Hi, my name is Dakota, I’m 15 years old and this is my journal page. I will write about our cross country bike trip. We are bicycling from Jacksonville Beach, FL to San Diego, CA.
I know I am doing this backwards, but ya’ll really need to read this post! 🙂 We’re done!
I wrote this almost two weeks ago, but am just getting it posted. Sorry! 🙂
Date: January 6th, 2013
So, here we are. Practically in San Diego. We have 16 miles to the ocean. Wow. I honestly don’t know what to say. I guess I should be talking about how great the journey was, and what I’ve learned.
The journey was long, that’s for sure. 2,500+ miles on my bike. I think my butt is permanently molded into the shape of my bike seat. I’ve learned a lot about who I am, and how much I can stretch myself. I am actually a cross-country cyclist.
This is it. Pretty soon we’ll be driving a car again instead of riding everywhere we go. Was it worth all of the aches and pains? Hot days and cold nights? Dragging gear up hills?
Yes. It was. I will never look at a task and think it is too much for me.
I will never say the words “I can’t”, because I know I can. I can do anything I put my mind to. I have enough confidence in myself, not because I’m arrogant, but because I know that as long as you take it a mile at a time, or even a pedal stroke at a time, anything is possible. Nothing is too big if going across America isn’t. This trip gave me a confidence in myself that I’ve never had. I’ve performed in front of hundreds of people, but this was different.
I’ve learned about family, community, and team-work. I’ve also learned a lot about the world. Everything on the news is about how awful people are, but it has been completely opposite for us. On this whole journey, we have not had one issue. Every way we turned there were kind, considerate, hospitable people waiting to help or encourage us.
It really has been an amazing journey, and I really do believe if more families would spend this kind of quality time together the world really would be a better place.
I don’t really know what I think about finishing, it’s kind of a jumble of emotions. I am happy about being done and also sad – because biking has become a main part of my life. I am excited it’s over because that means we will have to come up with more adventures to go on.
I can’t really imagine just going home and living a “normal” life after this – I think I’ll always have to be planning another adventure, – “normal” life just won’t cut it. =) Although, I have really missed my besties, my family, my church, and all the people I interacted with (like neighbors <3 and librarians) so I am excited to be heading home for a visit (after winter, of course!).
It’s kind of surreal, you know? Like slow motion. I almost don’t believe it’s real, we’re almost finished…I tiptoe just in case I wake up and we’re still in Texas. I almost don’t believe we did it, because trust me, there were plenty of days I thought someone would give up and we’d have to go home failures.
Even though I know I won’t be greeted with hundreds of people bowing at my feet, I know there are lots of people who are proud of us. There are plenty of others who would like to have such an awesome adventure.
I know how hard it was, and I know I’m 15 years old. I pulled a loaded trailer from Florida to California. I did it.
I did it.
P.S. Coming Soon to a theatre near you….more Adelphia Family adventures. =)
Date: October 11, 2012
Day One: We left out from Jacksonville Beach this morning. We went to the ocean and dipped our tires, then got started. We figured out that if we lean our three bikes together at different angles and distribute the weight evenly they will stay standing on their own! We affectionately call it…the tripod. 🙂 It is a bit of a process though.
Our first test of mind, spirit, and body, was a bridge in Jacksonville. That thing was honking, but we all made it up with no-one walking. As we were all ready for a break, we noticed a shop (Bicycles etc.). Chuck (the owner?) helped us out, put air in the tires, and gave us some bicycling directions to the Big Blue Main St. Bridge (which was the only bridge we could take to get across the river).
When we got into Jacksonville, and made it to the big blue bridge, we understood why it was the ‘big’ blue bridge. This bridge was like a mountain, but a mountain with an extremely narrow path to the top. The sidewalk was so narrow, I was worried my trailer wouldn’t fit. We all made it up that one, too! We were really being tested for the first day!
