Every three minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. Every 13 minutes the disease claims another life.
Two local women have committed to bring those numbers down by participating in a 60-mile walk during the Phoenix Breast Cancer 3-Day, to benefit the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the National Philanthropic Trust.
Debbie Shewey and Alma Martin are currently training and fund-raising to participate in the Oct. 22 event. Each participant raises a minimum of $2,000 to run, and the net proceeds fund breast cancer research and community outreach programs.
So far Shewey and Martin have raised about $500, but they say if they can just get 40 people to donate $100 they'll be set.
"It's a good cause, it affects so many women and now is a chance to help," said Shewey. She said she recently lost her aunt to the disease, and wanted to do something bold to fight for the cause.
This year, more than 200,000 women and men will be diagnosed with the disease, and more than 40,000 will lose their lives, according to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
Martin also lost someone close to her and was deeply affected by the experience.
"It's such a high statistic and I wasn't aware," she said. "I felt it was important to do something about it."
The Phoenix Breast Cancer 3-Day will take place Oct. 22 to Oct. 24. Approximately 3,000 participants will travel 20 miles a day for three days. In Phoenix, the walkers will go from Scottsdale to Tempe. Participants will receive three meals a day, snacks, liquids, hot showers and tents to sleep in during the trek.
Howard Sitron, chief operations officer for the Breast Cancer 3-Day, called the experience "incredibly intense."
"The finish line is a dramatic spot. It's amazing the amount of energy the people muster up at that point. There's an adrenaline rush," Sitron said. "It's like a love fest for three days."
Martin and Shewey have worked up to an 11-mile walk, walking about three days a week for several hours a day.
"We both are physical. We thought, ‘We can do this,'" Shewey said. "Then we started walking."
Sitron said the event is not about competition -- it's not even about who finishes.
"People who would describe themselves as ordinary come out and do something extraordinary," he said.
If the women don't raise enough for both of them to participate, Martin will work as a crew member and support Shewey on the walk. "We have to have the money. We really want to walk," Martin said.
For more information, visit www.the3day.org. To make a donation, call Debbie at (928) 595-1199 or Alma at (928) 595-0450.