For the last several months, three Lincolnton women — team name “The Rack Pack: Racking Up the Miles for a Cure” — have been training and raising funds for this month’s AVON Walk for Breast Cancer in Charlotte, one of eight host cities this year.
The trio will unite with thousands from across the region Oct. 26 and 27 to complete the nearly 40-mile trek — a marathon and a half.
The goal of the annual event, launched by the AVON Foundation in 2003, is to raise enough funds and awareness to one day end breast cancer.
Whether through personal struggle or watching a friend or loved one battle with the disease, each of the local ladies has been affected by breast cancer.
“Everyone will be touched by breast cancer at some point,” Team Captain Bernadette King said.
For her, participation in the walk will be in memory of her grandmother, who succumbed to stage four breast cancer when King was just five years old. The Lincolnton resident also had a lumpectomy in February, she said.
Because the incident reminded her too much of her grandmother, King chose to forego an initial biopsy and have the lump removed regardless of whether or not it was cancerous.
Luckily, the lump was benign, she said.
While teammate Sharon Fox noted her mother-in-law survived breast cancer, and she, too, has had numerous scares over the years, having non-cancerous lumps removed from her breasts off and on since the age of 18, her motivation for walking this year stems mainly from a different desire.
“It’s more about helping others,” Fox said.
She not only encouraged women to do regular self-exams to prevent themselves from having to go through an even more challenging fight if or when doctors discover a cancerous lump but to also make an appointment immediately upon locating one.
“If you find something,” she said, “don’t sit on it for a month.”
Final teammate Stacy Angle, who joined King and Fox in July, initially to help them raise money before opting to also walk, has not experienced any close cancer calls herself but has known many other women throughout her lifetime, including her husband’s aunt, who have suffered from the life-changing disease.
“The Rack Pack” didn’t take shape until King put a message on Facebook, asking interested friends and family to join her in the walk.
Fox later replied to the invite while Angle came on board at the end of the summer.
Both King and Angle said they knew Fox through different church-related events but didn’t become friends themselves until the trio began fundraising and training for the event.
The walk requires each participant raise $1,800, which each of the women have done through various fundraisers the last several months including a recent event at the Lincolnton Wal-Mart, yard sales and a gun raffle, which brought in a majority of the funds, they said.
In addition, each of the ladies sent letters requesting donations from family and other community members.
Together, the women have raised more than $5,800.
Fox said the two-day event will be broken down into 26.2 miles the first day and 13.1 the second day — each day starting and ending at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
The team will also spend the night near the race site in a tent.
While they said they commenced their training in April, walking around downtown Lincolnton and along the Rail Trail, a popular area exercise route, three times a week, they cut back as the race edged closer.
Fox noted they also tend to make periodic stops during training to grab water, coffee or use the restroom.
Despite the fact that the group has never walked more than 13 miles at a time during training and know the actual event will be challenging, they feel confident they can complete it in a fair amount of time.
“We’ll be able to do it,” King said.
Fox also felt the trek will be more inspiring when walking in a much larger group.
“You have several 1,000 women doing it, (too),” she said.
Whether or not the women walk the event in future years, King wasn’t sure. However, she felt certain she would involve herself in the cause in some form or fashion each year.
For more information on the walk, visit avonwalk.org. To donate to the local ladies’ team, enter keyword “Rack Pack.”