Luke turned 8 today, so for his birthday dinner he chose McDonald’s (yes, he’s still a typical little kid). We actually did not cross paths with a McDonald’s (there’s a first time for everything) and ended up at a Wendy’s instead. It was already getting dark, and we didn’t want to find a place to camp in the dark, so we stayed at a hotel, instead. The hotel was in the same parking lot as the Wendy’s, so it was perfect. Awaiting a good nights sleep, and excited about the Jacksonville – Baldwin Rails to Trails, which we will be taking tomorrow…….Talk to you soon!
Date: October 12, 2012
Day Two: We woke up, ate breakfast, and got an early start. The Rails to Trails was (by far) the easiest stretch of our journey thus far. The trail was very smooth, with a small rest area in the middle, and quite flat. I did have some sunburn (I think all of us did) and wore a long sleeve shirt to keep from getting more sunburnt. We had not bought sunscreen yet, that was our first big mistake! We were all hot and drank lots of water! We stopped in Glen Saint Mary when we noticed a post office. I sent off a few letters, and a package to my sister. 🙂
When we were about worn out for the day, we entered the small town of Sanderson, FL. It did not look very friendly, and we asked around a bit. Someone warned us that we should lock our bikes up if we stayed on that end of town. None of us had the energy to go five more miles, so we stopped and asked the ambulance rescue station/sheriff’s department if we could set up camp in their yard. They called a supervisor, who said yes, and we had a wonderful chat with the EMT’s. We were ensured that our bikes (and gear) were safe in the back yard, and the only bad part was that they forgot to tell us the railroad tracks that were 25 feet from our tent were live, and had 6 trains (with loud horns) per night. They didn’t tell us until AFTER our tent was set up. Oops! 🙂
P.S. Obviously, as with any long trip (whether in a car or on a bike) there will be slight mishaps. We are no exception! Today we did get slightly lost, and decided that Google Bike Maps has too many turns that are too tough to follow!
Date: October 13, 2012
Day Three: When we woke up, mom had a migraine (from the hot sun beating down on us yesterday) and we ended up taking it slow, stopping often, and we still made it all the way out to Lake City. On the way, we stopped at the city of Olustee, and got to see the Civil War Battlefield there. There is a Historical Information Center there as well, we enjoyed the air conditioning and water for awhile.
While we were still in Sanderson, we were trying to figure out accommodations for the night, and decided to call the bike shops in Lake City. Only one answered, and when I explained our situation, and what we were doing, he said that he would make a few phone calls, and after not getting anywhere with that, he told us we could stay at his house. We got into Lake City, ate some Subway, and met JT at his bike shop. As soon as I pulled in, we realized that my back tire was flat. From there we locked the bikes in, and he drove us to his house. JT, Annie, and the three kids were awesome, and great hosts! We had a wonderful little vacation hanging out with them. What a simple phone call can do!
Date: October 14, 2012
Day Four: Today, as it is a Sunday, we slept in, and then while JT was fixing my flat, and showing Dad some things on the bikes, we took his kids, and relaxed at a Starbucks in town. After JT and Dad came to the Starbucks, we went back to the shop to pick up the bikes, and had the privilege of meeting the Pastor of their church. We were invited to spend the night in the church.
We were in need of another trailer (for Mom’s bike), just in case mine broke, we had a backup, and so we could evenly distribute the weight, so it wasn’t as much of a strain on whoever was pulling it at the time. We stopped at a Walmart, and since it had started misting outside, we pulled the bicycles inside to put the new trailer on. We had a great (*sarcasm*) experience with the first trailer we bought (it was pretty messed up, didn’t even go together correctly) and then promptly returned it and got a different one, which went together fine. Although it was misting, we braved through it, the hills, and the dark night, and made it to the Church all in one piece. We are there now, updating the blog. 🙂
Pastor Brendan is full-blooded Irish, and told some funny Irish pub jokes. Example: An Irish man walked out of a pub. Hey, it can happen!
