Mother, daughter in search of a cure

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 2, 2002

Features Editor

Becki Edmonson’s brother-in-law bet her $500 she wouldn’t make the 60-mile Avon Breast Cancer Walk.

Becki Edmonson was certain she would.

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After all, she and about 2,000 others were putting down $1.8 million on a shot at finding a cure for cancer, so she had a lot riding on finishing that walk.

And, she had the support and encouragement of her daughter, Amy, her sister and a friend to keep her going.

For Amy, a student at Troy State University, the Avon Breast Cancer 3 Day Walk was something she wanted to do for her mom and all the others who have been affected by cancer.

"My mother is in remission but I wanted to do this walk with her and for her – and for all the others," Amy said. "This is very important to me. The money that was raised will go a long way in the fight against cancer and also bring awareness to breast cancer and the importance of early diagnosis and treatment in saving lives."

Amy returned last week from the three-day, 60 mile walk from Boca Raton to Miami and she openly admitted that the walk was tougher than she thought, but well worth the effort.

Her mother lives in Orlando and that’s why Amy chose the Florida Avon walk.

"But, I didn’t think about how hot it would be," she said, laughing. "The first and third days were good, but the second one – well, it was very hard for us and too difficult for about half the walkers. That’s how many dropped out the second day."

Amy said the heat was the culprit.

"It was just so hot that people couldn’t take it," she said. "We were walking along the highway and the heat from the cars, the pavement and the sun was just too much."

Amy said at the end of the first day, she, her mom and their companions were exhausted, but didn’t even think about giving up.

"The first day everyone was packed in together and we had a lot of chances to meet new people," she said. "That was a lot of fun. The second day, the heat was so bad, but the third day, we were okay."

The walkers slept in tents and were fed like queens – and kings.

"There were about 100 men on the walk," Amy said. "Many of them had lost their wives to cancer and were walking in memory of them. A lot of walkers had tee shirts with pictures of their loved ones who are survivors or those who had lost their battles with cancer. It was very touching to see all of those faces. It made you want to keep going."

Break stations were set up every two miles and every other station had bananas, oranges, peanut butter, chips and pretzels waiting for the walkers.

"Without the water and the food, we couldn’t have made it," Amy said. "Walking 60 miles in three days in the hot sun is not an easy thing to do, but at the closing ceremony, the walkers who were cancer survivors were given pink tee shirts. Those of us who were walking for someone were given blue shirts."

Amy said that was when it really hit home with her the huge number of people who are affected directly by cancer.

"I couldn’t believe how many of the people who had been on the walk with us were cancer survivors," she said. "I walked with them for three days and I didn’t know."

Amy said that’s the way it is with cancer. There are so many survivors among the masses and that is evidence that the dollars given to cancer research and education are making a difference – that these dollars are saving lives and that one day a cure will be found for this dreaded disease.

When Amy looked out over that sea of pink – that sea of survivors – and saw her mother’s face, she knew that all she had been through the last three days was worth it.

And, she would do it all again.

"But, just not in Miami in April," she said, laughing. "No, really. I am just happy that I was able to do this for my mother and with my mother. Because others have given, I had this opportunity and I am so thankful."

To participate in the walk, Amy had to raise $1,900 to help find a cure for cancer.

"It was money well spent."