The Chicago version of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day walk promises to be a bittersweet event this year.
The Susan G. Komen Foundation announced in June that it is canceling half of its 3-Day fundraising walks starting next year, including the one in Chicago, citing declining participation. The walks raise money for breast-cancer research and outreach programs.
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The decision disappointed local cancer survivors and supporters who believe in the event, but it hasn't dampened enthusiasm for this year's walk, which takes place Aug. 9-11 in Chicago and several suburbs.
"I was sad to hear about the event being canceled," said Tarina Wimmer, a Mount Prospect resident and a past participant. "It does so much good. I hope they're able to bring it back someday. For now, though, I'd like to see this year's walk be one of the biggest ever."
Wimmer and other members of the Mount Prospect Special Events Commission are asking businesses and residents to show their support for this year's walkers by cheering, holding up signs, even decorating their houses in pink. The walkers will enter Mount Prospect twice on Saturday, Aug. 10 -- in the morning at Golf Road and Route 83, and again in the evening at Euclid Avenue and Route 83.
The community has been very supportive in past years, with people lining the walk's route and police officers directing traffic wearing pink uniform shirts.
Wimmer, who lost her mother and other loved ones to cancer, participated in the walk in 2009. She said the support that people in Mount Prospect showed that year inspired her and other walkers.
"It's especially important on that second day, which can be tough going because you're tired and all your initial adrenaline has died down," she said.
"When I did the walk and entered Mount Prospect with so many people cheering for us, it gave me a huge boost of energy. And I was so proud to say that this is where I live."
The 3-Day will begin with an opening ceremony at 7 a.m. Friday, Aug. 9, at the Northbrook Court Shopping Center, 2171 Northbrook Court. It will end with a closing ceremony at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11, at Soldier Field in Chicago. Both ceremonies are open to the public.
Participants will walk 20 miles each day, and the route will take them through several suburbs as they make their way into the city. Participation figures for this year's walk are not yet available; last year, roughly 1,200 people participated in the Chicago walk.
Krissie Dowd, a cancer survivor from Sugar Grove, will be among this year's walkers.
She signed up for her first 3-Day walk five years ago, when she was 28, having battled a rare form of cancer in her teens. Two months after signing up, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
"I actually did that walk while in treatment," Dowd said.
Today, the 33-year-old Dowd is a five-time survivor of cancer, and she credits the walk with helping her get through those fights.
"Everything the walk does, the money it raises, is wonderful," she said. "But in my personal experience, it was the people I saw along the way, the ones who walked with me, the ones who cheered us on -- that's what healed me."
To learn more about walker-support efforts in Mount Prospect, call Tarina Wimmer at (847) 269-6277, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Susan G. Komen 3-Day has also established several "public cheering stations" in the suburbs; the times and locations are as follows:
• Aug 9, noon-5 p.m., Flick Park, 3600 Glenview Road, Glenview.
• Aug. 10, 8-10:15 a.m., 590 Beau Drive, Des Plaines.
• Aug. 10, 11:15 a.m.-5:15 p.m., Woodland Trails Park, 1500 E. Euclid Ave., Mount Prospect.
For more on the walk, visit its website at the3day.org.