I joined the Hand's Up for Hooters team in 2015, 2 weeks after my 2nd neck surgery, & after 2 years of rehab from a bad car accident. My first walk was 3 miles in a full neck brace. I began to train Missy who is my service dog to help me with stability as after the accident I have permanent nerve damage and often have balance and falling issues. Missy has walked every training and Komen walk since then. She is now in retirement and as I am training a new service dog, I now use walking sticks to help keep me upright while out on the trails.
When I first joined this great cause, I didn't know anyone who had breast cancer. But that has changed over the last 3 years. I now walk in memory of my dear friend and coworker, Patty, who we lost 2 years agon on Valentine's Day. I also walk in celebration of a number of my coworkers, support staff, and clients at Lyon who have beat this terrible disease, and for those that are continuing the fight.
Over the years, days are getting easier and I have been able to adjust to the new me, and make the best out of this beautiful life. The support the Hooters have given me has been amazing and I'm extremely thankful for this wonderful team. I remember our team leader, Sally saying to me on one of our walks "Michelle, you don't look like you are enjoying yourself, do you need anything?" It was one of my more difficult days that was challenging me both physically and mentally. Sally reaching out, made me smile and laugh at myself. I told myself to knock it off. I can do this. I immediately stood more upright and smiled and said, I got this! There are so many other people that have struggles much greater than mine and are fighting for their lives...I do this walk in support of them! If I can do it, you can too!
Thinking of joining a team and walking, this is truly the best team. If walking is not for you, that's ok, making a donation to my walk or one of our other Hooter walkers is always helpful. Let's all help make a difference in the lives of those needing it most!