The lyrics of this song by Phil and Julie Vassar answer this question in the most profound way.
There’s an empty chair at the dinner table
Where a mother used to sit,
She was 34 years old full of life and dreams
And two small kids.
There’s a young man with a tear in his eye a pink ribbon on his coat
In memory of the only love he’d ever known.
There’s a lady looking in the mirror without a strand of hair on her head
She barely recognizes the woman standing there.
She’s waging a silent war against an enemy inside
And putting up a fight of her life.
That’s why we walk
We walk to remember
We walk to celebrate
That’s why we walk
Leaning on each other
And holding on to faith
For those who are gone and those who live on
We honor them all
And that’s why we walk
For life, for love, for one another,
For him, for her, there’s strength in numbers.
What started as a simple walk in 1983 by Nancy Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and a group of 800 women in a Dallas parking lot has grown into a global phenomenon. Millions in various US cities and the world over will participat in the Race for the Cure during the month of October and has raised millions of dollars to fight against breast cancer.
In 1998, Avon, the world’s largest direct seller organized the first 3 day, 60 miles walk in support of the battle against breast cancer; Avon has raised over $740 million through its walks and has supported many outreach activities, breast cancer organizations and research stations.
I have participated in the Houston Race for the Cure for many years and it is the impact of the experience and lessons learned that compelled the birth of Ulinzi Walk in 2011 in Kigali. This event is a powerful avenue to engage the community in its own health issues, in this case breast cancer.
People take ownership and embrace volunteerism as the essence of success for the cause. They have come to realize that cancer knows no boundaries and its devastation impacts the patient, her family, community and society at large and therefore we all have to fight it from a united front just as the patient cannot face this disease alone, support is crucial to her survival.
Ulinzi Walk 2011 set the pace symbolically with hope as a commitment to the future. People from various walks of life viewed the walk as a route to saving lives: they wanted to know who we were and what we stood for and flyers with educational information were passed out.
We walked in memory of those no longer with us and celebrated survivors or those fighting the disease with strangers united with a sense of community and belonging; charged with emotional goodwill, kindness and joy to be alive.
This awesome experience was profoundly expressed by Colette, “Today, there is no black or white, Hutu or Tutsi, fat or thin, we are all pink!” Walkers came from all walks of life; we had children and youth participating, survivors, husbands, daughters, relatives and friends of those who died or those fighting the disease.
The walk provides an indescribable experience that binds people together with shared hope and determination to turn every cancer diagnosis into a survival story.
With the advent of Butaro Cancer Center, Ulinzi Walkers will celebrate this hope becoming a reality. Now, cancer patients have somewhere to go for treatment, thank God.
From lessons learned, participating in the walk requires commitment, energy, time and money. The participant pledges a certain amount of money. She/he is given the responsibility to fundraise for the pledge from individuals or businesses. It has been proven that willingness to volunteer and supporting a shared passion breeds amazing generosity.
All proceeds from Ulinzi Walk will go towards funding awareness, education, screening, treatment and support outreach activities in the country.
BCIEA invites everybody to 2012 Ulinzi Walk. Let’s make it a phenomenon event against breast cancer.
Details and specifics will follow soon.