Whenever I have an opportunity to join my South Florida community in supporting important causes, I always come away richer in spirit and warmer in heart. On Saturday, October 21, 2017, our Flourish Masterminds team walked to raise money and awareness for breast cancer along with many other teams and individuals, numbering over 20,000 people. Held annually every October, the Making Strides in Breast Cancer Walk, which is associated with The American Cancer Society, begins in quaint Mizner Park and winds down beautiful Palmetto Park Road, over the bridge, toward the beach, and then back again.
Leading up to and during the walk, I had many insights. First, I felt inspired to hand paint our Flourish Mastermind shirts to put love and dedication into the whole process of being part of this walk. The word flourish means to thrive, and it is my hope and desire that everyone who is touched by this disease thrives in the face of it. Breast cancer statistics are mind blowing. One out of every eight women will be affected. That sucks, to say it simply. In the U.S., 252,710 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and 40,610 of them will die in 2017. In my own family, I lost both my grandmother and my cousin to this disease, so it hits very close to home.
With the front of the shirts complete, I wanted them also to reflect the healing power of love, so I painted a graffiti-style heart on the back of each one, representing all women who have received this diagnosis. I also thought about our daughters and the future of this disease—I brought thoughts of healing, cures, and eradicating it completely to mind
The morning of the walk, I woke up super early—ready and prepared. A sense of honor washed over me when I arrived. So many others had come to support this important cause, all waking up early too to arrive for the 8:30 start time. My dear friend, Lori Samuels, who had been diagnosed more than 10 years ago had just arrived home from Canada at midnight and drove 45 minutes to join us—arriving on time and ready to go.
What touched me deeply was how many young girls were walking and how many men came out to support the cause. When I noticed two twenty-something young men wearing t-shirts honoring their grandmother, I felt a deep feeling of warmth and compassion. What a beautiful gift of their time and honor they were giving to their grandmother.
Boca Raton Mayor Susan Haynie and Boynton Beach Mayor Steven Grant were there to officially open the walk at the 7 a.m. City Council members, Robert Weinroth, Andrea Levine O’Rourke were there as well. Truly, this was an awesome and heartwarming sight to see and experience. There were teams from neighborhoods, well-known companies, and local businesses all out for this cause. Even the firefighters were there, giving out complimentary pink fire hats. Some people went way out and dressed in pink feathers, rhinestones, and even wore pink wigs! We even saw a pink motorcycle, pink car, and pink tow truck. Creativity for a good cause at its finest.
I could feel the loving energy of the walk, too, as if it were a physical thing. People were holding hands, group members had their arms around one another, and real heart-and-soul connections were being made all around. I had the most beautiful conversation with one of my students, which I wouldn’t have had had it not been for the walk. And to add an even greater dimension to it all, Shelley Plumb, Plumbtalk Productions, joined us and expertly captured the feeling in photography and video, and for that I couldn’t be more grateful.
I felt so blessed to have been part of the day and fortunate that I was part of a bigger picture toward a brighter future where everyone can someday flourish better health.
The Flourish Mastermind team ended the experience at Starbucks, where we recapped the day and shared our thoughts. We talked about what we felt, and we all wholeheartedly agreed that the day reflected immense love, compassion, connection, community, bonding, healing, wellness, and lots of HOPE.