Sunday, October 10, 2010

Four Weeks To Go & Thinking About a Guy I Don't know

[This article was first published as Four Weeks To Go and Thinking About a Guy I Don't Know on Technorati.]
(Writer's note: I've been busy putting together the Education Buzz--Life's a Carnival which will appear here on Wednesday. So instead of posting my usual witty observations, I'm posting my update on my 3-day for the Cure training. Jeepers Creepers, it's in four weeks. If you haven't donated and want to still donate for the cure, my BFF Jennifer still needs a bit more in order to walk. Remember I need her for that whole camping thing. Otherwise, I'll be sleeping on the ground being eaten alive by bears. OK, so maybe bears is a teensy weensy bit of exaggeration.  How about eaten alive by coyotes? Armadillos? OK, chiggers then… So have a little pity and go here to donate to my BFF Jennifer, but before you do that, please read the post below…] 

Lately I've spent quite a bit of time thinking about a guy I don't know. On Oct. 8, he walked the walk--you know the one, the 3-day for the Cure. 
In April, I read a column by Leonard Pitts about his decision to participate in the Susan G. Komen 60-mile walk for the cure. Inspired by his words, I decided instead of donating money for his walk, I would walk the walk as well and signed up for the 3-day for the Cure in Dallas on Nov. 5.

Ever since I began this undertaking, Mr. Pitts has floated in and out of my thoughts. Admittedly, sometimes those thoughts weren't very warm and fuzzy especially when my walking buddies and I braved 100-plus degree heat to train.

Other times I wondered/worried whether Mr. Pitts had trouble getting his donations. I shouldn't have worried so much about him. While my team  struggled to raise our $2,300 each, his readers donated more than $27,000. I can only chalk it up to the difference between a well-known, professional syndicated columnist and team of high school teachers.

Still, I am just as proud of the quarters raised by our high school students as I am of the outpouring of generosity of Mr. Pitts' readers. In some ways, I am even more proud of the fledgling Pink Panther Club formed just a month ago to increase breast cancer awareness at our school--all a result of our upcoming walk which in an odd way traces the start of its journey back to Mr. Pitts.

I always tell my journalism students that we often don't know how our words touch others or even if they do.

I checked on Mr. Pitts' recent columns to see what sort of update he had related to the 3-day for the Cure.  Again, he had a particularly poignant piece writing that  "…life is an understanding: We're all going to the same destination. The only difference is in what you choose to see along the way."

But I would have to add something to that observation because it's not just what you choose to see along the way, it's also who you touch along the way.

So because Mr. Pitts unknowingly touched my life, I will spend this weekend wondering and worrying how this stranger fared on his 60-mile walk.

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