Hi, I’m Kierstin, a member of Team 9/64 walking in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. When I started this journey almost six months ago, I honestly couldn’t imagine being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Here we are, 30 days away from the event and I am so proud that what once seemed truly impossible actually feels like it could be a reality.
But along with the reality of the event itself…the reality of walking for two days, the reality of needing to raise $1800, the reality of breast cancer has once again hit me in the face.
In the past three months, two more of my neighbors have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Women in their late-thirties/early forties, women with young children, women who exercise, eat well and take care of themselves. Women who are doing everything “right” and who never thought this would happen to them. Women just like me and all of my friends. Liz and Vickie are fighters and they are strong. They will win their battles.
When I walk a MARATHON on October 26 AND a HALF-MARATHON on October 27, I will be walking for them. I will be walking for Gail and Kathryn, for Eleanor and Marlah, for Marcie and Jane, neighbors, former co-workers, a childhood friend and a childhood friend’s older sister who are breast cancer survivors. I will also be walking for Barbara, Cheryl, and Libby, a childhood friend’s mother, a co-worker and a dear cousin’s mother who bravely fought but lost their fight with the disease.
I’ll also be walking for my children and for a future where the threat of breast cancer does not exist. The money we donate, the awareness we raise, all help to make this fantasy future that much closer to reality.
Did you know that since 2003, over 180,000 people have participated in Avon Walks all over the United States and more than $472 million has been donated to breast cancer programs? These programs not only fund the research needed to help find a cure or a prevention for breast cancer, but also help ensure that everyone, especially the under-insured, elderly and minorities, has equal access to the high quality medical care needed to detect and fight this disease.
Eighty percent of funds raised by these walks stays in the area where the event took place. Last year, the recipients of the Charlotte Avon Walk were The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Durham, N.C., The Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, S.C., Spartanburg Regional Healthcare Foundation, in Spartanburg, S.C., Randolph Hospital in Asheboro, N.C., North Carolina Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, N.C. The other twenty percent is donated nationally to help make sure all states have the support they need to provide these programs.
Every dollar truly does count and all the funds raised go toward making a difference in the lives of women everywhere.