Power of pink

MARSHALL – There was a little something for everyone set up at the Marshall Area YMCA’s community room on Saturday. Displays of merchandise ranging from cosmetics, jewelry and apparel to Tastefully Simple products were set up around the room, while volunteers in the kitchen were serving up pork sandwich lunches.

However, most of the people at the event said they were there for more than just shopping – it was about supporting friends and loved ones.

“It’s for a good cause,” said Rita Fleahman and Carol Wersal, as they checked out items in a silent auction.

The Pink Sneakers Extravaganza was a fundraiser event to help 10 area residents participate in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk event later this year. All the money raised Saturday will ultimately go to help support breast cancer research and support programs.

“It’s a good crowd,” Pink Sneakers team captain Cris Gilb said of the response to the event. “We were happy with the number of vendors. We were prepared to have about five or six vendors, but we’re very happy with 14 we hope a lot of people come.”

Gilb and the members of the Pink Sneakers walking team are getting ready to set off on a trek through Minnesota starting on Aug. 22. The walk will cover 60 miles in three days, Gilb said. To participate in the walk, the Pink Sneakers team needs to raise $2,300 per team member, for a total of $23,000. And in order to help reach that goal, the team organized the vendor fair and silent auction.

Seventy-five percent of the proceeds from the 3-Day Walk go toward the Susan G. Komen Research and Training Grant Program and public health outreach for breast cancer patients, while the remaining 25 percent goes to local support and research programs.

Gilb, a Marshall resident, said forming an area team for the 3-Day Walk was something that grew out of her own and many other people’s experiences fighting cancer.

“I’m a breast cancer survivor,” Gilb said, and she first learned about the 3-Day Walk five years ago, when she was undergoing cancer treatment. At the time, she wasn’t in a condition to go on a 60-mile walk. “But now that I’m healthy, I want to do it,” she said.

Gilb wasn’t alone in her experiences. All her team members have had friends or family members who have faced cancer, or know people who have.

“It’s everywhere you look,” Gilb said. Given the sheer number of women whose lives have been affected by breast cancer in some way, it puts a lot of personal meaning into raising money for a cure.

Gilb said area residents have become more aware of the 3-Day Walk event after the Pink Sneakers group started working to raise money.

“A lot of people are asking questions about the walk,” she said.

In the meantime, Pink Sneakers team members say they’re continuing to raise funds. They’re also preparing for the 3-Day Walk’s physical training period, which runs for 16 weeks before the event starts.