! Walking Again, 4 the Last Time, in the June 2007 Avon Walk!
I'm walking still, and again! Six years after my May 1st diagnosis in 2001, I'm still battling the fight against breast cancer and doing my part spreading awareness. This year is my last long walk, as I move on to improve my health and other goals in the breast cancer fields. More to follow later on the specifics.
The following page was from my first, the 2002 walk, but I will leave it up for inspiration and information for anyone stumbling upon this site!
I DID IT!!! The walk from Kenosha to Chicago June 14 thru 16 (2002)was a HUGE success!! Over 7000 wonderful people teamed together to humankind and raised over $11,200,000!!!!
I have three HUGE reasons to do this walk with over 6000 other walkers - Brandon Robert, now 25, Jason Daniel, now 24, and Morgan Desirae, now 12.
I am a Breast Cancer Patient, a Six Year Survivor, a single parent and a fighter!! At my age I had a 1 in 67 chance of getting breast cancer. Why Me????????
The Avon Breast Cancer 3 Day walk from Kenosha to Chicago came up fast- on the morning of Thursday, June 13th, 2002, I left for this 4 day adventure that I know I will never forget!! I was so anxious and excited, yet at the same time terrified that I had really gotten myself into something that time!!
THANK YOU * THANK YOU * THANK YOU!!!!!!
I met my minimum donation requirement to participate and my personal goal of $2002 to represent the year I became a survivor, thanks to some Godsent angels that are supporting me & this wonderful cause!!! Donations rolled in daily, and I hand carried the last ones to Day Zero in Kenosha for proper crediting.
I want to take this opportunity to extend my heartfelt appreciation to all those that have supported me in this endeavor. My family, relatives, co-workers, neighbors, friends, and absolutely complete strangers have donated hard earned dollars, mailed me hats, handmade turbans matching for Morgan and I (thank you Sheryl!!), Yearly Survivor T shirts, chocolate kisses for the rough times (I'm on my third bag!!) and gear for the walk, called me with support and concern, helped me with fundraising, mailing out letters, spreading the word about early detection!! Girlfriends and family and co-workers from the hospital that have sat with me through the lowest of the lowest of chemo, brought me books, helped me with my daughter, our home and meals, made telephone calls for me, drove me or went on the train with me for treatments, helped me with pharmacy runs, and my haircuts, then my hair falling out, went with me to surgeries and procedures and tests and the ER visits, etc, etc, etc.
I am so thankful to be among the best of humankind :-)
Breast Cancer is something we all need to start getting ourselves educated on- you can no longer turn away, and just think you will be exempt from dealing with it in your family. We need to reach out and make a difference- in a BIG way- early detection and research is our ONLY hope to stamp out this deadly killer. Tremendous strides are happening TODAY because of the support and sacrifices of thousands of walkers, sisters, donators, supporters, clinical trials, etc!!! In the last couple months, Researchers have pinpointed and identified the gene CHEK2 that increases markers for breast cancer susceptibility. The clinical trials are paving the way for a cure!! Two chunks of my bone marrow might make a difference in earlier detection for someone. Teamwork will make this dream work, folks!!
And really think twice about your own mammogram- or your wife's, or Mom's or daughter's, etc. I had several mammograms that came back "just fine- everything's OK", come back next year- but I persisted- abnormalities and lumps, bumps, wrinkles or puckers are NOT OK. If in doubt, find a SPECIALIST at a BIG breast center in a BIG city, and demand a biopsy. I would be undetected this very moment, if I hadn't perservered with the intuition, encouragement and support from Dr. Milam, my OB/GYN.
Encourage your loved ones to go for their mammograms, go with them, make the appointment for them, offer to pay half, drive them there, whatever the excuse may be- resolve it, bribe them anyway you can to get there. Talk about it, breast cancer is not a taboo subject anymore. Or secret, or hush hush. I will go with you, if you are afraid. I was. And I will travel to go with you if need be.
I am walking again in less than a month for the Chicago June 2 & 3 weekend. I am still fundraising and looking for a sponsor to adopt me to help with some of my walking supplies & gear I will need. I have been walking like crazy, packing up my gear, walking, training, resting, fundraising, walking, getting very excited and there's pink ribbons everywhere!! I need your support, prayers and encouragement!!
*** Please email me right away at
with your loved ones names that have fought or are fighting the Breast Cancer battle, so I can wear a pink ribbon in their honor ALL 60 miles.
Please sit back and read my site, I have updated information practically daily and this cause means so much to me and to my family- we are living the nightmare the diagnosis of breast cancer brings to a family, so unexpected, still so shocking and daily consuming our life.
Grab a cup of coffee and plan on reading for 10 minutes or so!!
