It all started with a few text messages on a cold Tuesday evening in early January 2011:
“So . . . I have an idea . . . “
“. . . and I think you just might be the person who is young enough, adventuresome enough, and crazy enough to do this with me!”
“Ok. Now I REALLY want to know.”
“I’ve always toyed with the idea of doing the three-Day walk, and I’d really like to do the one in Washington, D.C., on the weekend of Sept 23-25. But we could always do any of the ones over the summer. Wouldn’t that be awesome? Now is a good time to start a comfortable training routine to be ready Gosh you became awfully quiet all of a sudden! Well, there’s my idea. Hmmmmm.”
“Oh! That sounds really fun and plenty of time to prepare. I have never been to D.C., and I like that it is the end of September so it wouldn’t be so hot. I was quiet because you text so fast and I couldn’t respond quick enough! Count me in! I’m ready for an adventure!”
Ever since that text message conversation, Rebecca Ford and Pattie McGurk—the Charity Chics Walking Team – have been training and raising money to participate in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk for the Cure that will be held in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 23-25. During those three days, Ford and McGurk will walk 20 miles a day for a total of 60 miles in an effort to raise money and draw attention to the issue of breast cancer research and awareness.
Their walk in Washington, D.C., will be the culmination of much more than 60 miles of walking. “I can remember feeling apprehensive about being able to walk the six miles from my house out to the Expo and back by myself,” said McGurk. “I’ve gone from walking a sporadic 1-2 miles that would wear me out, to now being able to consistently walk 10 or more miles at a time. Throughout our training walks, we’ve experienced the gamut of freezing rain, hail, 20-mile an hour winds – I thought they were 30 – single digit temperatures that froze my cell phone, and now three-digit temperatures and humidity.
That might not sound like all that much fun, but what I realize now is the inner calmness you receive from just walking. On the day of our first long walk, Rebecca gave me the book “Walking in a Relaxed Manner” by Joyce Rupp which has been an inspiration to me on how meaningful walking can be. When you know that you’re going to be spending the day walking, there’s just nothing else to do but enjoy the here and now.”
Ford and McGurk are also discovering the beauty of their local community, county and state. Already, they have walked in El Dorado, Great Bend, Pittsburg, as well as Barton, Finney, Johnson, Pawnee and Washington counties. “We still have some fun training walks planned,” said Ford. “Our first big walk was the 15-mile walk out to the Dominican Sisters’ Heartland Farm where we stayed the night, and then walked back the next day. We have three more 3-day training walks just like that, and a one day 20-mile training walk planned between now and Labor Day weekend to help us be prepared for our walk in Washington DC.
So far, Ford and McGurk have raised over $2,500 of the $5,000 they need to raise before they can go to Washington in September. “We have plans for a garage sale on July 22-23 at 2914 Broadway in Great Bend to help raise additional funds,” said Ford. “We’ve been collecting all kinds of things from our friends and neighbors over the past few months. Many items are brand new and still have tags on them!”
In addition to the garage sale, Ford and McGurk have been accepting donations and sponsorships from individuals and businesses. “We want to thank those who have sponsored us, especially the local businesses, Dan and Alicia Lear with Harper Camper Land, Dr. Marc Huslig DDS, and Kari Smith with the Buckle,” said McGurk, “as well as all of those who have donated in honor or memory of friends and loved ones who have battled breast cancer.” All donations go directly to breast cancer research and awareness; Ford and McGurk are paying for their own Washington DC airfare and hotel costs.
If an individual or business would like to help Ford and McGurk reach their $5,000 goal, make checks payable to Susan G. Komen three-Day, and mail to The Charity Chics Walking Team, 2201 16th St, Great Bend KS 67530.
“Since our commitment to do this walk, a good friend’s daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer and is currently receiving chemotherapy,” said McGurk. “It’s another reminder of how breast cancer has touched so many lives.”