Sunday, May 8, 2016

My Champaign Walk days

Great Strides in Champaign:

While it did rain a bit way early in the morning, by the time we had to head to the walk it wasn't too bad. Actually the rain may have cooled the air down a bit, which made the Great Strides very pleasant. The Champaign Walk is a 5K, with informational CF booths, Balloon Creations, DJ, and more!

Picture: My Team (minus Nancy, she is in other photos though :-) )

I always have a team of 3-6 or so (in the last few years). This year we had a solid team of 5 that raised $300 all together! So proud! I will be posting pictures in an album on Cheriz's CF Facebook Awareness Page (once I get them all). I really pushed myself this year and did the whole walk! For the last 3 years I haven't been able to do more than half. So that made me extremely happy! I had a great team that helped push me and we all talked the whole time so it kept my mind off of how hard it was to walk it. LOL

They rocked on Saturday, Andrew helped set up and tear down, plus ran registration. I can't do any of that, since I have CF (and we don't want cross contamination/infection). I'm very aware of that, but Andrews washes his hands, germ-x, then jumps in and helps! Love him! He always comes to Champaigns walk with me, since it is the most sentimental for me.

I was also the speaker this year at the Champaign Walk, I posted the video on Youtube HERE!

It was the first great strides walk I ever went to and was the walk that I attended with Laura (way back in the day). Therefore, its a day I kind of celebrate Laura's life. I will always have a special place in my heart for the Champaign walk. Also, after the walk we always make the 40 minute detour to the city where Laura's gave is at. Here is funny story, even Laura would have a good laugh about. The first time I ever put flowers on "Laura's Grave", it wasn't her grave. You see, I didn't attend her funeral (for many legitimate reasons) and had no clue where her grave actually was... Andrew and I drove around the small cemetery and had it narrowed down to 4 spots with newer graves (with no stones).. I just guessed it was the one with a purple flower on it ( since purple was also Laura's favorite color and CF awareness color). But I was wrong. When we went back in the spring after the Champaign walk her stone was up and i had put her flowers on another lady's grave. It made me laugh, Laura would have laughed her butt off at me.

Something big happened this year though, but I have to tell you about an irrational fear that I have...I'm honestly embarrassed to admit it, but I think I should share it with you.

Not many people know this, but I have a serious fear of cemeteries and funerals (well coffins). I don't just mean I don't like them. I mean I can't walk in Cemeteries or see coffins or I actually have full on anxiety attacks. The 1st time I walked to my Grandma's gave (the only grave site I ever actually had the guts to walk to) I had to keep my eyes focused on my feet and I always have to walk exactly in between the graves and behind someone, I freak out if I walk over dead people. I had to plan a route from the road to her grave that was the shortest but didn't cross over any other graves... I took me a few trips out to the Cemetery before I made it. I still can't go unless Andrew or my mom leads the way and I just hang onto their shirt. I think I have a very active imagination and can imagine the people lying under there.. Plus, the psychology major in me may even say " I have unresolved issues facing my own mortality due to losing about a dozen CF friends before I was even out of high school." Graveyards just freaks me out...

I know it's ridiculous, I'm an adult. But I think for all the Sh*t I have dealt with and all the friends I've had pass away from a disease, I am allowed this one issue. LOL

So here is the BIG part, well baby steps right. BUT Andrew & I have visited Laura's grave 3 times since she passed in September 2014. I've never even made it out of the car. This time I did. We found the shortest distance between the graves so I could put the flowers on there myself. Then Andrew led the way. We got two rows into it and I thought a grave near us looked new and I couldn't tell where it ended.. I started panicking "No, we can't go this way... There is no way, I can't get there" I started freaking out, like full on panic attack, crying uncontrollably and frozen. Andrew scooped me into his arms and carried me to Laura's Grave. I stood behind it and was able to put the flowers on it and he carried me back to the car. So while I didn't walk to her grave, I did try AND I was glad I got to put the flowers on her grave myself.

We headed back to Peoria and even went to one of his co-worker's cookouts once we were back in town, so it was a great day despite my little (or big) breakdown.

Overall, I'm really proud of my team for raising the money, pushing me to do the whole route, and I LOVED catching up with them! I feel proud to have taken a step towards my fear and for pushing myself harder. I also, know that I'm pushing myself harder lately with work and my health. Which is tricky. I'll talk more about that on Tuesday. It will be focused on my growth and challenges, balancing work, volunteering, and health.


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