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Woman walks 40 miles for breast cancer awareness

By JJ VELASQUEZ
April 28, 2010 at 8:04 p.m.
Updated April 27, 2010 at 11:28 p.m.

From left: Lynette Cunningham, Marilyn Giessel and Shelley Gasch at the finish line April 11 at the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Houston.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: The American Cancer Society Relay for Life

WHERE: Coleto Creek Reservoir and Park, 365 Coleto Park Road, Victoria

WHEN: 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., Friday to Saturday

Lynette Cunningham walked nearly 40 miles in one weekend this month.

The Port Lavaca resident was among more than 1,000 people who walked April 10 and 11 at the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Houston.

She talked of the experience Wednesday as she prepared for another walk for cancer, the Relay for Life, approaches this weekend.

Cunningham first joined the Avon walk in 2008, the year her family member was diagnosed with breast cancer.

A flyer she received in the mail from the Avon walk calling for participants beckoned her.

"The cause speaks for itself," she said.

Without a history of breast cancer in her family, she found the news unexpected and began looking for ways to help.

She joined up for the 2009 walk, a two-day marathon that draws participants from across the country.

After hiring a fitness coach to gear her up for 2010, she felt more prepared after completing this year's walk.

"We were more prepared this year," she said. "We knew what to expect."

Cunningham raised $1,975 to walk. People must raise $1,800 to participate.

The annual walk in Houston raised $2 million this year. The money will go toward helping people get access to mammograms and breast cancer research, according to a news release.

More than $1.4 million of the money raised becomes grant money for six Houston organizations, including the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Baylor College of Medicine's breast care program.

Since learning of her family member's diagnosis, Cunningham has become more involved in the fight against cancer, she said.

She participated in Port Lavaca's Relay for Life earlier this month.

Cunningham urged people to "get involved before it does happen. Statistically, it's not a matter of if, but when."

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