I've never met Amanda Hichkad. I don't know much about her, but what I do know is so inspiring, her story needs to be shared where it can.

I've seen her name popping up lately in many places. She's the name and face of the Amanda Hichkad CCA Celebration Walk coming up this weekend at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen. It benefits the Chesapeake Cancer Alliance and the Cancer LifeNet program at the Patricia D. and M. Scot Kaufman Cancer Center at University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air.

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The walk is Saturday, May 17, with the opening ceremony, warm-up and walk starting at 8 a.m. Event registration starts at 7:30 a.m.; registration is $25 and children younger than 12 are free.

T-shirts will be awarded to walkers who meet or exceed the $50 fundraising challenge.

Anyone not registered can just show up Saturday morning and join the walk. For information or support, contact 443-643-3987 or ufoundation@uchs.org.

The walk is designed to honor and remember family, friends and neighbors in their fights against cancer.

After she finished her treatment of cervical cancer several years ago, Amanda challenged herself to run two marathons and raise money for the Chesapeake Cancer Alliance. She raised $5,000.

She was in remission, but 18 months to two years ago she began having lower back pain. Doctors told her the cancer had come back and it had metastasized.

"Being a Chesapeake Cancer Alliance member and her dedication to CCA and its mission, we are honored to name the race in her honor," Sandy Guzewich, president of CCA, said. "She really wants to leave a legacy to her three sons and thought this would be the best way to do it."

Amanda's boys are 11, 9 and 6.

As word of Amanda's story and the walk spread, the community has been rallying around her and the goal is creeping higher and higher.

As of Monday, 57 teams and more than 500 people had signed up for the walk, which is four laps around the infield of Ripken Stadium. Amanda intends to be at the walk, sitting near first base greeting the walkers as they pass.

Organizers initially hoped to raise $15,000. But the community has been so generous, Guzewich said, the goal has been upped to $75,000, which the Chesapeake Cancer Alliance will donate to Cancer LifeNet programs at the Kaufman Cancer Center to serve cancer patients and their families.

"People have just responded so positively," Guzewich said. "It's her. She is a phenomenal lady. She is inspirational. She is courageous. She's lived in the Bel Air area for about eight years, and she has just made such an indelible impression on so many people with her enthusiasm."

Case in point: On a recent Friday night, Broom's Bloom owner Kate Dallam donated a portion of the night's sales to the CCA. At the end of the night, not only did she write a check from ice cream sales, but also a second check for $200 "from the cows," because the cows were having a good year.

That type of thing is happening all the time, Guzewich said.

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When Amanda is asked how she gets through each day, her response is "faith, grace, strength," and she repeats that to herself over and over again," Guzewich said. "When you talk to her, that is what she is. She's inspirational, there's no one like her."

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