Please also feel free to sign my guestbook, by clicking on the Guestbook Link to the left, so I know you stopped by!!! *********************************
I AM GOING TO SURVIVE BREAST CANCER!!!!! I am praying hard as I go through the post treatment testing to determine my prognosis. I found many more lumps over the years, went through many more surgeries and procedures, numerous xrays, cat scans, and body bone scan. It has been grueling, to say the least.
I'm not in the clear yet - I just spent another day in Chicago for more tests. Please pray for me & our family.
There is something YOU can do to help!!
PLEASE forward this page to everyone you know, together, we all CAN make a difference!!! One in eight will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, by forwarding this to 7 others, we can spread the word!!
I know time is precious, as is life, and we are all busy, too busy sometimes. Life is so short, and we need to MAKE the time for the important things. Please take just a few minutes today!!! I will be updating this site often, so please bookmark this site and check back every so often. There will be new pictures up after the walk with a journal of the weekend.**************************************
I was just an average 43 year old single parent- living in the cornfields of Northern Illinois- of three beautiful children. You always think "someone else" will get cancer, some other family, it's something you read about in the newspaper all the time. You know it's out there, hear it on TV all the time, and pray it won't get too close to your family. Everyone knows what the pink ribbon symbolizes- it is a worldwide logo for a major worldwide problem.
If you only knew how this diagnosis May 1st, 2001, has affected me, our family, and all those around us.
Imagine this: Your whole world changes in a heartbeat. All of a sudden a headache seems trivial. A sense of urgency surrounds. You just freeze- NO!!!!!!! Even the radiologist assured me that everything looked fine after a stereotactic needle biopsy that I had to practically beg to get. Prayer becomes constant. You're in shock. What do you do next?? How do you tell the kids? How do you tell your Dad and your brothers? How about work? How will I support my family??
How will I make it through chemo? Who will help me? I am a single parent!! How can I handle losing my hair?? Reading and research is paramount when you're at your weakest and lowest. And alot of tears start to flow. But, Angels appear- almost daily, when you're looking for them!! You start to put your team of healthcare professionals together. You make the appointments, and put everything else aside. A couple year's worth of paperwork, bills and insurance stuff accumulated in boxes and stacks. Who cares........
I was crying as I tried to put this into words. It is like a bad dream looking back at all that has transpired.
Did you know that there are over one million women in America with undetected breast cancer??
Now there is one less- I was diagnosed May 1st, 2001 with Ductal AND Lobular breast cancer.
This year approximately 182,800 women in the United States will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. That's 500 per day. Almost 43,000 of them will die. And 80% won't have ANY genetic predisposition to the disease. I didn't.
A new case of breast cancer will be diagnosed EVERY 3 minutes, and EVERY 14 minutes, this horrible disease will claim another life.
More than almost any other serious disease, breast cancer touches nearly all of us, whether we're women or men, old or young. A woman's chance of having breast cancer during her lifetime is one in eight. YOUR chance of knowing this woman is nearly 100%. Look around your family, neighborhood, the grocery store, your workplace, your family reunion, at the stop light.
You and just seven others- which one will get it?? Very Frightening statistics. And Real!!
Too real in our family......
Fewer than a third of American women follow the recommended guidelines for self-examination and regular mammography. Many women are underserved, don't have access to a doctor, or are too afraid of the results to find out. Or they delay the appointment, like I did, because they hear the negative, the jokes, how much it "hurts" and not how important it is. How Mammograms can save your life, or MINE!!!!
But finding out is crucial- more than 97% of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer at an EARLY stage DO survive for more than five years.
Excluding skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women.
The Good News is that The death rate from the disease is declining!! People are surviving!!
In fact, there are 2 million breast cancer survivors in America today, and I AM one of them- a six year survivor!! In order to survive, they need access to medical care, access to screening, education, and treatment. And we ultimately just need a cure!!
And, Men, PLEASE note, you are very critical in getting the word out- First of all Men get breast cancer TOO-In 2001, 1500 men were diagnosed with this disease, and over 400 men died from it- 25%. In our American breast crazy society, our men should be out there saving the Hooters and promoting breast health too!! REAL men have Moms- and wives, and daughters, and care. They are out there walking, forming teams, and raising big money for research!! There are widowers out there raising children on their own because of this disease. You could be our biggest advocate and asset in this cause!! Please help us!!
Watching my girlfriend's husband deal with her terminal cancer has been the most humble definition of true love I have ever seen in my whole life. Cancer is horrible, period. And it strikes at the worst possible time.
I am going to do something about this, as sick as I am, and I NEED YOUR HELP!!!!
Over 58,000 people have participated in one of the Avon Breast Cancer 2-
Day Walks across the country since they began only a coupld years ago. 39.3 miles with thousands of other walkers, into which all our hope, strength, generosity, and love must be packed like a suitcase- and we are limited to 35 pounds.
