A trio of Rim country women have been hitting the streets of Payson and Pine in the fight against breast cancer.
Debbie Shewey, Alma Martin and Ali Lane are training for the 60-mile Phoenix Breast Cancer 3-Day, a walk to raise funds for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the National Philanthropic Trust. The event is Oct. 22-24 as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and requires a $2,000 participant fee.
All three women have raised the money, but continue their fund-raising efforts to further benefit breast cancer research and community outreach programs.
"We're all three so happy to be participating," Shewey said. "It would have been devastating if one of us couldn't walk."
Shewey said a Sept. 17 donation from the Tonto Apache Tribe put them over the top.
"We know all of our hard work is paying off and we get to walk," Shewey said.
"If you haven't been through it, you don't know how expensive it is," Lane said. Her son had spinal cancer when he was 17 and at the same time, his favorite teacher had breast cancer.
"I saw the need she had and the support given her," Lane said. "It's something I've wanted to do."
Shewey and Martin have also had their lives touched by cancer. Shewey recently lost an aunt to the disease and said she wanted to do something bold to fight for the cause.
"It's such a high statistic and I wasn't aware," Martin said. "I felt it was important to do something about it."
This year, more than 200,000 women and men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will lose their lives, according to information from the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
"So much of the cost here is out of pocket and the families just can't handle it all," said Lane, who is a native of Australia, where the state takes care of medical costs.
"Even the ladies needing wigs have to pay for them here," she said.
In addition to the help from the Tonto Apache, the women have received support from survivors of the disease and the families of those who lost their battles, businesses and individuals from throughout the Rim country.
"We couldn't have done this without the community's support," Shewey said.
"Every time we went out, there was great success. We never came back with less than $300," Martin said of their fund-raising activities.
"We did yard sales, sold cotton candy, handed out pizza, did snack boxes at work, sold water and pop, bribed people," Shewey said.
"Right after the first article came out, people I didn't know walked up to me and handed me $50. At the rodeo parade, a girl came up and gave me $100 saying she'd just lost a friend to breast cancer." Martin said.
"The Breast Cancer Support Group, which is mostly older women, have backed us a lot," Shewey said.
The group's members have come to every event the trio has held or helped at, she said.
Besides the fund-raising activities the women have devoted at least three days a week to train for the 60-mile walk.
"We use the heck out of Green Valley Park," Shewey said.
"We've walked the whole town," Martin added.
They toured the town during a 17-mile walk Sept. 3.
"We do hills. We do mountains," Shewey said.
"Up in Pine you don't ever notice (the hills) until you have to walk it," Lane said.
Their regular training involves about seven miles three times a week, Shewey said.
"The closer it gets the more energized I get," Martin said.
"People come up and ask how we're doing," Lane said.
The trio is having one last big fund-raising event before the Phoenix walk. A quad poker ride is being held, sponsored by the Rye Bar and Steakhouse, Saturday, Oct. 9.
The entry is $10 per player with a 50-50 prize for the winner, but it is not necessary to ride to play. The start time is 9:30 a.m., with lunch served at noon. There will also be raffles and a silent auction with all funds going to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for Breast Cancer Research.
For more information call Lane at (928) 476-3650, Martin at (928) 595-0450, Shewey at (928) 595-1199 or Alissa Herning at (928) 476-3140.
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
The goal is to spread the message that early detection of breast cancer followed by prompt treatment saves lives. A variety of resources are available for more information:
- National Cancer Information Center has trained cancer information specialists available at all times. They can answer questions about cancer, link callers with resources in their communities and provide information on local events. Call 1-800-227-2345.
- The American Cancer Society website, www.cancer.org, provides in-depth information on all major cancer types, with guidelines for prevention, detection and treatment, clinical trials, programs and services for patients.