The Ladies of Cherokee County 911 are gearing up to participate in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure in Atlanta.
Participants in the annual walkathon will spend Oct. 22 through 24 trekking 60 miles throughout Atlanta to raise money for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation.
The route covers between 15 and 22 miles each day for three days. Participants walk all day and spend their nights at special camps set up by the organizers.
Team Captain Denise McClure of Kennesaw said she and fellow teammates, Priscilla Bridges of Canton, Tammy Dodd of Holly Springs, Heather Bradberry of Ball Ground and Linda Miller of Canton, all have long wanted to participate in the 3-day walk.
The team has a goal of raising $11,500, and so far, they've garnered a little more than $10,000. The foundation asks each team member to raise at least $2,300 to participate.
To prepare for the event, the team also walks together a few times every week.
"It's been such a great journey so far," Ms. McClure said. "We are really excited to be part of it."
Ms. McClure, an emergency communications officer, has lost eight relatives to cancer, including her aunt, the late Brenda McVey, a Marietta Daily Journal columnist who died from leukemia at the age of 25.
Ms. McClure, who recently had a cancerous legion removed from her face, also has three aunts and two cousins who are breast cancer survivors.
Ms. Bridges, the assistant director for Cherokee County 911, said she has longed to participate in past walks, but was intimidated by the amount of money each participant needs to raise.
After talking with Ms. McClure, Ms. Bridges decided to "step out on faith to see what happens."
Ms. Bridges said hearing the stories of women and their families who've been impacted by breast cancer inspires her to fight the disease.
"They still have their hopes up and that's encouraging," she said.
Ms. Bridges said she also felt compelled to participate, as so many of the center's employees are women.
"It could be one of us easily," she said of being diagnosed with breast cancer.
The American Cancer Society predicts about 207,090 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in women this year, and 39,840 women will die from the cancer. The lifetime risk for women developing breast cancer is about one in eight.
The ACS also predicts 1,970 new breast cancer cases will be diagnosed in men this year, and about 390 will die from the disease. The lifetime risk for men developing breast cancer is about one in 1,000.
The teammates said they hope others in the community will join their efforts to fund research and support patients and families struggling with the disease.
The money raised, Mrs. McClure added, can provide the "greatest breakthroughs" in treatments and support services.
Not only does breast cancer affect the women and men who are afflicted with it, it also impacts the children and the entire family, said Ms. Dodd, an emergency communications officer.
"It's a really good cause," she said.