Lifestyle

Plateau resident walks to help friends, and strangers, with breast cancer

By Mary Covington

For The Courier-Herald

In 2001 Dee Kyllonen, a close friend here in Enumclaw, told me about a walk she was going to participate in to honor her aunt. It was the first year the 3-Day Breast Cancer walk was held in Washington. That walk started at the fairgrounds and ended in Seattle. Dee asked if I would make a donation, and I said of course, but that I also wanted to walk. I just couldn’t image watching her and not participating. Since then I have walked in every Seattle 3-Day Breast Cancer walk.

Having a friend go through breast cancer made supporting this walk important. The first walk was motivated by a mixture of helping to find a cure, a way to give back to the community, and a personal challenge – could I walk 60 miles?

Now I have numerous friends who have either gone through breast cancer themselves, or have family members who have had to deal with breast cancer. This disease affects so many lives.

Last year my father was diagnosed with colon cancer. Watching my father go through the operations and chemotherapy gave me a new understanding of how cancer affects the whole family. I have a great deal of respect for my father, and others dealing with cancer.

In November, I will be walking with my sister and two friends in the San Diego 3-Day. We will be walking in honor of my father, Phil Covington, who passed away in April from colon cancer.

My granddaughter’s husband lost his mother to breast cancer when he was 15, and with her being pregnant, I thought a lot about them while walking in the Seattle 3-Day.

In 2002 I started the “Heart and Soles” team so that everyone has the opportunity to join a team. Being a part of a team makes training easier and a lot more fun. Watching the team help each other along the way and in camp is wonderful. Since 2002 the Heart and Soles team has raised $790,000, which has shown me that each person can make a difference. For the past several years, I have also been a 3-Day training leader, which means I set up training walks and help prepare the walkers.

Raising funds to participate in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Breast Cancer walk is always intimidating to me. With the help of the company I work for, Convertech Inc., caring friends, and Curves of Enumclaw I have been able to participate in eight walks.

The Curves of Enumclaw is very supportive with helping me raise funds for the Breast Cancer 3-Day. The owners, Sonna and Ken Greer, the staff, and the members. This is the third year Curves has had a fundraiser for breast cancer. Together we are committed to finding a cure.

I am extremely grateful for the support I have received from family and friends over the years. Working together we can continue to make a difference!

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