‘Paying it forward’ with a 60-mile walk of hope
A Bermudian who set her sights on walking 60 miles for cancer research joined thousands for the Susan G Komen three-day walk in Philadelphia.
Shari-Lynn Pringle joined countless participants who raised the minimum $2,300 entry requirement for the walk that started on Friday and finished on Sunday.
She set out last Wednesday for the event with just over $4,000 raised with the help of family and friends.
Diagnosed with gestational diabetes when she was pregnant with her daughter 22-years ago, Ms Pringle has been battling diabetes ever since.
Through diet and steady exercise in an ongoing bid to get off of insulin one day, she decided to do a long walk before she turns 50 on October 15.
Under the theme of ‘60 miles, Three Days, One Cure,' the three-day annual fundraiser for Susan G Komen has a special appeal.
It came with a 24-week training programme that has helped the charitable organisation pump nearly $1.5 billion into breast cancer research, education health services and other support programmes since its inception in 1982.
After walking the final leg of 60-miles Ms Pringle said it feels “wonderful” to reach another personal goal.
“The event was well organised and I met lots of people, especially cancer survivors who had done the three-day walk multiple times,” she said.
Still in Philadelphia for a bit of rest and relaxation, she said she was particularly moved by the opening and closing ceremonies.
“The ceremonies were very touching and made me realise how very blessed I am to not be included in the breast cancer statistics.
“The weather was unseasonably hot but the three routes chosen were great and we got a glimpse of Philadelphia along the way,” she said.
“The second day was the hardest as the route was over 22 miles and many were feeling their blows from the first day of over 21 miles.
“The last day was easiest and the anticipation of finishing pushed you on hurt feet, sore muscles and all.
“I feel wonderful with no blisters and honoured to have represented Breast In Bermuda (team name).”
While not personally affected by cancer, she recalled the early demise of her grandmother who was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“Before she could do any of this treatment that's available today she succumbed to it,” said Ms Pringle.
“That was years ago, she had it in a time when treatment by today's standards was not available.
“I've had a co-worker who had breast cancer but I personally have not been affected. But because my grandmother had it I've been getting mammograms every year since I was in my early 30s. “I go 50 in just over a week and this is something I wanted to do before I turn 50.”
As an avid walker she walks every other day to lose weight.
“I've lost 30 pounds probably since March, I walk just about every other day for five miles in about 90 minutes.
“I would encourage anybody to get up off the sofa and walk for at least 30 minutes whether they have diabetes or not,” she added.
“For me, I always find that natural resources work best. You just put your sneakers on and walk — this Island is beautiful.”
She admitted there were times when she didn't think she would reach her fundraising goal.
“I didn't think I could raise all the money. I don't remember how much I raised for the End-to-End, but the goal I set, I didn't make it and it was low. And this year marked my third End-to-End in Bermuda.
“I owe a big thanks to everyone who helped me. Not only did they help me to take the first step, but they motivated me to keep going.
“Some people can give back a lot because they have a lot of resources. I don't have a lot of resources, I have a child in college and every penny is accounted for.
“But I still want to give back and so by raising the funds I actually exceeded my goals. At last check I raised $4,020 for research and that's why I contributed to this cause because a lot of Bermudians benefit from that research when they receive treatment abroad.
“This is just a way of paying it forward because you never know what could happen in life,” she said.
Now that her mission has been accomplished she called on fellow Bermudians to “stop poisoning yourselves with sugar and sodas”.
“Everything that you think is healthy for you make sure you look at those labels,” said Ms Pringle.
“Look at the contents, the sugar in particular, and stop giving it to your children because children who become obese often become adults who have diabetes and other life threatening diseases.”