An army dressed in pink will descend upon Seattle and the Eastside Sept. 12-14 as thousands of women — and men — walk 60 miles to raise money and awareness for Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the National Philanthropic Trust Breast Cancer Fund. The pink ribbon is a symbol of the fight against breast cancer.
Participants in the Breast Cancer 3-Day, as the event is known, must be 16 or older at the time of the event (with 16 or 17-year-olds accompanied by adults) and must agree to raise a minimum of $2,200 for breast cancer research, treatment, education and prevention.
Their reasons for walking are varied. Perhaps their mom, wife, sister, daughter or a friend are or were breast cancer patients. Some are battling breast cancer themselves — or they are survivors who want to share their hope and triumph.
Although this disease is devastating, the walk and the camping experiences along the route are designed to be joyful, just as earlier training and fundraising activities bring people together for this common cause. A couple of teams from Redmond are prime examples.
Deborah LaHaela Fendel, Cristina Baldner, Deb Knaus, Sandy Krause and Mayumi Johnson make up five-sixths of The Pink Pumas, based in the Redmond Ridge neighborhood.
In April, they held a multi-family garage sale, which turned out to be “like a small Value Village,” said LaHaela Fendel. The sale netted $7,500 toward their goal of $13,200.
They had raised $20,158 by the time of their Redmond Reporter interview on Aug. 18 “and the donations keep coming, even though we’ve reached our goal, because it’s such a good cause,” said Baldner.
This will be the first time any of the Pink Pumas has participated in the Breast Cancer 3-Day “and none of us were big walkers or exercisers before this,” LaHaela Fendel explained. The group initially decided to walk in honor of a local teacher who has breast cancer.
Additional motivation came when another woman in their neighborhood, Kristee Boehm, was diagnosed with breast cancer. She planned to do the walk on her own, then checked online and typed in “find out who’s doing it in a five-mile radius.”
Said Boehm, “I saw some names I recognized, thought, ‘Don’t I know you?’ and showed up at a meeting.”
Although she’s still undergoing treatment, Boehm has been walking with the other Pink Pumas about four days a week. They started with three miles at a time, then five to six miles at a time and were up to 15-20 miles by mid-August.
Between the Pink Pumas, there are 13 children. Their husbands and kids will show up at “cheering stations” along the as-yet-undisclosed route, which likely will include some camping — in pink tents — at Marymoor Park.
They’re also grateful for generous support from the community.
A Southern Living party raised $1,000; they stood outside the Redmond Ridge QFC and received $1,500 in donations; and sold ad space on their pink t-shirts to local sponsors.
PCL Construction donated the shirts. Duke of All Trades, Loyal Companion Animal Hospital, Premier Dance Center, KUMON, Himitsu Teriyaki and Ixtapa of Redmond Ridge gave $250 each. The Seattle Veterinary Association contributed $1,000. Rosa Parks Elementary School donated $500.
The ladies of the Pink Pumas said they’ll likely continue walking together, perhaps for other charities, after the Breast Cancer 3-Day, not just to fundraise but because “it’s our therapy time,” said Krause.
Sharing news about their families makes the time pass quickly, “and I find when we’re not together, I really miss them,” said Baldner.
In the next issue of the Redmond Reporter, we’ll introduce you to another local team who’s walking for breast cancer.
To learn more about the event, visit http://08.the3day.org.