I just want to add my thanks. I just get teary seeing all you guys out there walking. What incredible friends and families you have. I wish I could have been at every single walk! I was lucky that John & Brenda brought me to Iowa to speak at the Davenport walk. My father (who turns 80 this year) came with me and it was the first time he had ever seen me speak for the PF and I don't think he really "got" what it was that I was so passionate about... He was really proud and that meant so much to me.
I have to share a couple highlights for me--because I am just humbled by the hearts of our members: Brad's fiance came up and introduced herself to me. What a lovely woman. I am sure Shelly would have loved her and I am so happy that Brad and Hailey have someone but are still able to be there with us. That is an incredibly selfless gift Michelle gave.
A grandmother, and mother holding a tiny baby came up and introduced themselves as women I had talked with on the phone. The father of the baby is Shelly's cousin and the mom had preeclampsia and delivered about 6 weeks early. They thanked me for the support and wanted to show me the baby. I could barely speak.
And I got to meet Mada!! I didn't even recognize her with her short hair--but I felt like I wanted to spend every minute wiht her--like we were sisters separated at birth. I was so grateful to meet her--and it was so normal--like we had known one another for forever. Thank you so much for making the trip, Mada, I love you!!
Then John & Brenda invited us to the farm for a BBQ. I forget that I "started" this thing so I am just being Anne and hanging out when John asked if I had seen Kim's tattoo...and I hadn't. Kim, Shelly's sister, has a tattoo on her back of angel wings in the PF colors with a PF ribbon. I really had to fight the tears...what a humbling thing--to see that. I just hung on poor Kim as the tears flowed.
And then, the best part (?) was as we were leaving, my father tearing me away, John came out and asked if I had met his nephew. I have to back up--about a year ago his nephew had done a posterboard for a school project on someone "famous" who had made a difference in the world. The posterboards were on display in the Iowa Capitol. Chris (?) decided to do his board on me. So apparently there was a board on me next to the Harriet Tubman board in the Capitol building...So I went back into the house to meet this adorable teenager--tall, with braces, and longish surfer hair and just gave this kid a huge hug. I was just so amazed. So moving...
And finally, want to share part of my speech--I talked about my experience and then I talked about "founding" the PF--and I said--that while I was the one who named it, who registered the URL, who designed the logo, chose the font, blah blah--really, all I did was "turn on the tap" because I did not do all this--you guys did. I am in awe and have no words to say thank you to everyone who are walking and working and on the boards every day making a difference.
I remember Joan and I saying we wanted to be sure no one else had to go through this alone--as we had--and I really believe that we are close to crossing that goal off our list. Thank you all so very much. I hope to get to meet each and every one of you one day.
Get yourselves to Boston October 27, 2007!!!!