Date: October 15, 2012
Day Five: We got up quite early, left the church, and got started pedaling. The hills were quite large (we are finding out this is the usual for around here) and it was a rough, hot day. There was a nice town (Live Oak) where we stopped and got some supplies, and did our (much needed) laundry.
We ended up making it to the beautiful Suwannee River State Park, and camped on their campground. It was very beautiful, the trees were interesting, but wonderful, the water was a beautiful color, and the bridges in the area were breathtaking. Near the bathrooms of the campground we got to see lots of amazing little critters, some sort of lizards, lots of spiders, toads, and a few snails. There were some huge spiders near our campsite, as well. We got lots of pictures of those! There was even one that was a rainbow of florescent colors. We met some nice people, and the couple that was at the campsite one over from ours, were very nice, and are actually taking U.S. 90 out sometime Wednesday, so we may cross paths again.
Well, thank you all for following our journey, and I’ll talk to you soon!
Date: October 16, 2012
Day Six: Today we made it 31 miles. Not bad for our first week on the road! We all rested well at Suwannee, and were full of energy for our start. We had some oatmeal for breakfast, then headed out.
The hills were no fun, so we rested frequently. The heat did not help at all! We stopped in the small town of Lee, FL to fill up our water bottles and get a snack. We went to the library, chatted with the librarians and checked out our map. We decided that we would stop for the night in Greenville, which was about 20 miles from there.
Shortly after we left the library, we saw a shape on the other side of the road, coming toward us. We weren’t sure what it was at first, but as we got near the bottom of the hill we saw that it was another bicyclist, and he had panniers on his bike. I immediately started waving (having come to the realization that he was a cross-country cyclist) and he pedaled up to us. We chatted for a good half hour, and found out that he was from the UK, and had just come to the US to do this trip. He had come from Vancouver, and was ending in Key West. He should be done with his journey November 1st. Good luck Richard!
As we pulled into Greenville, we met a lovely woman, Linda. She wanted to know what we were doing, and after explaining our trip to her, she said “Well, I can’t just leave you outside to fend for yourselves, come home with me, and I’ll call Pastor and see if he can let you sleep in the church.”
So, needless to say, we rode to her house and waited for Pastor Toney, who set us up in the Youth House. Pastor Toney has 16 siblings, and his wife is expecting their 5th child any day. Hopefully we will be ending in Tallahassee tomorrow, we’ll have to see if the hills let up.
Date: October 17, 2012
Day Seven: We woke up, ate oatmeal (again) and got on the road. Right away it was really hot and hilly, and we knew we were in for a hard day.
Our first big stop was in Monticello, FL. We stopped at a produce stand just outside of town, and then went to the library a few miles into town. We needed to do some work on the laptops, and figure out how we wanted to go through Tallahassee (we had heard that we shouldn’t go through the middle of town).
Because of the heat, we decided to stay at the library until it cooled off. I believe it was around 2 o’clock when we actually got back on the road.
We are still being worked into shape, so the hills were rough on us all. It was somewhere around 6:30 when we realized we needed to find a place to stay rather quickly, as daylight was fading. We stopped at a Baptist church near Tallahassee, and were told to try the Civic Center. We kept going, and stopped at a Catholic church, and they did not want our tent in their yard, either.
By then we were all quite frustrated and tired. Dad said that if there was a cheap motel we would just stay at the nearest place. We stopped at a gas station, filled up our water bottles, and talked to the clerk, who informed us there were some hotels about a mile up the road. We made it with no problems, the cars were quite courteous, and we ended up staying at the Best Western. (Not exactly a cheap motel, but hey, I wasn’t gonna complain!)
We were all wanting some dinner, and walked over to the Waffle House. The place was quite empty, and the two girls on duty knew how to make us laugh. We talked to them for half an hour before we even ordered, and once we did, the food was excellent.
We were all tired, and hit the hay almost as soon as we got back to the hotel room.
Date: October 18, 2012
Day Eight: Today we got a really late start, and then had a flat tire as soon as starting out, so it was hard getting through the day because of that. The heat is usually the worst right around 2, and that was just our starting point. The hills going into Tallahassee were, by far, the worst of the entire trip.
