Dear Friends and Family,
The Blue Footed Boobies are coming to
It’s been a long time brewing. I met my first blue footed booby nearly three years ago, on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Galápagos Islands with my family—my mother, our good friend Joy, my sister and her family, and Jim and the boys. We fell in love with the boobies, who, like the other animals in the Archipelago, have never learned to fear humans, and so afforded us intimate viewing opportunities—of nesting mothers and their new, fluffy babies, of lone boobies hanging out among the mangroves, and on our last morning, zillions of air-borne boobies, zooming inches overhead, circling around, and diving furiously and gracefully into the water to catch their breakfast. Boobies of the blue-footed variety are amazingly beautiful; they are tenacious, powerful, lovely fliers, divers, and hunters, loving, protective parents (despite the fact that most older sibs do away with their younger, weaker ones as a method of ensuring their own survival), and at the time of courtship, hilarious, whimsical dancers, the males lifting one big blue foot and then the other, over and over again, in an impressive mating ritual (and forerunner of the step craze) that brings the female’s attention to—what else?—the color (not size, in a surprising shift) of their feet. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NAKg46s1DA&NR=1
When I first heard about the 3-Day last spring, I thought immediately of the blue-footed boobies, and how it would be nice to have their spirit infuse the experience with the joy and strength and love they exhibit in their every step. With a little luck, our feet will hold up on the hot,
As much as I wanted to walk this past summer, I was still in between surgeries and trying to make sense of my gimpy left knee, and decided it just wasn’t the time to embark on such on odyssey. The sweeping wave of yes-we-can energy and activism of the Obama campaign and the knowledge that two dear friends from Exeter walked in the Atlanta 3-day this past fall inspired me to try to go the distance myself. And if there’s one thing that I’ve gleaned from this past year’s overflowing basket of lessons, it’s that there is no time like the present. Now that my new girl is nearly done (the new birthday nip-let is doing just fine, thank you, and for an early Christmas present, I’ll be giving myself my first ever tattoo—rosy color to restore some eye candy charm and match my neo-girl to my all-natural girl), I figure I need to keep putting things on my calendar that signify progress, the keep on keepin’ on of this long process of healing and self-rediscovery. The 3-day will truly be a critical piece of not only reclaiming my physical strength but also continuing to recover my soul in the ongoing fabled process of reconstruction and wellness. As well, I’ll be raising money to help women meet this diagnosis with the best possible treatment options available. There is so much I have been thankful for in my experience with breast cancer: the top-notch treatment I’ve received at the hands of caring, skilled nurses and surgeons, the loving support and encouragement I’ve gotten from friends and family, the good news at having caught my cancer early, the ability to regain my relative strength (admittedly, my basketball game is gone, gone) and good health and be able to look forward to participating in something as challenging as the 3-Day.
The current crop of breast cancer statistics are both harrowing and heartening. Breast cancer is no longer an older woman’s disease. My grandmother was in her early 50’s when she first got breast cancer nearly forty years ago. I myself was 42 at the time of my diagnosis last winter. My friend Lisa was just 40. Christina Applegate was only 36. We all know women who have battled or are battling breast cancer, lives irrevocably transformed by a disease that can hide for years under a cloak of invisibility before making itself known. With so many women being diagnosed at earlier and earlier ages, there is hope in that much progress has been made in the early detection and treatment of the many breast cancers that only ten years ago were prematurely ending the lives of many women. And yet, there is still a feeling of helplessness that forces many of us to wonder what we can do.
The 3-Day is a wonderful opportunity to reach out and really make a difference. I hope you’ll consider joining me. There are many ways you can help. You can walk. The Blue Footed Boobies need you! As team captain, I am currently recruiting team members. Each registered walker must raise $2300. The registration fee is $90. The 3-Day provides everything else: meals, lodging (in the form of a pink—what else?—tent city that travels with the walkers), encouragement, and pre-race training. And just think what fun it would be!! To register, go to http://www.the3day.org/ or call 800.996.3DAY.
You can donate. I’m hoping to raise, as a team, at least $8000 for research and community outreach programs that might save the lives of countless women—mothers, sisters, aunts, friends, daughters. Any donation will help enormously. To donate, simply go to the 3-day web site, click on Donate Now, and enter my name (Elizabeth Gardner) or The Blue Footed Boobies and you’ll find me. OR try clicking here: http://www.the3day.org/site/TR/Walk/BostonEvent?team_id=62885&pg=team&fr_id=1292 Keep track of our progress, donate, join the team, or just check in: we’ll need your support.
My one regret is that Luke and Dominick cannot walk with me. I have promised each of them that when they turn 16, I will walk again, this time with them. But they are eager to do their part. Both are helping to raise money for the team by selling handmade crafts—Luke his wonderfully original sculpey creature magnets, and Dominick his special edition 3-Day fairies and sprites—at this coming Friday’s Homeschoolers Craft Fair in
To borrow a lovely quote from the 3-Day site, I offer this African proverb that reminds me of the spirit of Ubuntu: “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” I hope you’ll come with me. I can’t do this alone! 60 miles, $8000, and thousands of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer each and every year: that’s a long way to go, and we all need you. Please do what you can. Give me a holler if you think you might be interested in becoming a Boobie! And thank you, thank you.
So, in the spirit of carpe diem, and in a nod to my own mortality, though I set my sights on the 3-Day, I ground myself in the ever-expanding moments that make up each day. To follow the words of the wise Siduri in the wonderful Epic of Gilgamesh:
"As for you, Gilgamesh, fill your belly with good things; day and night, night and day, dance and be merry, feast and rejoice. Let your clothes be fresh, bathe yourself in water, cherish the little child that holds your hand, and make your wife happy in your embrace; for this too is the lot of man."
I send you love and blessings for a wonderful holiday season: may you and your family enjoy good health, discover the hidden joys in each and every day, and join the widening, warming circles of community.
Best to you and yours,