39.3 miles for the boobies!

If you were around when I posted my goals for 2012, you know that one of them was to “find my marathon”. It may sound silly, but what I meant by that was I want to find some sort of activity that excited me and energized me just like running a marathon did for my sister. I’ve tried my hand at long-distance running over the past two years, and never really fell in love with it, but I find the energy and pride of long-distance running to be addictive. So my goal for 2012 is to stop trying to fit myself in other people’s fitness boxes and instead figure out what I can do that makes me sweat and that I love to do.

I have a few plans for the year that’ll hopefully take me down the road to finding my marathon, but the first one on the docket is something I’ve wanted to do for years—a multi-day charity walk. I’ve done charity 5Ks (both walking and running) since college and always loved the idea that not only was I changing lives, but I was also combining it with something to better myself—physical activity. I’m not sure exactly why I never signed up for one of these ultra-marathon walk distances before. Maybe I was afraid of the fundraising requirement (in most of these walks, participants are required to raise $1500-$3000 each before they can walk). Maybe I was afraid of my physical limitations. Maybe I was just afraid of the time involved. But this year, when the registration emails started arriving in my inbox, I decided it was time. So this June, in Chicago, I’ll be walking 39.3 miles for the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade.


I’ll be walking on a team with my two older sisters and we are thrilled to be doing this together (under the name, “The Wright Sisters”, for our collective maiden name). If When we hit our fundraising goals, we will have raised nearly $6000 for cancer research and to provide education and cancer screenings to underprivileged women. Being able to raise that much money thrills to me no end. And I hope we smash that goal out of the water! I’d love for us to hit five digits.

I’m also really excited about the physical challenge. Honestly, when I first signed up, I thought it would be no big deal. Sure, you walk a marathon the first day and a half marathon the second, but I’m a relatively fit and active person, it shouldn’t be a big deal. But then I downloaded the training schedule and realized that for months straight, I’ll be on my feet for hours and hours at a time. My training schedule tops out at 22 miles and that training walk alone will take me seven hours! It’s a whole different kind of training than went into long-distance running.

As far as the part about me finding my marathon? Well I already find myself more dedicated to my training schedule than I’ve ever been to anything else before. Suddenly it’s not just about me being able to compete the 39.3 miles, it’s about crossing that finish line with my sisters and being able to really, truly make a difference.

One thing you may (or may not) know about me is that, like a lot of folks, I’ve been touched very personally by breast cancer. My Mama was diagnosed when I was in elementary school. She made a full recovery and has been cancer free for a while now, but that wasn’t without extreme treatments and lots of hard work and strength on her part and the part of my family. Beyond her, cancer has touched both sides of my family tree. I’ve been told with my extreme family history, it’s important that I start getting yearly mammograms next year.  Breast cancer even got to my friends. I had a very good friend that was diagnosed at 23. 23! She also made a full recovery, but only after a complete dual-mastectomy. Can you imagine what it was like to lose your breasts at 23?

Basically, I hate the stupid, jerky disease and I want to do my part to kick its ass. And that’s where you come it.

I’ll be doing the hard stuff (although, honestly, walking 10 hours a day is nothing compared to the strength it takes to fight breast cancer), but I’m gonna tap into you guys to do something simple—open up your wallets and join me in the fight. I know the economy is tough and every family is watching every dollar, so I’m gonna make this good for you. In the coming months, you’ll find a ton of ways to join the fight. Awesome, amazing, expensive-prize-laden raffles! Virtual bake sales with all of your favorite goodies! It’s gonna be fun. But the simplest and most direct way for your cash to make a difference? Simply head over to our team page and make a donation. For every person that donates to that page, I’ll pin a pink ribbon to my walk t-shirt with your name on it so I can carry you with me every step of the way. I hope that my shirt is so covered in ribbons that I look ridiculous! I don’t care how much you donate. Give a dollar or give hundred, either way, you’ll be represented on walk weekend.

I hope you’ll considering donating a few bucks to the cause (and feel free to spread the donations around between me and my two sisters). This walk means a lot to me and my family! If you aren’t comfortable with donating online, we also can accept check and cash donations, just shoot me an email and we’ll get you set up.

P.S. There has been some drama in the news lately about the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Regardless of which side of the debate you fall on, it’s important to note that the proceeds from this walk (and your donations) are NOT going to the Komen Foundation. The Avon Breast Cancer Crusade and Avon Foundation for Women have no association with Komen. We’d made the decision to walk for Avon before the news stories about Komen came out. More information about exactly how your donations will be used are on the Avon Walk website.

