Sue McKinney hasn’t always been able to walk three miles a day.
But after surviving cancer and becoming inspired to dedicate herself to the survival of others, she can now walk more than 10 miles a day.
McKinney, 60, was diagnosed with cancer four years ago. She has since decided to use her newfound health to help other women who have gone through the same struggle. She will walk a total of 60 miles from Sept. 24 to Sept. 26 in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk for the Cure in Seattle.
McKinney said a friend’s daughter died of brain cancer. She watched him train for a bike ride for the fight against cancer and his inspiration made her want to give back, as well.
“Someone walked for me,” McKinney said. “And if my friend could do it, then so could I.”
So far, the Greenbank resident has walked more than 400 miles in preparation for the three-day walk.
The determined donor walks an average of 10 miles per day, based on a training schedule she’s been following.
“It was hard at first, but I kept on going, and found out that I would be fine,” McKinney said.
“A few years ago I didn’t think it would’ve been possible, but I’m feeling better now since I’m cancer-free.”
Each walker has to raise $2,300, she said, which provides enough money for research. The progress in the past 20 years funded by the walk has made researchers confident that they can find a cure in the next 10 years.
“It’s a big deal to get rid of cancer,” McKinney said. “I would like it to be cured before my daughter turns 50.”
She said that if she doesn’t raise the entire $2,300, she won’t be allowed to walk.
“I would be so sad if I didn’t get enough donations,” she said, “I’ve worked so hard to do this.”
McKinney’s family is very supportive, including her husband who walks with her sometimes, and her son who rides his bike alongside her. Also, other family members have sent her donations so she can walk.
McKinney changes her route every day to prepare for whatever the walk has in store for her, she said. Walkers are encouraged to hike different surfaces and terrain, as well as on both hills and flat ground. She tries to stay on bus routes just in case she has an emergency.
One thing she tries to focus on is the amazing amount of advances the fund has made. It was started by a woman who had a sister who died of breast cancer, and was driven to do something about it.
It is important to McKinney to do this walk, because she wants to reinforce the fact that she is alive and well due in part to the good graces of the women who walk for the cause every year.
“Someone did it for me, someone walked for me,” she said, “and
I am sure that I’m only here today because of that.”
McKinney asks for donations and for people to send as much as they can, as the money goes straight to cancer research. She also added that she is only halfway to her goal of $2,300 and has less than two weeks to raise the rest.
Those interested in donating can click here and search for Sue McKinney and click on “Donate to Susan 2010,” or call her at 206-227-2149.