An estimated 3 million women are living with breast cancer in the U.S. One million of them don't know it yet. This is one of the reasons Rita Zirnheld and Jan Sheffield, both of Danville, will fly to New York City this weekend to participate in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.
Four thousand walkers will gather in New York to walk the two-day marathon, or marathon and a half. Zirnheld and Sheffield plan to make it the whole marathon and a half, walking 26.2 miles on Saturday and 13.1 on Sunday. "Jan may have to drag me," Zirnheld jokes. With cancer survivors also participating in the walk, she adds, "There is no excuse for not doing the whole thing."
All of the walkers will be walking for a friend or family member with breast cancer. Sheffield will be walking for her friend and co-worker, Freear Williams. When the friends first met, Sheffield was going through some difficult times, but says that Williams "jumped right in there with emotional support." When Williams was diagnosed with breast cancer, Sheffield, who had been wanting to participate in the walk for years, knew it was time to do it as she watched her friend face chemotherapy and radiation with "incredible courage." Williams will be joining them in New York to offer her support.