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Survivors, supporters walk for breast cancer awareness
Thousands of men and women donning everything from pink T-shirts to pink tutus will gather Friday morning in Plano to embark on a three-day walk to raise awareness and money for breast cancer.
The Susan G. Komen 3-Day walk will begin at Collin Creek Mall and traverse 60 miles before crossing the finish line Sunday at Fair Park in Dallas. More than 2,800 people participated in the 2011 Dallas 3-Day, one of 16 held throughout the country.
Among the local participants is Tammy Coyne, a Frisco resident who was diagnosed with breast cancer in early 2011.
"In November, when I finished treatment, I thought that if I feel better next year I am going to do that walk," Coyne said. "I know that with the research and the treatments now, I wanted to be able to participate and help and this was the best way to do it."
Coyne, who was recently declared cancer-free at her one year check-up, talked her daughter and sister into joining her on team, Boxing Babes, and set out to raise the $2,300 each required from each participant.
The three didn't have any problem raising the money, Coyne said, adding that "flocking" people's yards with pink flamingoes is an easy way to elicit donations.
"I found out that people are very generous," she said. "I didn't realize until I got it how many people breast cancer affects. You will be talking to somebody and they will talk about how their grandmother or mother or even their dad had cancer."
Another Frisco resident participating in the walk for the first time is Veronica Phillips, who was diagnosed with breast cancer on Oct. 25, 2011. Phillips' cancer was caught very early, in Stage 0, so her treatment lasted only a month.
While she didn't have a lengthy battle with cancer like many breast cancer patients, Phillips said her life has still been changed dramatically.
"I think I got more from breast cancer than breast cancer got from me," she said. "Even though the diagnosis was overwhelming and I had some bad days, I am surrounded by other women who have been through so much more than me. It makes me grateful to have another opportunity at life."
In addition to raising millions of dollars for breast cancer research, the 3-Day also helps improve breast cancer awareness, said Dr. Sheri Phillips, the national spokeswoman for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day.
"We have made tremendous strides in the fight against breast cancer," she said. "Just since 1990 breast cancer rates have decreased by 33 percent. But our reality is still that someone in the world is diagnosed every 19 seconds, and someone dies from the disease every 74 seconds.
"If we can raise awareness of the disease and for breast screenings, prevention and treatment then we will stand the best chance of winning this fight against breast cancer."
Those wishing to lend support to participants can do so at special cheering stations along the route. To find a spot, visit www.the3day.org and click "Spectator Info."
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