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Tampa Bay Breast Cancer 3-Day draws 1,500 walkers

Sandy Broadstone, 44, of Tampa organizes her belongings Saturday night after she and hundreds of others completed the second day of the Breast Cancer 3-Day walk to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer.

LARA CERRI | Times

Sandy Broadstone, 44, of Tampa organizes her belongings Saturday night after she and hundreds of others completed the second day of the Breast Cancer 3-Day walk to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer.

ST. PETERSBURG

Diana Rishell was prepared for the blisters, the soreness and the pain that comes from walking 20 miles a day.

The 54-year-old, who lives in Trinity, regularly exercises and runs about three times a week.

What she didn't count on at this weekend's Tampa Bay Breast Cancer 3-Day was the tents — or rather, the size of them. "It's getting dressed in a tent," she joked. "I wish they were a little taller."

This is the fourth year Rishell has participated in the event. No one in her family has breast cancer, but that doesn't stop her from supporting the cause.

"It's a very emotional event," she said Saturday. "I guess you don't realize how many people are affected by breast cancer until you do one of these."

Fifteen hundred people walked during the annual event, which is in its fifth year in Tampa Bay. This year's route took participants on a 60-mile journey from Clearwater's Sand Key to downtown St. Petersburg's Spa Beach Park, where today's closing ceremony will take place at 4:30 p.m.

On Saturday, after 41 miles, the group settled in at an overnight campsite in a park. Hundreds of pink tents dotted the landscape as participants and their supporters milled around a makeshift city, which featured everything from an on-site medical tent to an Internet cafe.

This year's walkers came from all over the state and country. Everyone had a story.

Carolyn Ford, a college professor from Charlotte, N.C., walked for her mother, who died 14 years ago from breast cancer.

Team "Parr for the Course" — made up of women from Ocala, Port St. Lucie and The Villages — walked for a co-worker who died of the disease in May.

"She's the fuel for our feet," said Maureen Horridge, 56.

Bambi Burgess, 35, of Sarasota was new to the walk. Her mother-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer in April.

"I think a lot of people are intimidated by it," she said. "But it's rewarding just being here."

Each participant raised at least $2,300 for the cause. They'll find out today how much the Tampa Bay event brought in.

The funds go to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation and the National Philanthropic Trust Breast Cancer Fund.

"It's been hard, but we've had a good time," said Dianna Boos, of "Viva Las Chicas," a Tampa Bay team that raised about $120,000. "We're trying to make sure more people are survivors."

Tampa Bay Breast Cancer 3-Day draws 1,500 walkers 10/31/09 [Last modified: Saturday, October 31, 2009 10:14pm]
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