Susan G. Komen Walk poses ominous challenge to Snohomish-area participants

Walking 60 miles in three days is not a simple task. Several teams of women, and some men friends, of the Stillaguamish Valley and the north Snohomish County region are preparing for such a feat, when they join the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk through Seattle Sept. 12 - 14.

  • Thursday, August 28, 2008 7:19pm
  • Life

Walking 60 miles in three days is not a simple task.

Several teams of women, and some men friends, of the Stillaguamish Valley and the north Snohomish County region are preparing for such a feat, when they join the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk through Seattle Sept. 12 – 14. Along with conditioning their feet, hearts and minds, they also must raise at least $2,200 to help the Susan G. Komen Foundation provide services to breast cancer victims and work to stop the killer disease.

The Trafton Mamas are selling raffle tickets to give away a hand-made quilt, and Rhonda’s Rack team members are selling water at events and planning a garage sale.

Quilt for raffle

Under the leadership of Kelly Roundy, the Trafton Mamas are walking again this year, after walking two years ago. A breast cancer survivor herself, Roundy said that her then 3-year-old daughter helped her find a lump in January 2005, which led to a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

Roundy received a lot of support from her friends in the rural community east of Arlington.

“I can’t imagine going on my cancer journey without the love, support, laughter and great food that I received from the families at Trafton Elementary School. They were amazing,” Roundy said.

Making the transition from cancer patient to survivor was difficult for Roundy. She struggled with how to reach out to other survivors and how to get in shape to stay healthy.

“I decided to walk the 3-Day because I could walk. I walk to find a cure for breast cancer so my daughter will never have to be afraid to walk in her mommy’s shoes when she grows up.”

Two friends committed to training, fundraising and walking the 60 miles with her two years ago, just a year after her treatment.

“It was the best thing I ever did. It was hot, hard, fun, touching, inspiring, humbling and a blast,” Roundy said. They took last year off and now the Trafton Mamas are back for another round with Roundy.

Roundy sold raffle tickets at the Silvana Fair recently for a beautiful quilt made by her Trafton friends, to help raise the $2,200 required to participate in the walk. The secretary at Trafton school, Megan Bryson’s mom made the quilt top and former Trafton teacher Leslie Faxon stitched it for the team.

“We want to give this beautiful quilt away,” Roundy told passers-by at the fair.

The Trafton Mamas will draw the name of the winner at the closing ceremonies of the 3-Day Walk on Sept. 14.

Garage sale, water for Rhonda’s Rack

A team comprised of seven friends of Rhonda Knudson, Rhonda’s Rack is planning a couple of fundraisers. On Aug. 16, they will hold a garage sale at Kent Prairie Apartments and on Aug. 23 they will be selling water at the NAPA car show on West Avenue in downtown Arlington. Owner of NAPA Autoparts with her husband, Mike Knudson, who is active in the city’s fire department, Knudson continues to resist the rampages of cancer.

An employee of the city of Arlington, Debbie Strotz joins the Arlington team after walking last year with Carolyn’s Crusaders, friends from Spokane, who walked in honor of Carolyn Hedland who died last year of breast cancer.

Along with Strotz, Rhonda’s Rack includes Sandie Cooper, Deanne Hansen, Abby Christianson, Debbie Camp, Shelby Evans, and Steven Dagett, an Arlington firefighter. Cooper’s husband, Tom Cooper is Arlington’s assistant fire chief who is volunteering in the 3-Day medical tent again this year.

“Sandie came up with the name,” Strotz said, adding that she was planning to walk with Shelby and then they all decided to hook up and walk together for Rhonda.

Sandie’s daughter, Kayci Cooper walked last year when Tom Cooper joined the medical staff at the the 3-Day.

Strotz is also walking for her daughter’s boyfriend’s mom, Ann Hartline, Kristin Banfield a fellow employee at work and Caroline, among others.

She said after walking the walk last year, she couldn’t not go back.

“It was brutle,” Debbie Strotz said. “It was 60 miles of sweat and tears, bandages and blisters,,” she said. “But after you do it once, you can’t not do it again.” Strotz said it changed her life.

“It was the emotional part that was so exhausting.” Strotz explained that each walker must commit to paying the fee and they have to submit their credit card number. They have 30 days after the walk to finish their fundraising and after that the balance goes on their credit card.

Syrie sets goal of $6,000

A downtown Arlington business owner, Norma Jean Syrie, of Olympic Escrow, and vice president of the Downtown Arlington Business Association, will walk the 3-Day for the third time this year.

“I’ll be walking with several of the girls who walked on my team last year, but this year our team name is Chel’s Bells,” Syrie said.

The team was named in honor of Chelsea Ebert, the daughter of last year’s team captain. Ebert died last December from another form of cancer.

“Chelsea’s spirit touched so many of us. I will walk in her memory and in honor of those I walked for in the past: my niece Brenda, my friend Jan and a special lady named Jill, whom I’ve yet to meet.”

Syrie said she is walking in hope that some day soon a cure will be found for breast cancer.

“I’m also walking for all those who can’t,” Syrie said.

Syrie needs help with her own personal goal to raises $6,000 for the cause.

“I’m asking all my friends to dig deep and help me out,” Syrie said.

Community support

Becky Hammond, of Marysville, recruited a team of six, including her sister, Ellie Brown to walk with her on the 3-Day.

“This is such a big event for me, it has been one of the biggest topics on my mind,” said Brown, of Everett.

“I think most of my friends are getting tired of hearing me talk about it.”

Along with Brown and Hammond, the team, “3 Days 2gether 1 Goal,” includes their aunt, Sheila Holdt, of Shoreline, Hammond’s friend, Christine Rogers, of Marysville, and her sister and friend, Candie Williams and Jennifer Tanner, of Utah.

“Becky was the one who roped us all into this walk,” Brown said.

“She has been thinking about walking in the 3-Day for a few years now and finally pushed Christine and me to walk with her. Our team doubled in size very quickly when the others found out that we were participating. This will be the first walk for us all, except for Sheila who has walked in the 3-Day twice before.”

The breast cancer connection for Hammond and Brown is their grandmother who died of breast cancer before they were born.

“We are walking in honor of the grandmother we never got to meet, and for all girls who deserve to know their grandmas,” Brown said.

Fellow team members, Rogers’ and William’s mother also died of breast cancer, along with other family members and friends.

“We all have our own reasons for walking, but there is one goal in mind for us all — to take a stance and work to make a world that is free from breast cancer.”

The team of six has raised $15,000, with donations still rolling in, Brown said.

They’ve organized many fundraising events including auctions, a Cookie Lee jewelry party, and community support nights at Claim Jumper Restaurant and Jersey Mike’s Sub Shop.

“We have been blessed by the support shown from our friends, family and the community,” Brown said.

Along with fundraising, all the teams have all been training hard as well.

“We have been walking many miles since April in preparation for the 3-Day,” Brown said.

“Our team is very excited for the miles that we will cover and for the experience of an event this big and powerful.”

Syrie said she carries with her notes of encouragement and pictures of loved ones from her supporters.

“I take them with me because we’re all in this together.”

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