One thing about Tallahassee, is the traffic is so horrendous, you really cannot ride on the street, so we were stuck on the sidewalk. The sidewalk on the side of the street we were supposed to be on, was under construction, so we were going against traffic. There were many dangerous places because of high traffic levels and dangerous sidewalks. There were narrow areas, gravel patches, and sharp twists and turns. It was not a fun trip!
We had heard of a place called The Bike House, and we were inbetween on going there, or trying to make it further. In the end The Bike House won, and altogether we went 9 miles for the day.
We stayed at The Bike House overnight, and hung out with Scot and Laura.
Date: October 19, 2012
Day Nine: Today was my favorite so far. Bristol was a great little town, and was where we ended up staying the night. But, let me start at the beginning.
We left The Bike House, and headed out of Tallahassee. We couldn’t get out fast enough. The hills were a slight improvement from yesterday’s, but rough none the less. We made quite a few rest stops, and ended up stopping at yet another produce stand, this time in Hosford. Because we had only made it 9 miles yesterday, we were behind on our odometer. We had originally planned on sleeping in Blountstown tonight, but we all knew that we wouldn’t make it the extra ten miles to the churches there.
After speaking to a man in Hosford, we were told that Bristol was only another 11 miles or so. After mustering up our strength to make it there, we still were unsure of where we were to stay. We stopped at a Piggly-Wiggly grocery store, to get some dinner (yummy fried chicken) and met a nice older man. The man asked us where we were going to stay, and we said that we would probably try some churches in the area. He told us that his Pastor would be happy to have us stay at their church, and to just go talk to him. So, we passed the Baptist churches, and, sure that we would have a place, went the extra mile to the Church of God. Alas, when we got there….the Pastor did not have the same idea as the older man in the grocery store. So, backtracked to the Baptist church.
I volunteered to go inside and talk to the Pastor (you know, young charm) and yes, the Pastor even said we could stay inside, as long as we didn’t mind that there was going to be a youth function. We didn’t mind, and had a very comfortable set up.
Blountstown and Bristol have a big rivalry, and that night was the football game. Dad and I went, and I got to meet some people my age (yay!) at the function at First Baptist. Thank you Pastor Roger!
Date: October 25, 2012
I know that I have slacked horribly on my journal page, and I am very sorry. I will be going in and trying to fill some days in. Don’t worry, I’m still alive and well!
Books that I’ve read so far on the trip:
- The War of Art
- Do The Work
- The Maze Runner
- The Scorch Trials
- The Shack
- Lord of the Flies
- Crispin: The Cross of Lead
- Blue Like Jazz (Reading it out loud to my parents)
- To Kill A Mockingbird
- Great Expectations
Q & A: We Are Over Halfway…
Q: Has it been as hard as you’d thought it would be?
A: The first few weeks were the most difficult, but as we got further along in our journey it did get easier. The hardest part of the entire trip to date, has been tackling Texas. If we thought Florida had hills, we were definitely in for a rude awakening. Texas has been challenging psychologically, because we all know that Texas is about a third of the entire trip, but the terrain west of Austin has not been fun to cycle in. Although, I must be honest, overall, it has not been as hard as I’d imagined.
Q: What has been the hardest part so far?
A: The hills. In Texas they are the kind of hills that make me wonder how we call them ‘hills’ in Indiana. In Indiana these would be mountains. They are the kind of difficult climbs that make me say, “It’s okay if you have to walk your bike up, there is no shame in that, your legs will still get you across America”. I have stayed mentally strong, and not walked up one yet, but we shall see what the future holds.
Q: What has been the best part?
