these boots were made for walkin’!

But I’ll be using sensible shoes!

Now that we’re in a new year, and my sister is nearly finished with her chemotherapy – and preparing to begin radiation therapy (fewer side effects, quicker treatments, and only as a final insurance policy) I’ve been thinking about joining one of the many breast cancer fundraising walks we hear about all the time.

Naturally my first thought was the famous 3-day, to raise money for the Susan G Komen Foundation. In Seattle, the walk takes place in September, and lasts for – you guessed it – three days. It’s always advertised as a great way for survivors and friends/family of survivors and victims of breast cancer to spend time together and find support in a shared experience, while raising funds for the cure.

So I checked it out, and what I found dismayed me. I knew the idea here is to raise donations for the cause, but I wasn’t prepared for the expected monetary amount or the rules and regulations I came up against.

First and foremost, each participant is required (not expected, not encouraged, but required) to raise $2,300 US dollars prior to being allowed to walk. If for any reason the participant fails to raise $2,300 at the day of the walk, she or he has the option of either not walking, or paying the difference herself. Now, I’m all for donating money, and I’ll be the first one to agree that the Susan G Komen foundation has made great strides in raising awareness and money to work toward a cure. But to be frank, with my sister still unemployed and her unemployment checks no longer coming in – if I could raise $2,300 you can bet I’d be paying mortgage and buying groceries first.

Times are tough, for everyone, and I honestly can’t see myself managing to raise that much money between now and September of this year. Which means the 3-day breast cancer fundraising walk would rather I not even bother. Those of us who could, perhaps, raise $100, $500, or even $800 would not be allowed to participate. How many of those $500s are they ignoring, I wonder? How many survivors or family and friends who would try their best to raise a few hundred dollars are deciding not to even try because of such a high cap? A hundred? A thousand? More?

I haven’t yet taken the time to research how much of the funds raised by this group actually go to the research for a cure, but they definitely spend a wad putting this walk together, providing tents for the participants every evening, meals, refreshments and entertainment as well as emergency medical support.

Oh, and if you can’t show them proof of your own private medical insurance coverage, you can’t participate. That leaves my unemployed and uninsured cancer survivor sister right out !

Before you think I’m bashing charities, I’m here to say I’ve found a local fundraising walk that encourages people just like us ! Registration was free, I’m allowed to raise as much or as little as I can, and the only qualifier is my ability to show up and walk. This group doesn’t raise money for the cure, they leave that up to the Susan G Komen Foundation. This group, the Network of Strength, raises money to provide support to breast cancer victims and their families and supporters. They provide help to people overwhelmed by the fear and uncertainty, answers to the questions you haven’t asked your doctor, emotional support during an incredibly stressful and trying time in your life.

As quoted from their own website:

 “Thanks to the generosity of our donors, Breast Cancer Network of Strength and its network of affiliates provide information and support to anyone touched by breast cancer. As originally envisioned by Network of Strength’s founders, all programs and services are available free-of-charge. Breast Cancer Network of Strength uniquely provides peer support through Your Shoes™, a 24/7 breast cancer support center staffed by breast cancer survivors who know first-hand what it is like to walk in the shoes of someone who is facing the disease. Get in touch with us at the YourShoes 24/7 Breast Cancer Support Center by calling 1-800-221-2141. Peer counselors at YourShoes help people touched by breast cancer feel the strength and support they need.

Breast Cancer Network of Strength provides immediate emotional relief to anyone touched by breast cancer through YourShoes 24/7 Breast Cancer Support Center. YourShoes is staffed exclusively by trained peer counselors who are breast cancer survivors.

Breast Cancer Survivor Match Program lets you request to be paired with a peer counselor who had the same diagnosis, is the same age or has experienced similar challenges as you.

The Partner Match Program provides support and education for people while they are supporting a wife, partner or other loved one through the disease.

Women who live in underserved communities are invited to attend A Day for You, where participants learn about earlier detection methods, are taught breast self-examination (BSE) and receive clinical breast exams.

Network of Strength is committed to offering wigs and breast prostheses for women with limited resources through the Wig & Prosthesis Bank.

Affiliates ensure no one faces breast cancer alone with their peer support, educational programs, local resources and advocacy initiatives (services vary by area).

I’ll be walking through the streets of Seattle on Mothers Day, May 9th, 2010. For more information, or to help me raise donations for the cause, visit my page at: https://walk.networkofstrength.org/Kristine

Power to the People!

Make Love, not War!

Save a Life, Grope your Wife 😀

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One thought on “these boots were made for walkin’!

  1. Oh man, I can’t recommend enough that you do one of these long walking marathons. They are SO MUCH FUN. Until you stop and sit down and your legs actually detach from the hip, like a badly made action figure (and yet, having detached, continue hurting).

    Years back, I did the Relay for Life thingummy. Your team is supposed to, well, relay and keep someone walking continuously for…I don’t remember now. twenty-four hours, I think. It was a while ago, and now in my infirm state, all memories are fading. *wheeze*

    ANYWAY. Point of the story is that our team didn’t particularly bother to show up, except for me and my mam. So she and I did the Relay, and mostly didn’t bother with the relaying bit. We just walked. I don’t remember how many miles I walked, or how many hours, but both were well into the double digits.

    It was a blast. I’ve often thought about doing some sort of walkathon (or a proper running marathon) again.

    I really like the sound of the Network of Strength. What a great idea. 😀

    How far do you plan to walk…?

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