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Greenfield

Many steps on road to a cure

Sisters raising money for breast cancer research with three-day walk in Boston

  • Two Greenfield sisters make the commitment to walk 60 miles in the Susan Komen three-day walk to end breast cancer.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Two Greenfield sisters make the commitment to walk 60 miles in the Susan Koman three-day walk to end breast cancer.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Two Greenfield sisters make the commitment to walk 60 miles in the Susan Koman three-day walk to end breast cancer.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Two Greenfield sisters make the commitment to walk 60 miles in the Susan Koman three-day walk to end breast cancer.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Two Greenfield sisters make the commitment to walk 60 miles in the Susan Komen three-day walk to end breast cancer.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

GREENFIELD — Some people walk for themselves. Others walk for their family members. And others, simply because it’s the right thing to do. For Cynthia, 57, and Marcia, 59, de Steuben of Greenfield, it was the latter of the three reasons that prompted them to walk in the Susan G. Komen 3 Day for the Cure.

The two sisters are dedicated to walking 60 miles over the course of three days to raise money for the support of public health outreach programs for women and men facing breast cancer. For Marcia and Cynthia, it’s far more than a three-day commitment. The two have been training since April for the walk. In two weeks, on July 26 through July 28, they’ll find out if all their preparations were enough.

On Saturday, the two were geared up to begin a long 12 mile walk, with another 17 mile walk planned for Sunday, as they get their bodies ready to walk 20 miles a day during the 3 Day event in Boston. The two have always been avid walkers, they said outside Cynthia’s home in Greenfield on Saturday, as they got ready for their walk. This isn’t the first year they’ve considered doing the 3 Day, but it is the first year they’ve decided to take the plunge. They’ve been fortunate in that neither they, nor any members of their immediate family, have been touched by breast cancer, they said. But like most people, it’s not been a non-entity in their lives, either.

“We know people that have fought it and survived,” noted Marcia. “I think everyone knows people that have fought it. It seems a little too prevalent for my taste. My goal with this walk isn’t necessarily a cure, but at least something to prevent it from being so prevalent.”

Cynthia is a nurse midwife at Darmouth-Hitchcock Clinic in Concord, and has watched many patients battle with breast cancer. She said she’ll be keeping them close in her heart as she walks. But mostly she wanted to do it to set an example of good health habits, she said.

“Some of the risk factors [for breast cancer] are connected with lifestyle and diet,” Cynthia said. “When I told people at work I was doing this, they were like, ‘You’re going to do what? You’re going to walk how far?’ But I think it’s really important to be that role model.”

Not that it’s always been easy. Not every car on the road pays attention to walkers at the side of the road, and there have been a few close calls in that regard since they began training, said Cynthia. In addition to seeing deer, the two have also come across less appealing wildlife in their jaunts, including snakes, snapping turtles and enough mosquitoes to convince them that bug spray is not an optional accessory for the serious walker.

Marcia, who never imagined that she would be a Gatorade drinker, was forced to acquire a taste for it. And they have also had to find backers to help them reach the $2,300 each minimum in pledges. Mostly, they’ve just had the backing of family and friends, whom they’ve asked for support. Two weeks shy of the walk, both are still doing the last of their fundraising, Marcia said.

“I thought it would be harder,” said Cynthia, of the experience of training for the walk. “I’ve surprised myself with how I’ve held up with my stamina, even at my age.”

To support Marcia and Cynthia and to make a pledge in their name, or to learn more about the Susan G. Komen 3 Day for the Cure, see The3Day.org.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.

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