Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Walk of Faith

The company I work for has been organizing breast cancer crusade fundraising walks for 5 years now. This year, organizing the walk took on new levels of newness and excitement. We wanted to beat last year's numbers in terms of walkers and funds. And, because so many had clamored for it, we expanded this year's event to include a 5K Run.

After months and months of endless planning and preparations, my team and I finally reached the home stretch. But things did not look good. Walk participation numbers came in trickles. Our 5K Run registration was not as robust as intended. A major sponsor backed out at the last minute due to budget constraints, putting our funds target below expectation. And to make matters worse, the weather was not on our side. Memories of how Ondoy and Pepeng wrought havoc on last year's event were still vivid and we certainly did not want a repeat.

I was on tenterhooks on the eve of the big day. The weather forecast was far from cheerful. And all throughout the Breast Cancer Forum which we hosted the day before the walk, my eyes kept darting to the window, desperate to see rays of sunshine outside. But the skies stubbornly remained cloudy and by the time I went to hear anticipated mass, it was starting to rain.

So, I sat there inside Greenbelt Chapel, feeling helpless and hopeless, thinking we've done what we could, in the best way that we could. There really was nothing else to do except let go. And in that moment of surrender, I finally realized that that was exactly what God wanted me to do.

Let go of my OC list.
Let go of the weather forecasts.
And. Just. Let. Him.
And to prove this point, the homily that evening was about "increasing our faith". Boy, did I get an earful but yes, lesson learned.

It was still raining when the priest gave the final blessing but I felt completely at peace. I got the message. God was in control so I had absolutely nothing to worry about. Once more, it was time to live up to my name and just have faith.

The miracles started unfolding later that evening. The rains stopped by 9pm and by the time the working staff trooped back to the hotel to snatch a few ZZZs before our 3am call time, it looked like it never rained at all. Sunday morning came and brought with it the most sunny, the most cheerful morning ever! All our celebrity hosts came on time. Our 5K Run drew a great crowd of 1,400! And the walk gathered 18,000 participants, breaking last year's 17,000!

My heart was so full as I looked at the crowd, amazed at how great things turned out. I looked up to the clear blue sky and smiled. So much for being OC. I totally forgot the all-important OC: Our Creator. And He made these things happen.

The crowd scene a.k.a. 18,000 bodies of evidence that God's hand was at work!

Beauties All: (from left) Ada, Ms. Paul Lopez' Universe Title Holder; Me, the undisputed Ms. Star for All Seasons of Her Tribe; Venus Raj, Ms. Universe Runner Up; Louie, Ms. Jonathan's World Titlist.

The Communications Team with 2 Ambassadors. US Ambassador Harry Thomas, Jr. (in maroon shirt) and Avon Breast Cancer Crusade Ambassador Iza Calzado.

Firing the starting gun was a rather scary experience for me. Scarier than the threat of shooting at myself or at anyone, I dreaded pulling the trigger at the wrong time and having those serious runners gang up on me for a fatal mistake!

Ms. International 2005 and now a sought after TV and movie actress, Lara Quigaman, is one of my most favorite beauty queens. A real beauty inside and out. All it took was one simple SMS request for her help and she said a resounding YES to come and be one of the emcees for the event. That's how generous and down to earth this woman is. Lara took time to charm my kids backstage.

GMA 7 TV interview at 4AM! Before I even had coffee! But the ungodly hour and lack of caffeine didn't make a dent on the energy and enthusiasm. Not at all! :-)

We asked: Ken Ya Do It? The Kenyans certainly could! The Run champs with me and our GM MDG.

A light moment with US Ambassador Thomas and APMI Head Colin.

The Unang Hirit peeps have been our walk's favorite emcees. Doing the walk has been a tradition for them, they said. This year, Iza, Lara and Luane Dy joined the lineup.

My lil big boy. My biggest fan (well, second to his ate of course). He was so supportive of his mom he finished the entire 3K! Mom felt so proud ( and, well, guilty, when he fell ill a day after).