From Chicken Soup for the Sister's Soul

Diane’s Walk

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For poise, walk with the knowledge you’ll never walk alone.

Audrey Hepburn

Diane and her sister were only eighteen months apart in age, but complete opposites. Diane was outgoing and daring. A smile often crinkled her freckled nose and lit up her wide brown eyes. Both in and out of school, she could be found surrounded by a group of giggling, boisterous friends. Her sister, though, was quiet and shy. Her eyes were blue, and hidden behind a pair of glasses. She preferred to spend her time alone reading.

These two very different girls shared a yellow upstairs bedroom. They fought and argued, threatened and cried. They even drew a line of demarcation down the middle of their yellow room. Life was not harmonious.

But time passed and the girls grew up. They went to college. Diane got a job and her own apartment near Washington, D.C. Her sister married young and had two children. Their lives flowed in separate directions.

Then, when they were in their fifties, Diane’s sister was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Diane felt powerless and frustrated. She wanted to do something to help. When she heard about an organized walk that would raise breast cancer research money, she signed up without hesitation, determined to make a difference.

Diane wrote letters to her friends, neighbors and relatives, asking them to sponsor her. And she began training after work and on the weekends. All autumn she walked—short distances at first, then farther and farther. She donned a backpack, stuck a pompom on her orange baseball cap, and added miles as the weeks went on. She walked in the rain, in the snow, through slush and cold. Five miles. Ten. Spring arrived. Fifteen miles, then twenty in a day. She walked over five hundred miles, just to get ready.

And she collected donations from her many friends to find a cure for breast cancer. She raised over $7,000.

The weekend of the walk, her sister and brother-in-law drove from out of state to cheer her on. And Diane, a fifty-four-year-old woman who had never done anything like that before, walked the entire sixty-mile course to the finish line in downtown Washington, D.C.

While the flags at the base of the Washington Monument fluttered in the sunshine, and the music swelled over the crowd and into the warm spring air, Diane’s sister stood watching as wave after wave of walkers in blue T-shirts marched triumphantly over the hill. But she saw only one person—the woman in the orange pompom cap who had walked so far for her.

This story of love and generosity is true. I know, because those were my blue eyes searching the crowd from behind my glasses, and Diane, the woman in the orange pompom cap, is my sister.

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