My upcoming pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela has made the local news!
In case the link is broken, here’s the text:
GREENVILLE, N.C. – Claudia Sundman is going to walk an impressive 500 miles across Spain to raise money for the Friends of Gilda. “I’m doing it in honor of my husband, Roger, who died of cancer,” she said. “The money will be given to help open the Cancer Support Community Eastern NC, where people of all ages gather to learn more about cancer, share their experiences with others, and find opportunities to laugh along the way. The program will be free.” To make a tax-free donation or pledge of support contact Friends of Gilda at (252) 414- 9986 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
After arriving in Spain on Aug. 17th, Sundman will start walking with many other pilgrims along the ancient Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route from St Jean Pied de Port in the French Pyrenees and finish where tradition has it that the remains of the apostle Saint James are buried in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain. The route will take her over two mountain ranges. Messages from Claudia along the route will be posted on www.cancersupportenc.org.
Claudia says that in many ways the challenging trip will be like facing the challenge of cancer. There will be ups and downs, setbacks and rewards, but ultimately the goal will be reached by putting one foot in front of the other. She notes that while each pilgrim makes their own journey, no one makes it alone. She invites you to come along with her.
I first became interested in making this pilgrimage in 1994. That year the February issue of Smithsonian Magazine ran an article about “The long, sweet road to Sanitago de Compostela.” By Simon Winchester. I was hooked! Mostly I saw it as an inexpensive way to travel across Spain… on foot and sleeping in communal dormitories set up at convenient intervals to give rest to the weary pilgrim. It sounded like a great challenge… and fun!
Alas, life gets in the way of hopes and it wasn’t until after my husband had succumbed to a brain tumor five years ago that the idea of making this pilgrimage resurfaced. I would make the trip, and I would make it in honor of my husband! More importantly, I would walk to raise awareness of (and perhaps some donations for) The Cancer Support Community of Eastern NC. This will be a place where ANYONE touched by cancer can go for support… and hugs! It is a place that I desperately needed when my husband was sick. I needed the support of other caregivers going through the same ups and downs as me. I needed support as I made the heart-wrenching journey from wife to widow to whole and happy life again. My husband needed support in a non-traditional way… by that I mean anything OTHER THAN a “support group”. My husband would have NEVER gone to a “support group”… but he was a man who would have walked through FIRE for a pot-luck dinner! Cancer Support Communities are big on shared meals that bring a community of supporters together around a dinner table to eat, talk and sometimes laugh!
A Cancer Support Community in Eastern, NC would have made a WORLD of difference to both me and my husband.
Please “share” this link and let as many people as you can learn about Cancer Support Community of Eastern NC. Donations can be sent to:
Friends of Gilda
1406 Hammersmith Drive
Winterville, NC 28590-7092