Walking for cancer's cure
Diane Wasson Eberhart
Diane Wasson Eberhart believes she has seen about as much of Grinnell as there is to see.
Eberhart, deacon at the United Methodist Church in Grinnell, is training to participate in the 2009 Minneapolis Breast Cancer 3-Day, a 60-mile walk to benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the National Philanthropic Trust Breast Cancer Fund.
That training has taken her all over the area.
“I’ve walked everywhere,” she said. “I think I’ve walked every street in Grinnell.”
The Minneapolis Breast Cancer 3-Day will start on Friday, Aug. 21, and end with the closing ceremony on Sunday, Aug. 23.
The walkers will cover about 20 miles a day, traveling at their own pace. Breast cancer is a subject “that is near and dear” to Eberhart, literally. She was diagnosed with DCIS, stage zero breast cancer, in 2007.
“Some of the money raised goes towards research, but some also goes towards helping low income families afford a mammogram,” she said, “So much of breast cancer is treatable if caught early enough.”
According to Eberhart, her cancer was caught very early. “I had three little, tiny spots that I wouldn’t have felt otherwise,” she said.
“The mammogram located them.” She hopes the walk will raise more funding and awareness to help low income families take advantage of early detection.
So Eberhart walks and trains. She said that she was sent a 16-week training program that has her walking four days a week, then cross training the other days before taking a day off.
Eberhart started with three to four miles a day, which soon increased to five miles. She is now at the max.
Each walker is supported by coaches and online assistance that aid in all aspects of training and fund-raising, while clinics, meetings, training walks, teams, and buddy walkers provide ongoing support.
“The Breast Cancer 3-Day is a community of people united by one cause who are dedicated and excited to make a difference,” Eberhart said. “Each participant must raise at least $2,300, so the total amount raised will be an amazing accomplishment.”
She says she is close to raising the funds.
Although she is not sure about repeat performances, she became interested in the 3-day walk because of a close friend.
“A friend of mine who had the same diagnosis that I had has been bugging me to do this,” Eberhart said. “She finally talked me into it and we will both be doing this together.”
After months of training and fundraising, participants will walk 60 miles during three days to raise awareness and funds for critical research, education, and community health programs.
“This is my first year participating in the Breast Cancer 3-Day,” Eberhart said. “I am walking in memory of those who have died of breast cancer, and in honor of the many survivors, including the Grinnell Area Breast Cancer Support group members. I would welcome people letting me know names of their loves ones that I can add to my list.”
In the U.S. today, there are nearly 2.5 million breast cancer survivors— one in eight women will be diagnosed during her lifetime—but a breast cancer diagnosis affects more than the patient.
Co-survivors, the family and friends of those women and men battling breast cancer, need support also.
To help Eberhart reach her goals, make a donation directly to her on-line donation page at www.The3Day.org and click on the “Donate” link. Then “Search for a Participant” and enter the name, “Diane Eberhart.”
UPDATED July 28, 2009 1:03 PM