Sept. 4, 2006

Delano women participate in breast cancer three-day walk

By Cullen Schultz
Staff Writer

Local residents Becky Halvorson and Sabrina Stevens participated in the Breast Cancer Three-Day walk Aug. 18 to 20 in the Twin Cities.

They walked 60 miles, starting Friday at the Minnesota Zoo, and ending Sunday at the Capitol.

It was Halvorson’s first walk and Stevens’ third. She has participated in all three years it has taken place in Minnesota.

The Breast Cancer Three Day started in the Twin Cities in 2003. This was the third year the Three Day has taken place in Minnesota, and the popularity is growing with more than 2,700 walkers this year.

Eighty-five percent of the net proceeds go to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundations, whose sole mission is to eliminate breast cancer. The other fifteen percent of the net proceeds go to the National Philanthropic Trust Breast Cancer Fund, whose mission is to educate, prevent, research, and the treatment of breast cancer.

Stevens first learned about the Three Day by hearing about it on the radio in 2003. Hearing about it, she just knew she had to do it.

Her father passed away from breast cancer and the walk was on the anniversary of his death. Stevens has been walking ever since.

“The overall atmosphere of the Three Day is just amazing,” Stevens said.

As for Halvorson, this was her first time on the walk.

“Sabrina convinced me to walk, and I am glad she did,” Halvorson said.

Halvorson and Stevens were part of an eleven-member team that walked at the Three Day.

In order for a walker to become eligible, each must raise at least $2,200 for the cause. To raise the funds, they did a variety of fundraisers including: selling shirts, bagging groceries, sending out letters, a silent auction, a barbeque with the food donated by the Outback Steakhouse, and had a massage therapist donate time to come in and give massages for a $50 donation. All-in- all, the eleven-member team raised $25,000.

To prepare for the walk, Halvorson and Stevens decided to train months in advance. They started training in May by going to Full Circle Fitness in Delano.

At Full Circle, they went on an endurance program for six weeks. They also went on several walks, up to ten miles in length, including a brisk walk in the rain.

The Breast Cancer Three Day opening ceremonies began Aug. 18 at 5:30 a.m. by the Minnesota Zoo. It started with speakers, including breast cancer survivors giving inspirational stories about their experiences.

Halvorson and Stevens were close to the stage for the presentation, stating that they wanted to be among the first to start walking.

“There were so many people there that you could not even see the end of the walkers.” Halvorson said. Beginning the sixty mile journey, the atmosphere was just full of energy and excitement, Stevens stated.

During the walk, there were pit stops about every hour of the walk. At these pit stops were food, bathrooms, and most importantly, a medical tent.

At the medical tent there was a chiropractor and a physical trainer working on sore spines and as most can contest, blisters.

“The volunteers at the medical tent were just great; they had such high spirits and just kept everyone going.” Halvorson said. Beside the scheduled pit stops, there were impromptu stops set up all along the walk, with people handing out flavored ice, candy, and support.

At days end, Halvorson and Stevens slept in tents provided by the volunteers. Cub scouts were along to help most walkers set up the tents and get them situated.

On Sunday, the walk came to a conclusion at the Capitol. Halvorson and Stevens got a well-deserved rest, lying on the grass with their matching shirts and hats, along with Stevens’ died pink hair, waiting for the final walkers to finish.

As the last seven walkers were finishing, the entire crowd came to cheer them on to the finish.

“Over 4,000 people, walkers, and their family members, went to cheer them on until they finished. It was quite a site,” they stated.

At the closing ceremonies the walkers all put on blue shirts and the cancer survivors came walking in with pink shirts. As the cancer survivors came in, the walkers kneeled as a show of respect to the survivors.

When asked about the most memorable part of the Three Day, Halvorson responded, “I saw a women holding a sign that read, ‘This year you’re walking for me, next year I am walking for you;’ something so simple, but so meaningful.”

This event is definitely important two these two local women, who have already signed up for next year’s Three Day during the first day of this year’s event.

The Breast Cancer Three-Day raised more than $6 million and counting, so far, just in the Twin Cities.

For more information about The Breast Cancer Three-Day visit www.thethreeday.org.

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