For the week of October 14 thru October 20, 1998  

Women walk 75 miles to fight breast cancer

Kirk, Nalen will walk California coast Oct. 23-25

Doing their part for National Breast Cancer Month, Cindy Kirk and Elizabeth Nalen will be taking a long walk next week.

The Wood River Valley residents will walk up to 75 miles along the California coastline Oct. 23-25, joining nearly 3,000 other walkers in the fight against breast cancer.

Kirk said, "We’ll be walking from Santa Barbara to Malibu in a very special and powerful event called AVON’s Breast Cancer 3-Day. All of us hope to raise millions of dollars for awareness and early detection of breast cancer."

Nalen and Kirk plan to leave the valley Thursday, Oct. 22 and spend the night in Santa Barbara.

The three-day event begins the next morning, on Friday, Oct. 23. The schedule calls for the walkers to finish 22 miles the first day, and then go 17 miles on Saturday, Oct. 24 and 22 miles on Sunday, Oct. 25.

Quite a bit of training has prepared Nalen and Kirk for their upcoming adventure.

At least two days a week, they hook up and go on long walks together. "We’ve come to know a lot about each other," said Elizabeth with a laugh.

Recently, they walked four hours and 15 minutes in a day, covering 17 miles. "Our feet were like hamburger afterwards," said Elizabeth.

Their training goal before leaving for California was to put together two long days of walking, back-to-back, to simulate the actual event. Their objective when they get to California? Five to six hours of walking, for three straight days.

Walking itself seems relatively easy compared to the difficulty of raising funds, they agreed, but Nalen and Kirk have enjoyed considerable success in reaching and exceeding their allotment of pledges.

They are grateful for the responses to their letter-writing campaigns. Kirk said, "People have been giving us significant amounts."

Nalen and Kirk each committed to raising $1,700 in pledges in order to participate in AVON’s Breast Cancer 3-Day. They will probably exceed $2,000 when it’s all over.

Kirk said, "Net proceeds from the funds we raise will be distributed by the AVON Breast Health Access Fund administered by the National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations to an array of breast cancer organizations across the country.

"By doing so, we hope to increase the chances for survival of thousands of women in the U.S."

Kirk added, "Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death for all women, and the leading cause of death in women between the ages of 40 and 55. Both its cause and the means for its cure remain undiscovered. Currently, one million U.S. women have the disease but don’t know it. And they probably won’t know about their potentially fatal illness for another five to eight years.

"That’s why we’re walking 75 miles."

A Starweather resident, Cindy Kirk is the mother of two daughters; Audrey, 6, and Isabel, 2. Cindy operates a business out of her home called Silver Lining, designing and manufacturing children’s clothing.

"Elizabeth talked me into doing this event," said Cindy.

Independence Creek (Elkhorn) resident Elizabeth Nalen, whose mother died of breast cancer, has two children; a 6-year-old daughter named Austin and a 4-year-old son named Christopher.

Elizabeth’s husband, Community School teacher David Nalen, died in Dec. 1995 after a seven-year struggle with cancer. For the last three years, the Nalen family and David’s friends have organized a David Nalen Foundation fund-raising golf tournament at Elkhorn Golf Resort.


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