Rebecca and her best friend Elayne walked their first Breast Cancer 3-Day in 2000, one year before Elayne received her breast cancer diagnosis. Twenty years later, Rebecca is celebrating her 60th birthday by walking 60 miles in honor of Elayne’s life. She shares with us Elayne’s story and what she has taken away since her friend’s passing.
How did you first become involved in the 3-Day?
Twenty-one years ago, my dear friend Elayne and I decided to walk 60 miles over three days and raise money for research to cure breast cancer. That was our first year as part of the 3-Day family. We were training partners, tentmates, and each other’s cheerleader as we prepared and walked in Washington, D.C. on a sweltering 108-degree day in May of 2000. Elayne was amazing — crossing that finish line looking like she could do another 60 miles while I really struggled with the heat. Elayne inspired me, and I crossed the finish line with her.
Why are you walking this year?
I was trying to decide how I’d like to celebrate my 60th birthday this November 21st. the idea of walking with my husband by my side and my adult children there to celebrate with us, crossing the finish line after walking 60 miles on my 60th birthday in San Diego (where I was born) definitely spoke to me. I expect I will feel Elayne’s support the entire way! I’ve walked only once before, and I’m excited to walk again this year and as many years in the future as I can.
Can you share Elayne’s story with us?
It was within just one short year of walking with Elayne in the Breast Cancer 3-Day that she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She spent the next twenty years bravely fighting and winning round after round, all the while earning another master’s degree. She was so passionately dedicated to her new career in nursing and public health. Cancer did not define her, but her positive attitude and living life to the fullest did. Sadly, Elayne passed away earlier this year in May. Her family and so many friends joined to celebrate her life, and now I am coming full circle to honor her memory and raise money to support this most important cause of ending breast cancer.
How do you honor Elayne during the 3-Day?
Walking was significant in Elayne’s life! A five-mile loop around a lake near her house was where many friendships were nurtured and how lasting connections were made between Elayne and her family and closest friends. Simply walking honors my friendship with Elayne. Doing my part to raise money for research to cure cancer is how I honor her incredible life.
If you could share a message with the Pink Bubble, what would it be?
Live every day to the fullest;
, that’s what Elayne did. Be grateful for every single day, for it is a gift.
The significance of walking 60 miles for her 60th birthday is a special way to honor Elayne and live each day to the fullest. We will be celebrating Rebecca and all of those we walk for at the Susan G. Komen San Diego 3-Day!