Why do you walk?

First-timer walkers ready for the challenge

By KATHLEEN EDGECOMB

The reasons people walk in the Terri Brodeur Walk Across Southeastern Connecticut marathon are as varied as the 300 or so walkers who participate every year in the October fundraiser.

They have had cancer or are still fighting the disease. They know someone with cancer. They’re inspired by those who have walked before. They believe in the foundation’s mission of giving 100 percent of fundraiser dollars to breast cancer research.

And for first-time walkers – and there are nearly 60 who have signed up for this year’s 14th annual event taking place Oct. 5, 2019 – the reasons are just as personal and heartfelt.

Joan Galeotti of Chester, a breast cancer survivor, is doing the full marathon to encourage women to get mammograms, raise money for research and to challenge herself.

“No matter what your diagnosis, the road is long and difficult, and I wanted to match that feeling. Walking 26.2 miles will be challenging and scary, but I’ll get through it,” she said. “I really admire everyone who gives up their time and energy for a cause. This year I decided it was time to just do it.”

Prior to her own diagnosis, she said she thought the walk was a great thing and supported friends who had participated. But when her niece was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 37, it spurred her into action. Three years later her niece, now a new mom, is still on her “journey back to normal,” she said, and is still processing all that she’s been through.

“I am walking for a cure as well as to promote early prevention. I think there are still many women out there who are afraid to have a mammogram,” she said. “Walking in such a capacity, with all the sea of pink, may encourage someone, even on the road, to have the courage to go for the test.”

Greg Guay has always supported his friend Pam Watt, a cancer survivor who volunteers with the Brodeur Foundation and raises thousands of dollars every year with her Pink Posse of friends. He always attended her fundraisers and cheered her on the day of the walk.

But this year, Guay, and his 12-year-old daughter, Jane Guay, have signed up to walk for the first time.

Guay, who lives in Farmington, said he was chatting with Watt one day and said maybe this is the year he would join her in the walk instead of just being on the sidelines. Jane Guay, his socially aware seventh-grade daughter, wanted in too. They will be walking the half marathon.

“I want to show commitment, but I also do not want to be walking so much that my legs go numb, since I’m only a kid,” Jane explained on why they are walking the half marathon.

Last year, she participated in a 17-mile Relay for Life with her friends and raised more than $1,000 for the American Cancer Society. She also collected $160 for Hoops for Heart for the American Heart Association.

“I want to help people with cancer,” she said. “We’ve had some cancer on a mom’s side, and some have died because of cancer. I don’t want anyone else to die.”

Greg Guay said he has always admired those who have faced a cancer diagnosis and then go on to do good for others.

“They rally. Now they have defeated cancer in their body and they want to help others” he said. “It’s very inspiring.”

Guay said he is hoping for good weather the day of the walk, but his daughter is indifferent.

“I don’t care about the weather,” she said. “I just want to say that even though this is my first year, I want to make sure that everyone knows that no amount of money you end up with in total, will be too big or too small. I’m excited to get started.”

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