- The Washington Times - Monday, May 6, 2002

More than 4,500 people who trudged through rain and shine on a three-day, 50-plus-mile trek from Baltimore to Washington to fight breast cancer marched proudly down Pennsylvania Avenue yesterday.
They were greeted with laughter and clapping, cheers and tears from thousands of supporters who lined the route, which ended at Woodrow Wilson Square next to the Ronald Reagan Building.
Ellen Fields, 28, traveled from New York to support her parents, Allen and Judy Fields, as they finished the walk.
"I am so proud of them," she said, holding a sign with the same message. "They are walking in honor of an aunt who passed away from breast cancer and another who is in remission."
John LaCoy of Columbia, Md., stood with three pink roses tied with three ribbons, marking the three days of the walk, to give to his wife, Christine, and her two fellow marchers.
"My wife is a nurse and comes across a lot of people with breast cancer," he said. "We have family members that have survived. I trained with her the last few months because I wanted to be there for her and support her in this."
The Avon Breast Cancer 3-Day march, inaugurated in 1998, has raised more than $115 million from marchers around the country. This year, the Baltimore-to-Washington trek raised $6.75 million for breast cancer research and care.
Among the marchers yesterday were about 450 breast cancer survivors.
Joyce Newman, 50, walked from Baltimore to honor her mother, who died in 1987 of breast cancer; herself, as a survivor; and her daughter. "My shirt says it best," she said, straightening it out to be read easily. "In memory of my mother, in celebration of myself and in hopes for my daughter."
Her son, Ami Newman-Paul, 17, cleaned up the camps where the walkers ate and slept along the way. He called the experience rewarding and said he was inspired to participate after watching his mother walk the march last year.
"It was a chance to serve other people and do something meaningful," he said. "I also wanted to get away from my generation who have grown up in peace and prosperity and are pretty selfish and petty the exact opposite of this event."
Mrs. Newman, despite blisters on her feet and fatigue, said she was due at a costume ball early yesterday evening and planned to go as a marcher with her husband dressed as a coach, with a whistle around his neck. And she vowed to march again.
"I will do it every year until there is a cure," she said. "It is not about the walking it is about the spirit."
The self-proclaimed racing blue nun Sister Maria, 77, a breast cancer survivor was also among this year's marchers. She started walking for causes about eight years ago because of a spinal-cord disease. She does anywhere from 15 to 25 walks annually.
"The only way to beat this disease was to walk for other people," she said. "I get all my energy from these kids. Many of these women out here just got out of chemotherapy. There is a lot of courage out here."
Lauren Owens, of Bethesda, was the youngest marcher yesterday she turned 17 a week ago. Wearing a picture of her mother, who died of breast cancer last year at 44, she said the march was a great experience.
"It is amazing to share the stories, to see how many care," she said. "I learned a lot."
And then there were the comeback kids.
In November 2000, Carolynn Johnson turned 37, became pregnant and was diagnosed with breast cancer. One year ago, she couldn't walk across her back yard. But in remission for seven months, the woman from Southwestern Virginia grinned yesterday as she proudly walked the 50th mile.
"I made it," she said.
The walk was physically demanding, she said, but emotionally satisfying.
"You got to hear everyone's stories and put faces to those affected," she said. "And it is so overwhelming that this many people care about someone like me."


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