On Sunday, May 19, 2013 we walked in memory & honor of my sister-in-law, who lost her brave battle with pancreatic cancer on 12/27/12. The PurpleStride Pancreatic Cancer walk was held in Exposition Park, which was beautiful, near the USC campus and many museums. Though the scenery was beautiful and the weather was perfect at 75 degrees, we walked with heavy hearts. It was a stark contrast from last year’s walk, which was very inspirational, fun and cheerful (link to last year’s walk story). At the starting line, I couldn’t hold my tears back any longer and of course, that upset my son who held my hand for a long time afterward, until football/basketball/trash talk with his sister and cousins lured him away from my side.
We walked. Our group didn’t stay together, everyone had their own pace this time. There was no cheering, like last year when they would yell Team Wanda Woman, and our entire group would cheer, hoot and holler. This year, there were nice volunteers with signs, but no one cheered. Maybe they knew. Maybe they saw our faces. Maybe they felt the grief in our hearts. Much to my son’s dismay, there was also no face painting – we had just missed the lady and the kids were upset. To try to pacify them, they were given balloon animals and swords.
We showed up representing Team Wanda Woman, representing our angel. I appreciate everyone on our team, whether you were able to walk Sunday or if you sent your love and support. We still are Team Wanda Woman and will walk in her memory to fight Pancreatic Cancer for future generations!
Wanda was a tough cookie, who fought courageously until the last day. Pancreatic Cancer is one of the most painful cancers, and I don’t remember Wanda complaining to anyone, not even her doctors. Wanda had a strong grace, just one of the many things that I admired about her. We miss our hero, our angel, there’s a hole that I just can’t put into words.
Some of us tried the Grilled Cheese truck, a percentage of the proceeds were donated to PurpleStride <walking for a cure to Pancreatic Cancer>. While we were eating, the kids’ balloons fell onto the grass and popped (the symbolism–not lost upon me).
While the event volunteers were cleaning up, the kids went to help pop the balloon decorations, and many of the balloons were released. My son whispered in my ear that they were being sent up to his Auntie Wanda in heaven.
Sunday’s walk was difficult, for all of us. But I am glad we stood together as Team Wanda Woman, in honor of my hero.