Walkers came to Redmond’s Marymoor Park from as far away as Boscobel, Wis., and as close as Woodinville to help fight breast cancer during last weekend’s Susan G. Komen Seattle 3-Day event.
Pam and Mark Cashman from Wisconsin completed the first 20 miles of their 60-mile journey last Friday with arms raised as they entered the elaborate two-night camp site at Marymoor, which featured 500 pink tents for guests and a Main Street with a large dining tent, hot showers, a post office, foot massages and more.
“I’m a survivor. We try to do one (3-Day) every year, so we picked Seattle this year,” Pam said. “It’s exhilarating, and that’s what keeps you going.”
Mark said there were some challenging hills to tackle, but they conquered the scenic course through Seattle, Bellevue and Redmond.
“We’ve been up since about 3 o’clock this morning getting ready and then we took off walking, and we’ve been walking ever since,” he added. “The people support is really good — they cheer you all along.”
Christi Dudzik of Woodinville flashed a No. 1 sign to a friend after she crossed the first-day finish line and received cheers from volunteers waving pink pom-poms.
She walks in honor of one of her best friends who died of breast cancer at age 36.
“I had to help tell her 4-year-old and 6-year-old that their mother wasn’t coming back, so that had a huge impact on me,” said Dudzik, walking in her eighth 3-Day. “I believe that everybody needs to stand for something, and this is what I stand for, this is my cause. It seems that every year when I sign up to do the 3-Day walk, I know of another (friend’s) new diagnosis of breast cancer. And it just makes me mad. This is my way of being able to do something — to help end this disease that takes people way too young.”
In all, 1,300 women and men participated in the event and helped raise more than $3.4 million for breast-cancer research, scientific programs and community-based breast health and education programs.
Participants walked through Washington communities and concluded their trek with a closing ceremony at Memorial Stadium in Seattle.
Komen 3-Day national spokeswoman Dr. Sheri Phillips noted that Seattle numbers are down from 2,000 participants last year, but the walkers are as strong as ever.
Phillips is a four-year breast-cancer survivor and first walked in a 3-Day in 2010 in Chicago.
“It truly is a life-changing journey, and I knew that I wanted to be connected with Komen in some fashion moving forward for the rest of my life,” she said.
The Marymoor camp site was a home away from home for walkers to bond and “relax, unwind and reflect on the day’s activities,” Phillips said.
After Dudzik completed her first day, she headed back home to Woodinville for a night’s rest before returning to the 3-Day on Saturday and Sunday. She’s clearly in it for the long haul, in body and mind.
“However (bad) my feet hurt and stuff like that, it certainly doesn’t compare to hearing that you’ve got a diagnosis of breast cancer or (experiencing) the chemo treatments,” she said. “This is the least I can do and not whine about it.”