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Virtual Susan Komen Race for the Cure

So today @ 7:30am was the Susan Komen Race for the Cure in St. Louis. Members of my family run this race every year as they did this year again. I have walked it a number of times so naturally we all signed up for it a couple of months ago and have anticipated the excitement of the event. It’s a walk/run of solidarity as participants walk in celebration of breast cancer survivors in their midst or in loving memory of one who lost the fight. The feeling of everyone being in this together wearing event shirts that celebrate life and support the cure is an intentional bond of community .

But there was one problem for me today. I wasn’t there. Instead, I am at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN taking a course. So obviously I was not able to join the community physically. Instead I planned to walk/run on my own later in the day when my class was over. Which is exactly what I did (and no doubt others do as well around the world). Since my class was focused on media (specifically social media) and Christian learning, as I set out on my walk, my head was full of thoughts regarding virtual vs. physical community. While I was physically walking, I was not in the community of people in St. Louis walking for the same cause. In a sense, my experience mimicked a virtual experience where I had the same experience as the community, only we were not physically together.

But while I walked alone like I do every other day of the week, I felt different today. There was an extra push in my stride, and extra bounce in my step. I thought about all those women in my life that I was honoring on this day. And I was thinking about the masses of other families and friends that were walking and running in St. Louis this morning and others like myself who may be walking in other parts of the world today in solidarity with those who have been touched by this disease.

So, do you think that social networking can produce this kind of virtual community that while not in physical presence, is still able to bond and build community around a common cause or theme or event where one feels part of a community? Share your own experience.

8 responses to “Virtual Susan Komen Race for the Cure

  1. Christina Auch

    Libbie,

    Some of my most enduring relationships are with people who experienced the same events as me in different places. We were on one of the early listservs for patients with Hodgkins Lymphoma in 1996 and found ourselves united across not only states, but countries (at least England, Canada and U.S.) We rallied around one member of that community when she faced bone marrow transplant, creating a quilt for her:
    and have remained connected through email and now Facebook in the now-fourteen years since our shared experience.

    I think the relational aspect of DL is not all that different from that early online community. Just as you were yesterday on your Walk for the Cure, we are strengthened by our shared experience and the opportunities we have to work toward common goals.

    Congratulations on accomplishing your walk despite the different locale!

  2. Christina Auch

    Libbie,

    Some of my most enduring relationships are with people who experienced the same events as me in different places. We were on one of the early listservs for patients with Hodgkins Lymphoma in 1996 and found ourselves united across not only states, but countries (at least England, Canada and U.S.) We rallied around one member of that community when she faced bone marrow transplant, creating a quilt for her (you can see it here) and have remained connected through email and now Facebook in the now-fourteen years since our shared experience.

    I think the relational aspect of DL is not all that different from that early online community. Just as you were yesterday on your Walk for the Cure, we are strengthened by our shared experience and the opportunities we have to work toward common goals.

    Congratulations on accomplishing your walk despite the different locale!

  3. For me, technology doesn’t replace presence but it certainly can enhance it, oftentimes quite dramatically. When my family and I relocated to MN, albeit temporarily, it was facebook that allowed us to stay deeply connected to the goings on in our small home town in Montana. Not only were we kept aware of the big events and happenings as reported by our Montana facebook friends, we were also brought into the minutiae of their daily lives, much as if we had just shared a conversation and cup of coffee together. I often wonder how potentially isolating the decision to come to Minnesota might have been if it weren’t for the internet, VOIP, social media, smart phones and the easy instant access they afford. It was great sharing class time with you Libbie and now it’s good to stay connected, albeit digitally.

  4. I am only a couple of weeks behind, but certainly am glad to know you were walking with us in spirit that morning! I have a great picture of you and Mark and Sarah from another walk a few years ago that I will post to your Facebook page…..a welcome reminder that we are all together…at times….but bonded through alternative means when necessary. God’s blessings your blog. I can’t wait to see you tomorrow! 🙂

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