Taking steps to fight breast cancer

Published 11:45 pm Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Special to the Daily News

Nicole O’Neal and Kellie Harris Hopkins took an unconventional approach to Breast Cancer Awareness Month from Oct. 8 to Oct. 10. Rather than pass out the usual fliers, buttons, and T-shirts, the two women walked around Belhaven for three days. The 60-mile experience was quite interesting.
O’Neal described some of the physical effects the walk took on her and Hopkins.
“It wore on us in different ways,” O’Neal said. “Her knees hurt, my feet were sore. My hip was also sore.”
But O’Neal contrasted their pain with the pain that cancer victims endure.
“What it does is make you think of what it does to somebody,” O’Neal said. “It hits you and me all in different ways. What we did impacted our bodies in different ways, just like cancer does.”
Both women said that people in the community were supportive and interested in what they were doing. This played a major role in their decision not to participate in the Susan G. Komen three-day Walk For A Cure in Washington D.C. They also had to face the problem of having to juggle work and home schedules.
“With us going to D.C., who would we have impacted?” Hopkins asked.
O’Neal and Hopkins raised $3,864 for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. They had to pay a fee of $100 for their walk to be recognized as part of the national effort.
The women started their walk at 7:30 a.m. all three mornings. The first two days of their walk totaled 42 miles. The last day totaled 18 miles. They averaged 4.2 miles per lap on he first two days and 3.0 miles per lap on Sunday.
When Breast Cancer Awareness Month rolls around next year, they plan to do it all over again.
“We are going to do it here from the get-go,” said Hopkins.
Those still interested in donating can go to www.the3day.org and search for Kellie Hopkins under “Donate to a Participant”.