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Team Baghdad Breast Defense
In 2006 I signed up to walk my first Boston 3 day because my sister Kim asked me to join her. She wanted to do something positive after battling her cancer for so long. I was actually rather ignorant of the cause, the disease, and the battle that my sister had fought. We had a survivor party celebrating Kim's remission that past summer. Walking the 3 day was a way of spending time with her since we were both so busy with life and lived in communities on opposite ends of the state. The idea of walking was hers and initially it was just talk until I saw the Susan G. Komen for the cure on TV. I called…
In 2006 I signed up to walk my first Boston 3 day because my sister Kim asked me to join her. She wanted to do something positive after battling her cancer for so long. I was actually rather ignorant of the cause, the disease, and the battle that my sister had fought. We had a survivor party celebrating Kim's remission that past summer. Walking the 3 day was a way of spending time with her since we were both so busy with life and lived in communities on opposite ends of the state. The idea of walking was hers and initially it was just talk until I saw the Susan G. Komen for the cure on TV. I called the # and signed up and then called Kim. She hadn't signed up yet. The event was fast approaching and I had almost completed my initial fundraising when my parents called me and told me that Kim's Cancer had metestisized to her bones. Kim's battle wasn;t over and I knew I would have to walk for her alone; or so I thought. I met amazing people that first year and soon realized that I was not alone by any means. I so wanted to finish the 60 miles and see her at the finish line. The experience was awsome, emotional, uplifting and overwhelming. I was hooked but when I arrived at the finish line despite all my family being there and a few friends as well as all my new friends; I lost it, becuase Kim couldn't make it to the closing ceremonies. She was just to sick and to weak. I broke down and it was at that moment that I truly realized just how devastating and insideous this disease is. After the walk that year I lost my sister, Kim Noel Hollett, to cancer a couple of weeks before christmas. The holidays were really hard for us all that year and a few weeks after the New Year I was being deployed back to Iraq. I was engaged to be married in Sep of 2008 but rather than putting it off til later we decided to plan a wedding in 3 1/2 weeks and 2 weeks after the wedding I was leaving for overseas preperation and training. We hit boots on ground in Iraq in May of 07 and although I wanted to be home with my wife I wasn't eligible for R&R leave for 3 months. I was going to miss the Boston 3 Day by just a week or so so I created a Team of One and decided I would walk in Baghdad while the 3 Day walked in Boston. I began short training walks in Baghdad and contacted the 3 day coaches and told them what I was doing. They and my friends and family back home shared my story with other 3 day walkers back in Boston. But the heat was becoming unbearable in Baghdad. At the time of the scheduled Boston walk the heat was expected to hit 120 degrees plus in Baghdad. So I bagan walking at night, alone, carrying a weapon and wearing all my gear which included a rather heavy flack vest. My command found out what I was doing and at first they weren't to happy with me but my 1SG and the CSM spoke on my behalf to the Colonel and he in turn made arrangements to get me out early on leave. Quite poosibly because they knew how serious I was because I actually registered as a 3 day walker and although army regulations prohibited me from direct fundraising amongst the soldiers, I was able to raise my intial goal in ten days by telling my story via email. In fact, I had set a goal to raise the $2300 required to participate by Jun 23rd, Kim's Birthday and on Jun 23rd I was short $110.00 when I received a $150.00 donation which turned out to be from Kim's fiance'! It gets better... at the end of my duty day I went back to my can and my room mate brought me a gift which he had found outside of his shop. You see he worked in an area where just behind his shop was a driving range which has been featured in Golf Digest as Sadm Hussein's personal golfing range. He presented me with, not knowing that it was my sister's birthday, a pink ribbon golf ball! I was floored! The tough part was explaining to my newly wed wife that I was coming home early on leave to spend 3 days with a couple thousand women camping out in pink tents. She thought I was crazy but many others thought she was just as crazy her self for not only agreeing to let me but supporting my decision since it would mean 3 days out of my 2 weeks leave and then having to watch me go back to Iraq for at least 9 months more of straight time in the desert. Thus, Team Baghdad Breast Defense - From Baghdad to Boston and Back - "For You, For Kim and For All of Them" was born.