A: Oh, there have been so many ‘best parts’…. I would have to say in general the best part of the trip is the people we meet. In Indiana I was comfortable with the people I knew, and the friends I had. There was no reason for me to talk to people outside my comfort zone, because everyone I needed was right there. On this trip we have all been stretched and taught so much from the different kinds of people we have encountered. I definitely think all the good people outnumber the bad ones, and we have interacted with an overwhelming amount of caring and sharing people. That’s really what makes this trip worth doing.
Q: What is your favorite memory (memories)?
A: I have way more memories than I could write down in a week, but if I had to narrow it down….I really enjoyed meeting and interacting with the French family in Mississippi. I also enjoyed hanging out with the youth group in Ragley, LA, and making friends there. Staying inside the Reverend’s mansion in Starks, LA was quite awesome. Staying in Santa Rosa Beach, FL, at the Ellis home was amazing. Oh man, there are so many! All of our hosts have created good memories….actually the people who have hosted us will always have a special place in our hearts, they have all been extremely generous, kind, and hospitable. I have made many friends, some that I believe will be lifelong. They are probably the best memories. 🙂 <3
Q: What is the first place would you go back and visit? Why?
A: I love the beach, so Florida was wonderful…..but I really can’t make that decision! Louisiana had some of the best people in the world, as did Mississippi. I would probably go to Louisiana, just because the amount of wonderful people we met there surpass the gorgeousness of the Gulf.
Q: What is the most beautiful thing that you have seen to this point?
A: My face. Dad said I couldn’t use that. Oh man! Um, I would have to say the sunsets. In Florida it was beautiful as the sun set over the Gulf, but the huge Texas sky has hosted some magnificent sunsets, as well. 🙂
Q: Has there been any point where you wanted to quit?
A: There was one day where the wind and hills had me quite miserable, but I can’t say that I thought “Self, I want to quit.” I think the most dramatic I’ve been is wanting to quit for that day, but I’ve never thought that we should give up, and get a flight home. I think I’m too stubborn to let myself think things like that…it would be quite a failure to just stop and go home. I think of my friends and family, and what I want to go back as. I want to go home as a cross-country cyclist, not as a wannabe.
Q: What has been the biggest surprise to this point?
A: That rocks poke through my sleeping bag to haunt me while I sleep (or try to). Although, I guess my main surprise was the amount of road-kill we have seen. I’ve seen more on this trip than in my entire life. 200+ armadillo’s, 50+ raccoons, 50 + possums, 20+ deer, 15+ fox, squirrels, ringtails, a bobcat, a few snakes….the list goes on. And on. And on. And on. And on. And on. You get the point.
Q: What has been your favorite meal?
A: It is a close tie between two wonderful evenings: One, while we were being hosted in Gulf Port, MS, we had a huge meal with our hosts (Barbara and Bernie) and the French family (of 6). We were a dozen altogether and had a wonderful meal put together by Barbara. 🙂 Two, while we were in the bayou country of Louisiana, we went to eat at G & J Drive Inn, and were treated by the wonderful wait staff. That was a delicious meal. 🙂
Awesome Gals I’ve Met – and the impression they left…
In the many weeks of being on the road, hardly a day goes by without meeting someone that leaves a lasting impression. There have been so many women that showed amazing qualities being lived out in their everyday lives.
Many of the women I have met on this trip, I will forever look up to. The following is a tribute to all the wonderful women that we have come across, and the qualities that showed through in the best of ways.
Annie: As our first host, she went above and beyond making sure we were comfortable, had what we needed, showered, fed, and put to bed. She was so very happy just in everyday life, and her faith in Jesus showed through in many things she did. She just had a friendly, open personality, and was a woman that you felt comfortable just being around.
Linda: Despite her physical difficulties, she was one of the most kind and loving women I have ever met. She had to ride a scooter, because of her muscular dystrophy, but instead of letting that get in her way, she used it as a ministry. She could not rest knowing that we did not have a building to sleep in, and insisted on us coming to her house while she called her Pastor to find out if we could stay at the church. She was very generous with her time, and opened her home to us, although we were strangers. She was such a helpful, wonderful woman, and I hope I meet her again.
