Teachers walk for breast cancer

April 22, 2009 — by Kevin Mu and Jenny Zhang

For three years, statistics teacher Seema Patel has wanted to participate in the inspirational Susan G. Komen three-day Breast cancer walk, but because of the large time and monetary commitments involved, she put it off. This year, however, Patel had a different attitude entirely.

“This year I just decided in a matter of five minutes, ‘Sure, I’ll do it,’” she said. “I always wanted to do this walk, and this year I finally got around to it.”
Now, she and fellow math teacher Kelly Frangieh have organized a team that includes five teachers: Patel, Frangieh, math teacher Kristen Hamilton and science teachers Genevieve Garcia and Laressa Ridge.

The five will join thousands of women in San Francisco for the breast cancer walk on Oct. 2-4. Participants will walk 20 miles each day of the three-day event, sharing support, kindness and laughter along the way.

The event takes place in 14 cities all across the United States, annually raising millions of dollars for breast cancer research, awareness and prevention. Last year, it raised over $110 million for the Susan G. Komen For the Cure Foundation, according to the event’s website www.the3day.org.

For many, the walk is a tribute to survivors or to those who are currently fighting against cancer.

“[The three-day walk] is something that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time,” said Garcia, “but recently someone very close to me has been afflicted with breast cancer, so I’m doing it in her honor.”

For others, to realize that so many people have been affected by breast cancer, and that so many people are still fighting against the disease, is truly a life-changing experience.

“Since I have decided to do this [walk],” said Patel, “I [discovered] that so many people have [breast cancer]. When I started it was none. And now I’m walking for about 20 people.”

One of the main challenges of the event is collecting the necessary donations. Each participant in the walk must raise at least $2,300, for a minimum of $11,500 for the five teachers. So far, Patel has raised $1,200 in donations, including $170 in contributions from her students.

“Raising $2,300 every year is very hard,” Patel said. “Asking people for money is a lot.”

Despite the long hours of planning and fundraising involved, Patel believes all the work the teachers put in will be worthwhile if it helps to cure a disease that currently affects one in eight women.

“I decided it was a really good cause because it affects girls and women forevermore,” said Patel. “And until we find a cure, it will continue to affect women and kids as well.”

Current fundraising ideas include a Mothers’ Day camp, where children would create arts and crafts for their mothers, and selling “good luck” goodie bags for finals week, Garcia said. In addition, the money raised by Garcia’s annual physics catapult project will go toward the three-day walk.

For security purposes, the destinations and routes of the walk will not be released until the day of the event, when participants arrive.

If you would like to donate to or participate in this worthy cause, please talk to Patel in room 507 or visit www.the3day.org for more information.

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