Friday, November 24, 2017
News Roundup

Three-day breast cancer walk brings families and survivors to St. Petersburg

RECOMMENDED READING


ST. PETERSBURG — After she lost her mother to breast cancer three years ago, Candace Zlotnick decided she wanted to do something big and difficult.

That something became the Susan G. Komen Tampa Bay 3-Day, a 60-mile walk spread over three days that takes participants from Sand Key Park in Clearwater to South Straub Park in St. Petersburg.

The walk ended there Sunday, with more than 1,300 people — wearing pink sneakers, hair ribbons, tutus or T-shirts — passing the finish line to cheers from onlookers and family members.

The walk, which drew people from the Tampa Bay area and some from across the United States, raised $2.5 million, organizers announced at the closing ceremony.

As she and a friend stretched after finishing the walk, Zlotnick, 42, of Tampa pulled a small plastic bag filled with gray powder out of her fanny pack. She had walked 60 miles with a handful of her mother's ashes.

Zlotnick said she planned to drive to Madeira Beach to scatter them, in memory of the days her mother drove her to Clearwater Beach in a convertible.

"I could feel her spirit with me," she said, adding that whatever muscle pain she felt a few hours ago had vanished when she arrived in South Straub Park to a line of cheering people.

Displaying more confidence than the average 16-year-old boy, Brody Westfall crossed the finish line wearing a pink bra over his T-shirt. His father, Mark Westfall, wore a matching outfit.

Brody's mother died from breast cancer when he was 4 and she was 35. For two days during the walk, he carried a flag that read "Mother."

Mark Westfall, who's from Lakeland, said the walk was emotional for them. "We cried, we laughed. … You learn everyone's story along the way," he said.

They also received a fair amount of attention for their pink undergarments. "The kids thought it was hilarious," he said.

Eight black pirate hats lined with pink trim bobbed across the finish line atop the heads of eight friends from Sarasota. Their motto: "Make cancer walk the plank."

Years ago, they met and befriended each other in a spinning class at a Gold's Gym. When three of them were diagnosed with breast cancer, they began walking as a group to raise money. This year they raised $20,000; last year, $40,000.

Throughout the walk, they kept themselves entertained with songs and outpourings of support from friends in the form of ice cream and back massages.

"We're probably the most spoiled team out here," joked Lynne Renfroe.

Ingrid Moertl lives in Columbia, Mo., but flew to the Tampa Bay area for the walk to honor her mother and her niece, both of whom survived breast cancer.

Pinned to the straps of her pink lace bra, which she wore over a T-shirt, were buttons reading: "Viva las chicas," and "I'm taking the girls for a walk."

"I walk in their honor," she said. "I just got back from Iraq in the beginning of the year and I knew that I was retiring from the Army Reserves … so I knew that I wanted to do something more philanthropic than I've done in the past."

Anna M. Phillips can be reached at [email protected] or 727-893-8779.

Comments

Three dead in wrong-way, head-on crash Thursday on I-75 in Gibstonton

Three people in their early 20s died Thursday when a car driving the wrong way on Interstate 75 slammed head-on into another car, killing both drivers and a passenger in the car that was struckThe accident happened about 10:30 p.m. just just south of...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Murky waters: Chartering the wrong boat can have tragic consequences

Murky waters: Chartering the wrong boat can have tragic consequences

Captain Dan Peretz noticed the same charter boats overloaded with passengers again and again. He thought, "This is how people die.’’ So he sent emails to the Coast Guard, sharing his concerns, naming specific boats, including the Jaguar....
Updated: 1 hour ago
Jon Mott wins record fifth Times Turkey Trot 10K

Jon Mott wins record fifth Times Turkey Trot 10K

By BOB PUTNAMCLEARWATER — The Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot has long been a fixture on Jon Mott’s sporting calendar. Not even a 103-degree fever Tuesday could keep him away from the event, in its 39th year. Mott, a record four-time 10k champion, added ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Bucs players, coaches say they cherish getting game balls for special feats

Bucs players, coaches say they cherish getting game balls for special feats

TAMPA — In the jubilant moments after a Bucs win, Dirk Koetter will sometimes ask for a game-used ball from his equipment staff, hold it high in the locker room and present it to the player who was most crucial to the victory.NFL players can ask for ...
Updated: 11 hours ago

 
Updated: 12 hours ago

Updated: 12 hours ago
Woman killed in Largo motorcycle crash could ‘out-game any dude’

Woman killed in Largo motorcycle crash could ‘out-game any dude’

LARGO — Sydney Pender, 27, loved riding her motorcycle, even though she knew the dangers. Three years ago, her friend said, a delivery truck hit her. But she kept riding. On Thanksgiving, it was a crash with a taxi cab that killed her.Pender, a St. P...
Updated: 12 hours ago

Valrico intersection closed after car-sized hole opens in road

VALRICO — A hole the size of a vehicle opened up beneath the intersection of Nature’s Way Boulevard and Elm Grove Lane, Hillsborough officials said.The cause of the depression is unclear, but the intersection was blocked off to traffic.Hillsborough C...
Published: 11/23/17
Days after a high fever, Jon Mott wins his fifth Times Turkey Trot 10K

Days after a high fever, Jon Mott wins his fifth Times Turkey Trot 10K

CLEARWATER — On Tuesday, Jon Mott had a 103-degree fever. That was not enough to keep him from maintaining his dominance Thursday at the 39th Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot.The former Northeast standout added to his record with his fifth title in the ev...
Published: 11/23/17

Update: Mother, toddler hit by car in critical condition at TGH

TAMPA — A mother and one of her two small children who were hit by a car while trying to cross Dale Mabry Highway on Wednesday were still in the hospital on Thanksgiving, according to Tampa General Hospital.Cassandra Marie Spicola, 29, and 18-month-o...
Published: 11/23/17