My idea of a Loyalty Traveler Walk for Hope team for San Francisco this past weekend was too much to tackle in the last month of Kelley’s cancer treatment. I sincerely apologize to the persons who responded favorably to the idea.
Kelley wasn’t so excited about getting out of bed at 8am on Saturday morning to make the October 3rd Walk for Hope 9am start at the Embarcadero. I have to admit that the bed at the InterContinental San Francisco rivals the St. Regis San Francisco bed for sheer luxurious sleeping comfort. Just hanging around in bed was rather tempting.
Then again, cancer doesn’t stop while you luxuriate in a comfortable bed.
I kept the two of us committed and on task. We were out the door by 8:40am and walked from the InterContinental San Francisco a mile down Market Street, past the Hyatt San Francisco at the Embarcadero, to the Walk for Hope registration desk in the grassy field adjacent to Justin Herman Plaza and the Embarcadero office building.
The park was full of volunteers and sponsor booths rather than the usual morning scene of a few homeless men sleeping or waking up under the trees at 9:05am.
We signed in and picked up our t-shirts and headed under the pink balloon archway to start the 5K walk. There are actually different colors associated with ribbons designating different types of cancer. Walk for Hope is focused on breast cancer and designated by pink, hence the pink balloon arch.
Kelley and I were two of the last starters of the San Francisco Walk for Hope walkers. Bringing up the rear seemed to be the appropriate position considering Kelley is a newly-minted rectal cancer survivor. She finished her final chemotherapy treatment session on September 18. Colorectal cancer is a navy blue ribbon.
Now we just hope that was the final medical care she will need for cancer.
The San Francisco morning was gorgeous with the temperature in the mid-60s and barely a wind. The forecast had said 15 to 20 mph winds and a high of 62.
The walk route traversed 5 kilometers along the Embarcadero waterfront past a dozen piers, underneath the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge span and circling around the AT&T Ball Park, and back.
The crowd seemed smaller than when we walked Oakland in 2004.
There were a large number of walkers and joggers along the waterfront route not associated with the Walk for Hope event. Still, there were many hundreds of participants, perhaps even a thousand or two walkers, and there appeared to be about 20% men.
When we reached the backside of AT&T Park the music from the LovEvolution Parade floats gathered in a large waterfront lot could be heard across the inlet. The techno beat sound machines were revving up for the afternoon event on Market Street.
You say you want a LovEvolution
An entirely separate event, the Market Street LovEvolution Parade at noon allowed us sufficient time to get back to the InterContinental Hotel. We passed by the Love Parade truck floats on 2nd street, as hundreds of people in colorful clothing gathered along Market Street for the music party.
This is San Francisco’s small-scale version of the Berlin Love Parade. Hey, getting Market Street closed is a pretty big deal and the parade passing on a single street allowed us to stay in one spot and let the music pass by on about 20 rocking floats.
We hadn’t even made it back to the InterContinental San Francisco before we passed gold-painted naked guy on 4th Street around the corner from the hotel. After Bay to Breakers last May I wasn’t surprised. Camera-toting tourists stopped him to pose for photos.
A quick hotel phone check-out, then back to Market Street where we stationed ourselves outside Starwood’s Luxury Collection Palace Hotel to watch the 75-minute parade of blasting techno music floats drive slowly by with music loud enough to rattle the brain in our skulls.
LovEvolution also had a breast theme as a visible parade feature.
I couldn’t help but wonder how these two very different collectives of people – breast cancer research supporters and bare breast party dancers might have melded together two distinct crowds to increase public awareness through education and music.
LovEvolution music blasted from floats and the street party was a welcome celebration.
The Parade of Love and Walk for Hope gatherings in San Francisco were faces of our collective stories – health and sickness, love and hope.