Vipka: We only met Vipka for about 20 minutes, but that was long enough to see what an amazing person she is. She has walked over 40,000 miles, in many countries, with just a companion and a backpack. She has a crazy amount of persistence, and she was out there, getting it done…not afraid of hard work, or of aches and pains, but just knowing that as long as she kept walking, she would get to her destination.
Barbara: Oh, where should I start? Barbara was such a warm, loving person. When we walked into her house she was immediately trying to make us comfortable, and we fell into friendly conversation instantly. Barbara is an extremely intelligent, educated woman, and works for the Air Force as a curriculum designer. She took much time out of her schedule to feed us, set up our room, and she made sure we had anything we could want/need. She also scheduled a day trip to New Orleans for us and the other family they were hosting at the time. She is also at fault for getting me hooked on an amazing series that I can’t put down! Thanks for giving me that first book!
Ida: Everyone that has a story of overcoming Breast Cancer immediately has a place on my ‘people I look up to’ page. Ida was such a wonderful lady. She stopped us on the road, and told us all about her story….and what a beautiful story it was. We also discovered during our conversation that my dad and her late husband are distant cousins. I have a new found ‘aunt’!
Kay: Another woman that we just happened to run across. We had stopped to take some photos near the beach, and she lived in the house across the street. She came over to ask if we wanted her to take a picture of all of us together. After we started chatting she mentioned that she had very recently won her battle with Breast Cancer. Her mother is also a survivor, and you can see Kay share that story HERE:. Her kindness and attentiveness to what others may need left a lasting impression on me. She also showed her strength and perseverance, and although it was still too fresh for her to share her story, she is a fighter. A survivor.
Kim: Pastor Jon’s wife, Kim, really showed love to everyone she met. Their church is in a poor community, and they have had to overcome many different challenges. Kim showed her generosity, and her gentle spirit with how she spoke to everyone, including her children. But that was just how she lived every day. Being genuine is something that stands out in a world of people who talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk.
Peggy: Miss Peggy is just the kind of person that sees a stranger and makes them feel welcome. Her faith and joy showed through in everything she did, and she was such a hospitable person. We met her on a Saturday night, when we stayed at their church, and Sunday (as it was raining) Miss Peggy and her husband invited us to stay at their house. They had only met us the night before. She was attentive, and genuinely interested in our stories and what we had to say. Her daughters were wonderful as well, and I believe we will be staying in contact with them for many years to come. Us girls had fun painting nails while the boys talked about hunting.
Edye: Never have I met such a generous woman. Although you knew she wasn’t a millionaire, she went above and beyond what anyone could expect, or want. She was generous with her time, and her money. She bought us some snacks, and then showed up at our tent the next morning with breakfast for all of us. She had the kind of generosity that you run across once in a lifetime.
Carol: Carol has hosted 60 bicyclists through warmshowers.org, and she is 80 years old. She works at an organic farm once a week, has a Bed & Breakfast down the road, has a pecan orchard (and shells buckets of pecans each year), built her house and barn, participates in a 600 mile bike ride each year, is a wood-worker, built homes with Habitat for Humanity, climbed mountains, backpacked in many countries, among many other things. I don’t know if I could find a word or quality that explains her, but my dad came up with this phrase: “The World’s Most Interesting Person”. If you named a place, she had been there. If you mentioned an animal or plant or insect or bird, she knew what it was…and chances were, she knew more about it than you did. The acreage south of her home is a wild life refuge. This was a woman that was not defined by anyone, was not put in a box, but chose to think outside the box, travel the world, and learn as much as she could about as many subjects as she could. An amazing woman, to say the least.
