A Cokato teen will walk in her first 3-Day for the Cure event alongside her grandmother, an eight-year breast cancer survivor
By Kristen Miller
COKATO, MN - Dassel-Cokato High School sophomore Amanda Mattson was only 8 years old when her grandmother, Judy Mattson of Howard Lake, was diagnosed with breast cancer, learning at a young age just how quickly the disease can change a life.
Now, at age 15, Amanda is taking steps to help find a cure for breast cancer by walking alongside her grandmother for the first time in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure Aug. 19-21.
Her grandmother, who is a eight-year cancer survivor, has been walking in the 3-Day since 2006, three years following her diagnosis, but this is the first time for Amanda.
“Amanda has been wanting to walk with me ever since,” Judy said. Walkers need to be at least 16 to participate and Amanda will turn 16 in April.
Amanda comes from a family with three generations of breast cancer on her dad’s side. Her father, Adam Mattson, also had lymphoma, which he was diagnosed with shortly after his mother completed her treatments.
“I want to help find a cure so other girls don’t have to go through their aunts, grandmothers, or mothers getting breast cancer,” Amanda said.
When Judy was undergoing treatment, which included a double mastectomy, she was very open with Amanda and her brother, Josh. They would even go to the hospital with their grandmother to learn about her treatments.
Their mother, Jesse Baker, remembers Judy’s strength during those trying times.
“I just remember how strong their grandmother was always so strong for the kids,” she said.
Because Judy so openly explained the treatments and how they worked, it made it much easier for Amanda and Josh to deal with the experience. Judy’s cancer was non-invasive, and it wouldn’t spread throughout the rest of her body.
“They weren’t scared because they had the knowledge,” Jesse said.
“We all figured she would be fine,” Amanda said.
Now, Judy is cancer-free and continues to walk so that someday, a cure can be found so others don’t have to go through what she did.
Though this is the first year Amanda is old enough to walk in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure event, she has been walking alongside her grandmother as she trained for the 60-mile walk in previous years.
Amanda has participated in races with her grandmother including the Mother’s Day Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, which is a 5k (3.1 miles) walk and Relay for Life, a 15-mile walk.
“I’m excited, but also nervous,” Amanda said. “I’ve walked 20 miles, but 60 is kind of a lot.”
Judy is pleased, and a bit surprised, that Amanda has continued to desire to walk in the 3-Day for the Cure.
“She hasn’t stopped talking about it,” Judy said. “She is quite the girl.”
The walk includes six miles on Friday night, 23 miles on Saturday, and the remaining 14 miles on Sunday, Judy explained.
The event can become rather emotional, especially with the number of survivors walking, in their pink shirts, Judy said.
What is particularly emotional is the closing ceremony Sunday, recognizing all the survivors.
“It’s unreal,” Judy said.
The cheering section also means so much to the walkers. Having previously walked in races in Washington, DC and Chicago, Judy said “Minnesota has the best cheering section ever.”.
Once the weather warms up, Team Judy will begin training. Amanda’s aunt, Tammy, is also part of the team, but lives in Colorado.
Amanda and Judy will train by walking to Howard Lake and back, along the bike/pedestrian path between Cokato and Dassel, and on the Luce Line Trail.
They also have to prepare by fundraising for the event.
Each walker must raise $2,300 in order to participate. The net proceeds fund breast cancer research and local community programs supporting, education, screening, and treatment.
Last year, more than $6.5 million was raised during the Twin Cities 3-Day, with roughly 2,400 walkers, according to Judy.
“They’ve got to find a cure someday,” Judy said.
Help support Team Judy
Team Judy will be hosting a fundraising event Saturday, April 2 from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Howard Lake Legion.
The event will include both a silent and live auction, meat raffle, bake sale, karaoke, and much more. Entertainment is by DJ Dana and “Baddog Entertainment.”
Silent auction items are needed. Please contact Judy at (320) 444-8455, Sandra Diers at (320) 543-3232, or Trudy Berg at (320) 543-3207.
Monetary donations can be sent to Judy Mattson at PO Box 582, Howard Lake MN 55349 Attn: Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure.
About Susan G. Komen for the Cure
According to the organization’s website, Susan G. Comen for the Cure was begun in 1982, by Nancy G. Brinker, through the inspiration of her sister, Susan, who throughout her life-ending battle with breast cancer, spent her time trying to make life better for others battling the disease.
Brinker made a promise to her sister that she would do everything she could to end breast cancer forever.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure has become a global leader of the breast cancer movement and has invested $1.5 billion since it began nearly three decades ago.
Because of events like 3-Day for the Cure, contributions from partners, sponsors, and supporters have made it the largest source of nonprofit funds in the world that is dedicated to fighting breast cancer.
For more information, visit www.komen.org.