Two Great Bend women endured sore feet and rain to walk 60 miles for the cause of breast cancer.
Rebecca Ford and Pattie McGurk traveled to Washington, D.C., this past weekend to take part in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure is the global leader of the breast cancer movement. Raising funds through events such as the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and the 3-Day for the Cure, this nonprofit organization reports it has invested more than $1.9 billion since its inception in 1982.
Ford and McGurk, who both work at Catholic Social Service in Great Bend, called themselves the Charity Chics Walking Team, and spent the year preparing for this event. From Sept. 23-25, Ford and McGurk walked 20 miles a day in an effort to raise money and draw attention to the issue of breast cancer research and awareness.
The women paid for their own Washington, D.C. airfare and hotel costs, and they raised $5,872.75 in donations for breast cancer research and awareness.
"The entire D.C. walk raised over $7 million," Ford said. "We can still take donations." Checks payable to Susan G. Komen Three-Day can be mailed 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," McGurk said last July. "It’s another reminder of how breast cancer has touched so many lives."
Ford sent this report at the end of Day 1:
"The first day was non-stop rain. EVERYTHING is wet and camp is quite muddy but spirits are good. We started with a shuttle (at 4:45 a.m.) to the opening ceremony ... at 6:30, after stretching and lots of other details. We completed over 17 miles today through the business district and some really beautiful areas, finishing up in Maryland. Tomorrow we walk about 21 miles in Maryland; and we finish off the total 60 miles on Sunday through the historical district of Washington D.C., I’ve been told.
"We have just over 2,500 walkers here. Along the way, there are often pockets of people along the route cheering and telling us thank you. That kind of support and appreciation makes me teary-eyed.
"My biggest concern is not getting new blisters from wet socks and shoes from all of today’s rain. I have lots of clean, dry socks, and am trying to dry out shoes a bit tonight. If we have happy feet, I don’t think we’ll have a problem finishing. I think we are well prepared, except for so much rain ... a rare phenomenon in Kansas!"
The day after they returned, Ford checked in again:
"We finished our 60-mile walk yesterday! Even though Pattie and I have both been training since January, Pattie still got a pretty good blister on the first day that slowed her up a little bit. With frequent stops on Sunday to reapply Band-aids and moleskin, she was still able to finish the walk. At 4 p.m. on Sunday, we concluded with a closing celebration for all walkers, crew members and survivors. When it came time to pay tribute to the survivors, everyone takes off one of their own shoes and holds it in the air as a way to acknowledge the first steps that they took in the fight against breast cancer long before the first steps of this walk began."
Ford described the 3-Day as a memorable event. "This was a good experience, even with all of the rain on Friday," she said. "It’s about people helping each other out, and the positive energy of so many people is something I will never forget."