Chrysa: Her name is pronounced [sir – ee – sa]. She was such a sweet person. Her loving spirit, kindness, and generosity was amazing. She opened up the spa so we could have wonderful hot showers, she saw that my nail polish had since chipped, and promptly brought out her nail polish, she thought of anything and everything that we could have needed. Her hospitality, even though she had never met us, was outstanding. She was a great person to talk to, and had many ideas and stances on life. She was a yoga instructor, a massage therapist, and an avid backpacker. She had also lived on an island in Mexico for six months. She didn’t understand why we would want to ride bikes across the country, and wouldn’t it be better to have backpacked the Appalachian Trail? She almost made it sound as if it would have been the Hilton every night. =) Her interest in our story and her open arms gave me a lasting impression of this remarkable woman.
Date: January 1, 2013
So, here we are. Where? Oh, yeah, sorry. We are in Ocotillo, CA. Where? Oh, yeah, sorry. It’s about 90 miles east of San Diego. We are almost there. Man, I can’t believe it. It’s almost funny, but when we first started, all I wanted was to be done. It was an exciting thing to be doing, but I figured when we got to San Diego, the first thing I would do was throw my bike away and never want to touch one again. Never want to be on something with two wheels again! I don’t really know when that changed.
Somewhere along the way I realized that bicycling wasn’t just a sport. It’s not just a way to lose unwanted weight, or get those killer calves (like mine)….it’s a way to get yourself places without spending gas money. It’s a way to socialize with people and exercise. It’s a way to know who you are, and push yourself above and beyond what you thought you were capable of. It’s a way to learn what you’re made of. It’s a way to bring a family close.
This entire journey we have been raising money for Breast Cancer. This entire journey. It wasn’t until we were in Yuma that it really hit me what it did. I had told people the statistics in conversations, and whenever someone asked why we had chosen Breast Cancer as our fundraiser, I had an answer…but it wasn’t until Yuma that I had a personal connection with it.
I know that we have people in our family that are Cancer survivors, but no-one that is really close to me, or that I see more than once every year or two. But this was different. Let me tell you how it came about.
We were staying at FCC in Yuma, AZ, and since our story had aired in the paper that morning, we received an e-mail from a woman who lives in Yuma. She offered to help with whatever we needed, and told us to give her a call. I called her, and she offered to take us out for lunch. We met Lucy at a Chili’s for lunch, and she told us about her connection with Susan G. Komen. She walks 60 miles in three days and raises $2,300 or more each time.
And then she started telling us about her connection with Breast Cancer. About her best friend, that she lost a few years back. About another friend’s mom that passed away. Then it was real. It was real to me for the first time. 1 in 8 women get breast cancer. Numbers I had repeated often, but just started to understand. That means that out of my ten or so close girl friends, one of us will (statistically speaking) end up with Breast Cancer.
There is a girl that Lucy was telling us about. Her name is Bridget. She is 29, but has been fighting Breast Cancer for 7 years. Reading Bridget’s story…..really touched me. She has just asked everybody to let her go. She has fought long and hard. She is ready to stop fighting.
That’s scary to me. I’m going to be 20 in just five years, and what is keeping me from getting it and not my best friend. Or what is keeping any of my friends from getting this horrible disease? We are all young, in High School, but the one thing that all of my girl friends and I have in common – is that we are all girls. And we are all susceptible. It will be a few years before any of us could get it, but it is a possibility. That’s scary to me. Very scary.
So, what can we do to change that? Breast Cancer is a disease that should not be able to continue. We should stop it. How? By Volunteering, by donating, by being a part of the solution. By working together.
There are some ways to lessen your risk.
Here are some tips from the Women’s Health Center.
1. Maintain a healthy body weight (BMI less than 25) throughout your life.
2. Minimize or avoid alcohol.
3. Consume as many fruits and vegetables as possible.
4. Exercise regularly.
“Other than lifestyle changes, the most important action a woman can take is to follow the American Cancer Society’s guidelines for early detection. Early detection will not prevent breast cancer, but it can help find it when the likelihood of successful treatment is greatest.”
Thank you all so much for all the encouragement during this journey. We are in California, and within a week of being at the coast. Tomorrow we attack the mountain range, and then we have a 50 mile downhill to San Diego. 🙂 Wow, that’s incredible.
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