Have you ever done a multi-day charity walk?


  1. Moober says

    Congrats! It’s an awesome goal and a pretty moving experience. Take lots of pictures!

    Hope you can find a training group in your area to hook up with – it helped us to have other people to walk with, and you’re right, it’s a totally different kind of training than training for anything else. In the winter we found a mall that opened early in which to do some of our weekend walks and still keep on our schedule.

    I did the entire first day and stopped a few miles before the end on the second day – something felt weird and floaty in my knee and I was afraid if I pushed it I wouldn’t be able to finish on the third day (which I did, after having them just tape it up). I hope you have an awesome experience!

    • Cassie says

      I will DEFINITELY take lots of pictures. :) The mall walking idea is GENIUS! I have a treadmill, which is fine for 3-5 miles, but anything over 90 minutes on that thing and I’m bored out of my mind. The mall is perfect until the weather warms up.

  2. says

    I have found walking to be just as (if not more) challenging than running on occasion. I think it must work different muscles, because I am always more sore after walking than running.

    Anyway, that looks like it will be a TON of fun. Good luck on fundraising!

  3. says

    It’s a great cause.
    I have a team of friends and family that do the Run for the Cure every year since 2006 when my mom passed away from breast cancer. We’ve raised tens of thousands for the Canadian Breast Cancer foundation.

    • Cassie says

      That is so amazing! I can imagine it’s a fantastic feeling to be able to raise enough to money to actually feel like it makes a dent. I know you do a lot on your own, but if you do decide to donate a bit to my page, I can definitely create an “in memory of” ribbon for your mom and wear it on walk weekend. <3

  4. says

    My mom did the same walk a couple years ago and she loved it! She met a ton of amazing people and got into amazing shape just walking! I know you’ll do great – everyone can walk, right? And as soon as I get my first paycheck, I’ll be sure to donate a couple dollars :)

    • Cassie says

      I love hearing the experiences of other walkers! I’ve heard so many people say that it is just a big awesome love fest. :) And THANK YOU in advance for your future donation.

  5. patti says

    I was just wondering about whether or not this walk was raising funds for the Komen Foundation…glad to hear that it’s not…you go girl!! My mom died from breast cancer over 20 years ago!! Anything we can do to eradicate this dreadful disease is good, in my eyes.

    • Cassie says

      Yeah, I know a lot of folks are very upset with Komen (I’m one of them), so I wanted to make sure it was clear where the moohlah was going. It you’d like to donate, I can put an “In Memory of” ribbon on my shirt for your mom on the walk weekend. That way she’ll be with me every step of the way. <3

  6. says

    Congrats on your decision to do the walk! I did the 3 day walk twice, in 2006 and 2008. It was an amazing experience. I met awesome people both at the walk and during my training walks. The fundraising was tough but I did it twice and for me, asking people for help the hardest thing in my life. It sounds like you have a plan though. One thing I did was donate a bit for myself (to my breast cancer page, not my bank accout) since I was going to donate money to charity anyways. Since the money was ear marked for charity anyhow, I got a writeoff and it was a message to myself that I believed in me! Good luck with the training and fund raising!

    • Cassie says

      Thanks Jenn! We definitely plan on donating some cash to the cause, too. But instead of donating directly to the page, we’re going to fund some amazing items that we can raffle off for even MORE donations (hopefully!). :) I’m so glad to hear it’s a great experience!

  7. Amanda Elliott says

    Thank you for sharing the stories of your mom and friend. My mom was just diagnosed this past Tuesday, and it is the first in our family. The past couple of days have been really hard, and I know we have a difficult battle a head of us. I’ve known a few people who have also had breast cancer and all have made a full recovery, so we are trying to stay in the best of spirits.

    Good luck on the fundraising and I hope you have a great walk!

    • Cassie says

      Hi Amanda: I’m so sorry to hear that breast cancer has hit your family. I’m not going to lie and say that you have an easy road ahead, but I will say that breast cancer isn’t anywhere near the death sentence it used to be. The advances are AMAZING and I hope eventually, you can get to the point where you laugh about it like we do in my family (we like to tease my Mama about how she makes food too spicy because the treatments fried away all of her tastebuds). Let me know if you need ANYTHING. Even just someone to listen. <3

      • Amanda Elliott says

        Thanks Cassie for your kind words. At this point I’m too emotional to even tell my close friends, but hopefully I can get there soon. Luckily I do have my boyfriend to comfort me and my older sister too which is the perfect person to talk to since we are going through it together.

