Tanya Schmidt ’08 and her sister, Sylvia ’06 – Team Lokahi – recently completed the two-day Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in San Francisco July 12-13, raising over $6,000 in donations of the total $7.9 million raised over the weekend.
“I want to thank each one of you for supporting us,” said Tanya, who explained that their team name means “unity” and “togetherness” in Hawaiian. “No matter what difficulties you face in life, we believe that if you have someone supporting and encouraging you along the way, you can make it through, so we decided to help fight the battle against cancer together.”
The event was a marathon and a half – 39.3 miles – divided up with 26.2 miles on the first day, and 13.1 miles on the second – that started in San Francisco, crossed the Golden Gate Bridge into Marin County, and ended up in Crissy Fields to spend where participants spent the night in tents. The second day’s route wound through San Francisco and finished back where the walk started in Golden Gate Park. Tanya recounts her experience:
“By the end of the second day, my legs and feet hurt, but the pain I felt is nothing compared to the pain that the families affected by cancer feel every day. As one of the posters along the route said, ‘Blisters don’t need chemo.’ On the second day of our walk, after climbing up and down some brutal San Francisco hills, we passed by the San Francisco Avon Medical Breast Center, the site where much of the money I have raised will go to directly help members of our local communities. It was very touching to see the nurses and patients line up along the sidewalk outside of the medical center to cheer us on with high fives and many heartfelt thank yous. Your support helped me get there, and I am so grateful and appreciative.
“As I crossed the finish line arm in arm with an Irish lady who I had just met a couple hours earlier, I realized my favorite part of the weekend: the feeling that no matter what struggles you encounter in life, you never have to be alone. The statistics are sad. Every three minutes, another woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, and every 14 minutes, breast cancer takes the life of another person. During the time that I spent walking this weekend, the lives of 670 women have been forever changed with the news that they have breast cancer. With the support of people like you, however, we can change the statistics for the better. Together, we can draw strength from hope, and together, we can cure cancer.” Both dedicated their efforts this year to the family of John Near, a 30-year Harker history teacher who is battling colon cancer.