We stay overnight in pup tents in a traveling village, use semi-truck showers, and there are no blow dryers allowed!! I will sleep 12 and walk 12. Thru rain and snow- the warriors have walked- for you, for me, for all of us. Hardly the Marriott in sleeping bags!! This is a powerful statement made by thousands of people that care. How about being in Chicago at that finish line to see the culmination of emotion- as lives are changed?? As the walkers and crew and volunteers in blue shirts make a tunnel surrounding the survivors in pink shirts for that last mile.... What are you doing June 2nd and 3rd? I guarantee you this sight is something you will never ever forget............
If I told you there was something YOU could do to help people find out and survive, how far would YOU be willing to go??
I will go the distance, one more time. It will take 2 full days- and everything I have in me- to cross that finish line. My teammates have offered to carry me over the finish line if need be!!
I am overwhelmed with the generosity and outpouring of love of complete strangers, all united in the battle against this deadly disease. My family and friends have supported me since that phone call came in on May Day.
I'll be participating in a very special and powerful event in the fight against breast cancer. It's called the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer and I'd like to tell you about it!!
The net proceeds will support the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade's mission to fund access to care and find a cure for breast cancer, with a focus on medically underserved women.
I was one of those underserved and underinsured women, and Avon helped me. They work with social workers at hospitals offering their help to women that need them. Thank God!!
I agreed to raise the minimum of $1800 in donations by June 2nd- Day Zero, to participate. On the day I finished radiation treatments, I registered to do the first walk. Every single penny helps!! And to think what I used to spend at Starbucks just for cafe mochas. I have also registered for the walk every year, and start training and fundraising as soon as I return home from each walk.
I need you to pass my words on to others, EVERYONE you know-- that can help support our commitment to all of us.
Most of us are broke, and live paycheck to paycheck. Unfortunately, I had to go to the Food Pantry to make ends meet, I know. I was off work for 5 months during chemotherapy and radiation treatments. But somehow we find that money to donate to the groups that touch our hearts, the hurricanes, BoysTown, the Paralyzed Veterans, the Children's Network, Easter Seals, etc. We just find the money. It's just a couple dollars here and there. People helping people. That's what this is all about. That's what life is all about.
All donations are fully tax deductible- would you PLEASE consider making a donation? No donation is too large or small- all amounts are so welcomed!! We have 30 days following the walk to keep on raising funds & awareness!! You can write a check, and postdate it for the date you will have a couple extra dollars, and mail it to me at:
KJS 3808 Oak Ave McHenry, IL 60050
Or you can go online to http://tinyurl.com/L8JGT , click on Donate Online, and designate the amount that's right for you. I am hitting the ground 'til a cure is found!!
I am still praying to find a corporate or business sponsor to adopt me to finance this walk. I will wear their T Shirts, hats, heck, even a mascot costume to advertise for them and spread the word about Breast Cancer. The media will be all over this event, and your support will be advertised and be so appreciated!! Please contact me right away with any ideas.
I will wear pink ribbons every day in memory of YOUR loved ones that are fighting this battle, or those that lost the fight. This is all about ALL of us. Every step of the way this will make a difference in the future for our families. I have 31 names allready & welcome more BC angels to take the walk with me!! Email me with their names!!!
The biggest motivator I have now is the genetic predisposition my daughter and future grandchildren have to develop this horrible disease in their lifetimes. This breaks my heart in tiny little shattered pieces.
Her braveness has been inspirational- I'll never forget the night my hair was falling out in chunks, I was sobbing like a baby- she said "Oh, Mommy, Bald is Beautiful!!" I wanted to wash my hair one more time, what was left of it, but it got all matted and knotted, and my son Brandon had to cut out the knots with tears in his eyes. Breast cancer is not pretty, it has been a long road at the Schwab household.
Take a look at the photos in the photo section, I was wearing a wig for my son's military ball at West Point. Two weeks later, I found out why it was so uncomfortable, and awkward. I was wearing it upside down!!!!!!!!!!! I still have my humor!!
PLEASE keep in mind how far I'm walking- and how hard I have to train to even be able to do this. It's not easy for me, in fact I know I have gone crazy now!!
I hope you will share this incredible adventure with me- by supporting me. I am going to do something bold about breast cancer, that's why I am walking so far. Please stretch to help this magnificent event help more people battle this monster.
I thank you for reading my page and thank you in advance for your generosity!! I thank all those that have supported me, my co-workers, family, friends, and especially the incredible angel strangers that overwhelmed me with love and support without ever even meeting me!!! God is good!!
All My Best,
With Love, Hugs and Angels!!
3808 Oak Ave
McHenry, IL 60050
P.S. Your employer may be able to make a donation - PLEASE beg your Boss or Human Resources department and ask about your company policy. It only takes a phone call!! Iím walking for their families too, and chances are they have allready lost someone to this killer.
If you know someone in particular, that you feel would help me, please email me right away, or call to let me know and I will contact them personally. :-) I will do WHATEVER it takes to help spare another human from the ordeal I am facing at this time in my life.
May God Bless Each and Every one of You!!