Local women to walk for breast cancer
Both Bobby Specht, 52, and Debby Echenique, 51, feel fortunate that they or their family members have never been diagnosed with breast cancer.
But hundreds of thousands of women in the United States are not so lucky.
That’s why the two Truckee women will walk in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in San Francisco, an event that raises money for breast cancer research, education and scholarships for women who can’t afford mammograms.
“(Breast Cancer) is a very frightening thing for a women to face,” Specht said. “I thought if that’s what I can do to support another woman facing breast cancer, then I absolutely wanted to do that.”
Both women know several people in the area with the disease.
“The Truckee community has certainly been touched by it,” Specht said. While Truckee has no more breast cancer victims than the national average, it seems more prevalent because it is a small town.
Echenique said she is walking in honor of a coworker, Lisa Tackett, who died of breast cancer last year.
The walk takes place in all major cities in the nation. Each participant is asked to raise a minimum of $1,750. But Echenique said raising the money was the easy part.
“People are so sympathetic and generous when they find out what the cause is,” Echenique said.
In only three months, the two women have raised approximately $7,500, above and beyond their personal goals. After Echenique sent letters asking for donations to friends, family and coworkers at the high school, the letters started pouring in.
“It’s so indicative of how much this disease has invaded everybody’s life,” she said. “People would send back checks, and nine times out of ten, they would say their mother or sister or aunt is a breast cancer survivor.”
About 1,500 participants will walk 26 miles, and may choose to divide it over two days. The walk begins and ends at Speedway Meadow in Golden Gate Park. Walkers will camp in Crissy Field Saturday evening.
“That’s probably the scariest part of this whole thing,” Echenique joked. “I’m not much of a camper.”
Together Echenique and Specht have trained for the walk, logging about two to three hours, four to five times a week.
“My dog has been getting a great benefit out of this whole thing,” Echenique said.
The training has gone better than Specht expected.
“I think the hardest part in the beginning is the psychological part of ‘Oh my God, I just signed up for a marathon,” she said. “Walking 26 miles is really nothing compared to what a woman goes through when she gets that very scary diagnosis.”