I had the privilege of participating in the Lustgarten Foundation‘s walkathon in Paramus, New Jersey, on Sunday, September 21, 2014. The Paramus walkathon was actually organized several years ago by Jean Weber and her family after she lost her husband, Ron, to pancreatic cancer. They are an amazingly tight-knit family, not to mention the most wonderful, down-to-earth bunch of people you’ll ever meet in your life. What they do to raise funds in the fight against pancreatic cancer, as well the awareness they create, is simply amazing!
It was a wonderful yet bittersweet morning. Family and friends were united as they walked in honor of their lost loved ones. More importantly, nothing is as inspiring as seeing survivors of pancreatic cancer march out to lead the long line of walkers.
The long line of walkers.
It struck me – as beautiful as the event was, the line of walkers was simply too long. Far too many people have lost their lives to this disease; far too many families shattered, left struggling for answers, left struggling to make sense of it all.
Of course, my father was on my mind, and I could feel my throat growing tighter as I soaked everything in around me. But then my daughter held my hand, proudly sporting a peel-on tattoo she’d received on her arm from the children’s tent area. She joyfully chattered about getting a pony ride as well. Her laughter, as well the many warm smiles from people surrounding me, reminded me of one thing: eventually the sadness and grief numbs; the love – that will always remain.
It became a stirring day.
My hope is that for next year, the line of walkers is just a few people shorter…
~ Joseph A. Pinto