North Beach woman is poised for trek to fight breast cancer

Walk: She'll be among about 4,000 walkers scheduled to begin a three-day, 60-mile march from Frederick to Washington today.

May 05, 2000|By Amy Oakes | Amy Oakes,SUN STAFF

For three days, 60 miles and a few breaks in between, Lynne Pachico will be walking with a purpose.

The South County woman, along with about 4,000 others, was scheduled to began a trek today from Frederick to Washington to raise money and awareness for breast cancer prevention.

They will walk for 20 miles each day, sharing stories of friends and family who have been lost to breast cancer and who have survived it. Pachico, of North Beach, will tell the story of her younger sister, who recently completed treatment after her condition was diagnosed last year during a routine mammogram.

"This is something tangible I can do for her," said Pachico, who has raised more than $5,500.

The walk, known as the Avon Breast Cancer 3-Day, is the first of seven this year taking place in various cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston. Participants -- the total is limited to 4,000 for safety reasons -- must raise at least $1,800 each to qualify.

Since its start in Los Angeles in 1998, more than 12,000 walkers have participated in five events, raising more than $20 million, said Juliet Openlander, an event spokeswoman. The money goes toward medical research, support programs and prevention services.

The amount raised by the Frederick-to-Washington march was unavailable yesterday, but officials said 90,000 donated.

Katie Berry of Annapolis has raised more than $3,700 for the walk. The retired nurse said she is doing this in honor of her stepdaughter, who learned four years ago that she had breast cancer and is living in North Carolina.

"My first thoughts are about her," Berry said. "This cause is well worth the effort."

Berry, 67, said she has been training since November, recording about 720 miles of "practice walking."

Pachico, 51, started walking in her neighborhood in late February, going through three pairs of sneakers and learning -- painfully -- the value of stretching. And, she's stocked up on pain pills because of her bad right knee.

"I thought [stretching] was a total joke until after a 12-mile walk, I couldn't move," Pachico said.

A co-worker of Pachico's at the Calvert County School District office helped solicit donations after seeing a poster in Pachico's office. The poster featured a picture of Pachico with her sisters and included their story.

Pam Enrico, a writing specialist for the district, said she made fliers of the poster and handed them out. Donations came from maintenance workers to administrators.

"Just about everyone knows somebody who has been affected by breast cancer," Enrico said. "I think the flier made it just about everywhere."

The sisters' story on the flier was a familiar tale of breast cancer survivors and victims.

The younger sister, Denise Cronin, 42, received her diagnosis a day before Pachico's second marriage last summer. She didn't tell anyone until after Pachico returned from her honeymoon in New Hampshire.

"She didn't want to impact the family at all," Pachico said.

Pachico accompanied her sister, who lives in Silver Spring, to doctor visits, helped her research treatments and relayed information to other family members. Cronin has finished her radiation treatment.

Pachico said she read about the walk in a local newspaper and was persuaded by her husband to take part. She didn't want to ask people for money, so she made the small poster and put it in her office.

On the walk, Pachico will wear a vest she made that's covered with 130 purple tags -- for each donor with pink hearts attached honoring breast cancer survivors and victims. There are 180 hearts.

Cronin will be at the closing ceremonies Sunday at the Mall in Washington. Her daughters -- a 10-year-old and 8-year-old triplets -- will join Pachico, their aunt, for one mile of the trek tomorrow.

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