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People Who Inspire Me: Two HUC Interns Walking the Breast Cancer 3-Day

In between their overwhelming studies and their huge responsibilities running our Mishpacha Family Alternative Learning program, two HUC interns, Rebecca Saliman and Rachel Isaacson, walked the Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk in San Diego to support the Susan B. Komen’s foundation. They were part of a 15 member team of students and friends from Hebrew Union College. The team, led by Rachel Isaacson, was named Emunah (believe in Hebrew), because they believe in a world without breast cancer. Team Emunah raised over $39,000 for breast cancer research and medical assistance, and ranked 24th for fundraising out of over 900 teams in the San Diego walk. To make time beyond the daily grind to participate in gemilut chasadim (acts of lovingkindness), especially for people you really don’t know: that makes them inspirational.

Rachel’s experience is shared on her blog.

Rebecca writes:

I was touched…
I was touched by just how many people came out to support us. As we walked through the streets of San Diego, thousands of people lined the streets, giving us high-fives, candy, pins, stickers for our name cards, and smiles of encouragement. People dressed up in funny costumes and met us along the way. I looked forward to seeing “Smile Guy and Little Grin,” a father and his three-year-old daughter who were dressed up in yellow smiley-faced outfits and handed out stickers. When we walked through a residential area, one family stood at the top of the hill and cheered as we reached the top, “you know where you are?” they shouted, “YOU’VE REACHED THE TOP OF THE HILL!” As we were about to walk up a really steep hill on the second day, people lined the entire base of the hill, high-fiving us on our way up; somehow the hill didn’t seem so ominous. One woman made thousands of home made cookies for us at rest stop 5–just what I needed after miles 15,16, and 17 on the second day. It felt like everyone was behind us, encouraging us, pushing us, motivating us. It was amazing.

I was in awe…
I was in awe of a woman who has walked in every single Breast-Cancer-3-Day walk this year (12 in all). I was in awe of two sisters who walked for their third sister who was battling breast cancer and died the first night of the walk…and the two sisters kept walking. The walk was a celebration of life.

I was sad…
I was sad when I walked through the tent of remembrance and I saw photos of people who were registered to walk in the San Diego Breast Cancer 3 Day but never made it to this weekend. People wrote the names of people they were walking for…thousands of names. And I realized just how many people are affected by breast cancer and just how many people are invested in finding a cure.

I laughed…
I laughed as we sang while we walked, at the man who was dressed up as a mammogram machine (wearing a box with two holes cut out and a sign: place breasts here), at the crazy sweep vans completely covered by bras, at the walkers’ creative costumes (i.e. the boobies – dressed up as bubble bees). I laughed because though people’s feet were covered in blistered, we were all still smiling.

I walked 60 miles in three days and it was amazing. As we completed the last mile and entered Pet-co stadium for closing ceremonies, I walked, teary-eyed, through a tunnel of walkers who had already finished. They slapped my hands as person after person looked into my eyes and said, “Good job. You’re amazing. You did it.” We all did it…4,500 walkers, 450 volunteer crew…and the entire city of San Diego behind us all the way. My team of 15 Hebrew Union College students and friends raised over $40,000 and together we raised 11.3 million.

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