Sunday, August 1, 2004

Training done, women ready
for 60-mile jaunt

Pair hope to raise $2,000
each for breast-cancer benefit in N.Y.

By Natalie Morales
Enquirer staff writer

Two women, three days, 60 miles.

Sharon Keys of Independence and Bridget Breetz of Hebron have spent the past year training for the Breast Cancer 3-Day, a walk that starts Friday in New York, benefiting The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Keys heard about the walk from a friend about five years ago.

"We've had in our minds that we were going to do this and this was just the year we decided to go for it," she said. "Our whole lives have been put on hold for the walk now."

Each of the women has a goal of donating $2,000 to the foundation, but both said they hope to surpass it.

"There are 1,500 walkers registered already, but I don't know how much money we'll make just in New York because a lot of the walkers bring more than the $2,000," said Yoko Fujji, the women's coach for the walk.

The duo sent donation letters out to friends and family, asked for donations at their churches and had a fund-raiser at Hap's Irish Pub in Hyde Park.

"We begged, borrowed and stole," Keys said, laughing. The money will help people with breast cancer afford treatment and personal items, such as wigs.

"We've been surprised at how generous people have been," Breetz said.

Breetz is motivated to raise money, train and walk by the five women in her family who are breast-cancer survivors.

"It makes me very nervous that the chances of me getting breast cancer are higher because it's in my family, and I hope that the chances of survival are higher because of the money we're helping raise for research," she said.

Every participant is assigned a coach to help get information on fund-raising, training and what to bring.

Like others, Breetz and Keys will camp out both nights in pop-up tents. The foundation will provide entertainment, lectures and meals, Fujji said.

The local women have been preparing for walking in any kind of weather - even walking for miles in the rain.

They have been taking spinning and Pilates classes and have done endurance walks. On the weekend before Memorial Day, they walked 20 miles one day and 15 the next.

"They emphasize that it's not a race, but a matter of being able to walk for that long," Keys said.

The walk is hosted in 10 cities each year, including Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, San Francisco and Washington.

The New York walk starts in Belmont Park and finishes in Liberty Park, N.J.

"It's definitely going to be one of the biggest things I've ever done," Keys said.

"I know that."


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