Sunday, August 23, 2009

Talk To Me Tuesday (Karen Shoemaker)

Okay guys - I'm in a different state, enjoying the last days of summer - but since I love you so much (and the 3-Day) I will post another walker interview! Up to bat is Karen Shoemaker, a two time Tampa walker. She will walk in Tampa for a third time at the end of October.

Karen at the 2008 3-Day

Q1: What is your connection to Breast Cancer?

Karen says:
I originally started walking for my aunt, who, at the time, was a 5 year survivor. Unfortunately, her cancer spread to her bones and brain this past June and she passed away on July 4. The day after I signed up to do the 2007 event, my other aunt was diagnosed. She is now a 2-year survivor!

Karen's team wore "Super K" flags to honor a team mate

Q2: Can you describe some of your 3-Day experiences for us?

Karen says:
My first 3-Day experience was not at all what I expected. I had pored through all of the information I could find on it, and it's something that just can't be adequately described by reading about it. Our first night was stormy so we were relocated to a parking garage, but the rest of the event went off without a hitch. I came away with some pretty sore feet but nothing too bad.

The second year was WONDERFUL. I was asked to carry the flag honoring my aunt in the ceremonies and again was in awe. By the second year, I knew a lot of people and it was nice to reconnect with them. The energy on event is fantastic and I love the feeling of accomplishment that each person who participates in the event, whether walker or crew, comes away with. My most poignant memory is from 2007, where this bald little lady in a wheelchair with an oxygen tank was sitting by the side of the road with a simple sign saying, "Thank You". It still makes me tear up thinking about it. The BEST parts are the cheering stations and I hadn't realized that the first year- they are so helpful in getting you a bit further than you thought you could go.

Karen (front row, second from right) and her team at the finish line!

Q3: Why do you keep coming back to do walk?

Karen says:
I love the energy and excitement, I love the kindness that is shown to others, and I love the fact that I feel like I'm making a difference.

Q4: What have you learned from your experience on the walk?

Karen says:
I've learned that I CAN use a port-a-potty! The most important thing that I have learned, after coming into this a bit skeptical about raising the money, is how KIND people can be, and how generous they are after they find out what you are doing.

Q5: What advice do you have for new walkers?

Karen says:
Enjoy every step! This event has the potential to change your life. Not just the event itself but the training, the fundraising, bonding with your team and finding new friends. It is just amazing.

Thank you so much, Karen, for sharing your insight with us. We wish you the best of luck in your training and on your walk!

Now, we have to say...
Good luck, Denver!
And good luck to LeAnne, Shannon, and Sandy!

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