  8. Laurel says

    This is so GREAT! One of those events that is truly good for everyone involved. My aunts and her friends have done the Komen 60-miler for years (before the controversy). They’re sponsored by Hooters and their team is called “Hooters Heroes,” HA. What training program are you using? I’d love to see what kind of time goes into training for something like this.

    • Cassie says

      Now that I’m back on the fitness wagon, I’ll go back to posting my sweats of the week and you can see what kind of time I’m putting in every week. It gets pretty intense later in the spring!

  9. says

    I think this is really great of you (and your sisters) to do, but I have one quibble. It really bothers me when people focus more on “boobs” than on the actual people who have cancer. I bring this up because of the title of your post (although this sentiment appears no where else in your post, which I appreciate). Instead of saying things like “hooray for boobs” or “39.3 miles for the boobies” can we start saying things like, “hooray for breast cancer research” or “I support women and men with breast cancer”? It’s not just a random pair of detached boobs that have cancer, a woman (or man) is attached to those boobs, and they’re the people that need support. Reducing cancer to a (highly sexualized) body part seems sort of unsupportive to me. Let me know what you think!

    • Cassie says

      I totally get what you are saying, but I, for one, love my breasts! Even if they are an individual part of my body. I don’t see it any different from praising my legs when they carried me through a half marathon. Honestly, the title of the post was just a way to grab attention, and my intent was never to separate the body part from the person. That being said, breast cancer does affect the breasts, and one of the more common treatment plans is to remove one or both breasts. While I know the cancer affects the whole person, I can only imagine (and have seen first hand) that the physical loss of your breasts can be one of the most emotionally and physically scarring parts of the whole process. Of course the bigger goal is to save lives and eradicate this disease, but if part of the money I raise goes to treatment breakthroughs that can help reduce the number of mastectomies (and therefore, save some boobies)? I’m all for that, too.

      Thanks for your opinion! It’s definitely an interesting thing to think about.

      • says

        I get what you’re saying about loving your boobs, legs, etc. Totally. But when people talk about raising money for cancer research by using slogans like “save the boobs” they’re generally not talking about themselves, personally. They’re talking about some other pair of random boobs that are not attached to them. And saying “save the boobies” (or whatever) sounds like it’s more important that a pair of boobs are okay rather than a person with cancer is okay. Does that make sense? Obviously breast cancer affects the breast, but that’s a very clinical and disembodying way of looking at it. Breast cancer, and breast cancer treatment affects the person with breast cancer, not just their boobs. When my mom had breast cancer, I didn’t think “I hope we can save her boobs.” I thought, “I hope we can save my mom.” Ahh, I feel like I’m not explaining myself that well! I’ll drop it, sorry. This is obviously my own issue, not yours!

      • Cassie says

        No, I totally get what you are saying! And I definitely understand how a person could see slogans like that in that way. And always ALWAYS the first thought is to save the person and that is our #1 goal with research, but I just personally feel like saving a woman’s breasts can be a goal, too. If we can figure out a way to save people without mastectomies? That’d be awesome in my book!

        Side note: I also think slogans like “Save the Tatas” and “Save the Boobies” make the whole cause more approachable, which is never a bad thing when you are trying to raise money and awareness.

        But I definitely understand where you are coming from, and I’m sorry if it came across like I don’t think whole person first, because I definitely do. Saving the life is paramount.

  10. says

    You’re awesome Cassie! I look forward to reading about your training. I walked the Monumental Half Marathon back in November and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I’m sure you’ll be like me and take your training schedule very seriously. It takes a huge commitment to train to WALK a half or full (or both) marathon. The time commitment is serious stuff since you’re walking and not running, but it’s essential to having a successful race.

  11. Tori says

    Hi! Just found your site from Pinterest (pb coconut energy balls!) and happened to see this post. I did the Avon Walk twice in Chicago (2008 and 2010). Its the most amazing experience! Hook up with a local training group if you can, train lots, and ENJOY the walk! Its such an emotional amazing accomplishment when its all said and done!!! Great blog, great recipes, I’ll be back for more :)

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