysfunctional functional family. We'll be having something of a two-to-three day family reunion with a walk thrown in. We've got family flying in from many of the 50 states, others driving. Every section of the continental USA will be well-represented. It started off as a "bloggers" event. And there will many more than us four present and that's in other posts. But what's more exciting is that as we've grown tighter, as a community and family, it's not a "bloggers convention" anymore! Warriors we've come to know, rejoice with and cry with, are coming!

Many, maybe most of us, will be arriving in Charlotte Friday November 16th. I know I will. The walk is Saturday morning and we've been making our own plans for an after-party that night...also previously blogged about. Many, maybe most, of us will be leaving some time Sunday. I know I will.

This kind of event may never happen again. Or, it may be so wonderful we do it every year. Who knows right now?! What we do know is, it's about gathering together in love and support of each other and of those who have died from melanoma. It's about the hugs and kisses, laughter and tears. It's about singing our songs and about being who we are and have been all along.

We're people, brought together by a common enemy, and bound together by a common love of God, life, a belief in a coming cure, and deep love and appreciation of each other. We understand each other and our walk along this melaroad.

Our walk will take a turn into Charlotte, NC Saturday November 17th. Here's the link to the official page for our particular walk. You can find a list of all registered walkers. Please throw some support to any one of us, or more. It all goes to the same place, so if you'd rather support someone besides me that will be great. But I'm registered, too, if you'll please help me meet my goal.

Truth be told, I've already met my goal. My goal is to know that I'm going to be meeting people I've come to cherish online in support groups and as friends online. People I've prayed for. People I've turned to myself and know I can count on.

So join us there that day my freinds, 
It sure will be a lark,
For all us way cool melapals, 
There at Freedom Park!

Hope to meet you there! We'll all be grateful if we do!