Pinky Pie

(Pink) Lemonade for 5,000 & Me

Posted on: September 12, 2010

It really wasn't about us but all of us.

That Patty Brown. Can she ever make lemonade – this year she had to make it for 5,000. (OK, it was lemon ice from Culver’s, but you get the idea.)

When her breast cancer was diagnosed seven years ago, Patty decided to go after it personally. She was a leader – if not THE leader – in creating a La Crosse movement – Steppin’ Out in Pink.

It raises money for breast cancer research at Gundersen Lutheran and for mammograms for women who do not have insurance or can’t otherwise afford them.

It is not the medical center where I go, but as a committed believer in the common good, I was there again Saturday. Of course, it also is inspiring and supportive to be part of this wonderful event.

You gotta admire and appreciate the positive whirlwind of energy that is Patty Brown. Hobbling around on crutches – she broke a couple of bones in her leg moving – she still was there with a huge smile on her face and encouragement. And if her doctor reads this, she was on her best behavior, staying off of it as much as possible.

This woman knows how to turn being handed lemons into the tastiest lemonade and as I said, this year she did it for 5,000.

Just considering the population of La Crosse as 52,000, one in ten of the city came to step out on Saturday.  Of course, many came from outside of the city, but it is an indication of the size of this event that last year raised more than
$300,000. I’m sure it will hit $400,000 this year.

By the way, 5 miles did not feel like 5. It may be because of all this good company.

Those of us who are survivors receive a cap with a ribbon on it for each year of survival. The year of diagnosis is year one so I had two ribbons (and am working on the third.)

We also gathered in a “Survivors’ Tent,” where we had breakfast, heard some speakers and received a booklet of survivors’ stories. Mine was in there along with other women.

My friend, Julie, came from the Kenosha area to step out with me, putting in abeyance beating me regularly in Scrabble.

Two year after she left La Crosse in 1993, she was diagnosed. We happened to have arrived to visit her family the week she was diagnosed and had surgery. We took her daughter, Paige, with us to Passover at my cousin’s to give her a break from the intensity of the moment.

Julie’s now more than15 years post diagnosis. Julie has done two of those three-day walks but was still inspired by our little gathering in La Crosse.

Of course, it didn’t hurt that right in front of us was a woman walking with a sign on her back that said, “In honor of Sue and Julie.” (Not us, of course. And I’m grateful it was not in memory of Sue and Julie.”

‎”In honor of Sue and Julie” on some random woman’s butt was the highlight of a great day! There seems to be karma there somewhere,” Julie wrote by the photo on Facebook.

Julie will keep her hat for next year … as will I. As she wrote on Facebook, “The dream team.”

As far as Patty, I’m sure she’s started squeezing those pink lemons to get ready for next year.

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3 Responses to "(Pink) Lemonade for 5,000 & Me"

Love ya, man. Thanks for the great day and the great words.
My hat, feet and ass are ready for the next adventure!

To many more pink ribbons on each of your hats.

When I first saw your reply, Paige, I thought it said “too many pink ribbons.” I’m glad you are encouraging more of them. I sure am.

We had a great time. One of these coming years we should all do this walk or a two-day or three-day walk.

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