Local Teachers Walk for the Cure

Tracy Easterday and Heather O’Brien pause for a photo.

Pink is universally associated with girls, but for some women the meaning goes much deeper than being just a pretty color.

Two years ago, Urbana High School special education teachers Tracy Easterday and Heather O’Brien, both of Frederick, set out to take part in the Susan G. Komen Walk for the Cure to help end breast cancer. O’Brien, 35, heard a commercial on the radio advertising the Komen Three-Day walk in Washington, D.C., and on a whim thought it might be a fun thing to try. After assembling a team of friends, she and Easterday watched a DVD to learn about the walk and set out to help such a great cause. The only thing standing in their way: the hefty price tag of a $2,300 donation per participant.

“I think the money scares people away, not the walk,” O’Brien said.

To reach their donation goals, they hosted faculty and staff dress-down days for a $10 donation fee and split the proceeds between them, held a poker party fundraiser, sent donation letters to friends and family, and submitted a matching give through O’Brien’s brother, who works with Verizon.

They both agreed that, surprisingly, the money was not all that hard to acquire.

“People are much more generous than you think, and there are creative ways to get donations,” they added to encourage more people to try.

The walk, spread out over three days, is 60 miles consisting of seven hours each day. It takes place annually somewhere in the D.C. Metro area, and the women said they will find out where it will happen this year shortly before the walk starts. Each year, the walk has been in a different place.

Their team this year, “Fighting for Funbags,” has raised all its money and has even gotten a large amount of return donors. Easterday says of the team, “I felt like our bonds together were a lot stronger by the end. Everyone is so nice.”

The women, who considered themselves to be crazy, had such a great sense of accomplishment after finishing the walk for the first time that they decided to do it again; they are now returning for the third time.

Although neither of the women has been personally affected by breast cancer, they can still identify with the heartbreak the disease causes for families and friends all over the world. They encourage everyone to try the walk to meet a new friend and help Fight for Fungbags.

Visit 3Day.org for more information on the walk and to find out how to help.


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