Congratulations to Denise Love and Jacqueline Johnson, residents of Central Parke at Victoria Falls active adult community, for completing the Philadelphia 3-day Susan G. Komen breast cancer walk in Philadelphia. The 60-mile walk took place Oct. 14 -16 and proceeds go toward Komen's programs and community outreach.
Both women originally came to our area from New York. Jacqueline has lived in our community for six years, and Denise for 10 years. Their self-paced training was six months of walking trails in various Maryland locations. The routine included rising at 6 a.m. to walk trails from Bethesda to Georgetown as well as the BWI trail. Denise says that this experience opened her eyes to the lovely areas in and around us that we don't usually take the time to visit.
Denise and Jacqueline had several reasons to participate in this fundraising event. Jacqueline has a family member who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, while Denise has several friends who have survived the disease and one who has passed away.
The event itself covered different terrains and neighborhoods in and around Philadelphia, and raised $2.1 million through the efforts of the 750 walkers and 275 crew members. Several Victoria Falls residents gave their support via donations in Denise and Jacqueline's names.
They have fond memories of the crowds along the way who offered support and encouragement to the walkers. Schools were in session for some of the time, and students, including cheerleading squads, lined the route. Homes and yards were decorated. Water, food and candy were available at rest stops, and participants received other tokens from the crowd. Many of the younger students had written personal messages on index cards with such sentiments as "You can do it!" and "Great job!"
Both Jacqueline and Denise were impressed by the camaraderie which developed among the walkers. There was not competition to "come in first." Rather, when the last walker of the day entered the dining area where the others were, the group formed a welcoming circle around the person, and he or she was given the ceremonial flag to raise.
This was the first walk for Denise, and she is hoping to participate in one in San Diego, her husband's home town. Jacqueline has participated twice, and may go on to try different challenges. Denise sums up the theme of the walk as "Commitment, Cause and Community."
Kudos to our South Laurel/Montpelier neighbors for not imposing limits on themselves and other senior citizens.