The real heroes in Washington, D.C.
The true heroes on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. Sunday were not at the White House, or at the other end of the street where Capitol Hill was quiet after months of contentious debate over everything from health care to financial reform.
The true heroes on that famed stretch of road in Freedom Plaza were not wearing suits, lobbying for votes, currying favor and they answered to no one except themselves and whatever higher power they trust.
The true heroes Sunday were the more than 12,000 runners, walkers, volunteers, sponsors, cancer survivors and all of the courageous families dealing with this insidious disease who joined together in a simply breathtaking display of compassion and drive to raise money and awareness for brain tumor research and, ultimately, a cure at the 13th Annual Race For Hope DC
My daughter, Cassidy, and I participated in the 5K run (she ran fast, I walked slow) and were inspired by others with just about every step we took.
I had decided earlier that morning that I would simply donate and cheer Cassidy on as she crossed the finish line, convinced that my surgically repaired knee would not be able to take the pounding.
So, despite being registered, I wore cargo shorts and looked like a typical tourist with my camera bag, two cell phones and an iPod weighing me down (as if I needed any extra weight).
Literally one minute before the start of the race, I looked over at just the sweetest looking little girl I have every set eyes on.
She was one of the faces of cancer — bald from chemotherapy, frail, gaunt and wearing a green scarf around a head strewn with surgical staples and stitches.
And she was smiling.
Faster than you can say filibuster, I pulled on my Race For Hope tee-shirt with bib No. 7613, tucked two bags of our gear inside a flower-pot on the side of the street (The Department of Homeland Security would not have been pleased), slung the bulky camera bag around my neck and started walking toward the Capitol.
Whenever my knee began to bark I’d look up to see someone wearing a shirt or button memorializing one of the millions of cancer victims the masses came to honor, thought about the unspeakable suffering they endured and kept moving until I ran across the finish line.
It was the absolute least I could do.
Never have I been so inspired.
Never have I been so driven.
Never have I been so grateful.
What an experience.
A special thank you to American Idol winner David Cook and his family, who lost David’s brother Adam to a brain tumor, for leading our more than 300-member team to a first-place fundraising total of $140,483.03.
Please visit the Race For Hope DC web site and make a donation.