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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Good Friends, Good Times and a Good Cause!

By Guest Blogger, Laura Ellison

As the initial email went out from our friend, Stephanie Billings, inquiring if any of us would be interested in forming a team and joining the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk in Washington, I don’t know if I really even read through the details of the email. But, within minutes I replied with a “yes." Much to Stephanie’s surprise, there was no hesitation from anyone, and within the hour she had an inbox full of replies just like mine.

This all happened back in January, and the call was answered as our team “Walkie Ta-Ta Talkies” was formed. My friends, Stephanie and Leslie, have both walked the 60 mile event before, but for the remaining seven members of our team, we can only imagine. I think it was only days later that the reality of the 60 mile commitment began to pervade my senses. But really, can 60 miles be worse than cancer? Not even close.

The three-day event is held in 15 cities throughout the US each year. Our group has chosen Washington, DC as our destination for our more than one million steps. Participants walk 15-22 miles each day of the three-day event, spending two nights in the Cure Camp in two-person tents. It might not be the spa, but by the end of day one I am sure it will look every bit as wonderful as the Grove Park Inn.

My introduction to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, now know as Susan G. Komen for The Cure, came in 1989. I was a freshman at NCSU and my sorority’s philanthropy was the little known seven-year-old organization. The Komen Foundation began as a pledge from one sister to another to help bring attention to breast cancer and provide research funding the disease so desperately needed. Flash forward more than twenty years and Komen is recognized as the leading catalyst in breast cancer research and has raised over 1.5 billion dollars for research, education and health services.

Each of us participating in this three-day walk is responsible for raising a minimum of $2300 each to participate, so as a group, we will contribute over $20,000 to Komen. It is very empowering to know how much we are contributing to advance breast cancer research, screening and education.

As we lace up our shoes to train, or prepare mentally in the predawn hours on October 8th in Washington, each of us will have different motivations and emotions. For one, wonderful memories of a determined mother and grandmother taken too soon will carry her through her second 3-Day. For another, the loss of a lifelong friend and confidant will push her through. A sister’s bravery through surgery and treatment will help one cross the finish line. Another will be buoyed by the sea of survivors that will give her hope for her Mom’s future and the strength to press through the 60 miles. For me, motivation will come in the form of a teammate, one of my sorority sisters and dearest friends that has endured a year of diagnosis, multiple surgeries and treatment. If she can conquer cancer and walk this event I have nothing to do but encourage and walk! For all of us crossing the finish line knowing that the money raised by our team gives all Mothers, Grandmothers, Daughters, Sisters, and Friends hope for another day is overwhelming, but most importantly for all of us it is about friendship.

Our hope today is to inspire others to take on this challenge. We know that the friends, the cause, and the emotions will make this event one that will touch our lives forever.

If you are unable to particpate yourself, we'd love for you to contibute by helping sponsor our group! If you would like to make a contribution to the Walkie Ta-Ta Talkies please visit our website here.

Pictured above:
front row left-right:
Stephanie Billings, Susan Davis, Amy Crouch, Laura Ellison
Middle row:
Leslie Conway, Mary Kate Smith, Julie Fresina
Back Row:
Rene Zieg
Not pictured – Kristen Bierline

And don't forget to register to win a family four-pack of tickets to see Peter & the Wolf, compliments of Eastern Music Festival. Two TSP newsletter subscribers will win four tickets each! To register for these tickets, click here. This giveaway ends Friday, July 9. Good luck, Smarties!


susan said...

Thank you so much for sharing ladies!!! You are so inspiring and the TSP world is rooting you on!
Best Wishes!!!

Anonymous said...

Good luck, ladies! You will do great!

Rachel H said...

So exciting to read your story! We will be cheering for all of you and wishing you the best of luck!

Emily said...

So inspriring, we are talking about getting a group together for the Spring!

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