By Christine Bryant
Karen and Jason Hatfield have seen breast cancer tear through their families, experiencing both heartbreak and triumph over the disease that kills nearly 40,000 women every year.
About 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, and as the parents of young girls, the Hatfields want to do something now so that their children won’t have to experience the same pain many of their family members have endured.
That’s why the Grove City couple is taking a step beyond 5K races they usually participate in each year to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer research. This year, they both have signed up for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day in which they will walk 60 miles during a three-day period.
“My grandmother lost her battle to breast cancer, my mom is an 8-year survivor and my aunt is a 1-year survivor,” Karen said. “So I walk to honor all of them, but I also have two little girls, so I walk in hopes that we can find a cure and my little girls will never have to worry about receiving a breast cancer diagnosis.”
The event is held in seven major U.S. cities, with the Hatfields electing to participate in the Michigan event Aug. 15-17.
“We start day one in Novi, Mich., and travel around that area for two days,” Karen said. “We travel between 17 to 23 miles per day, totaling roughly 60 miles when we are done.”
The third day, the couple will finish in Dearborn, Mich., at the Ford Motor Company Headquarters, where a closing ceremony is scheduled.
Though both have participated in several Komen events, this will be the first 3-Day event for Jason.
“I walk for my mother-in-law, my Aunt Alyce, who is a 1-year survivor, and my grandmother, who lost her battle to breast cancer,” he said. “This disease has rocked both of our families, and this is a way I can help give back.”
To participate, walkers must raise a minimum of $2,300 per person. Last year, participants in the Michigan event raised $1.2 million, Karen said.
Other locations this year are the Twin Cities, Philadelphia, Seattle, Atlanta, Dallas/Fort Worth and San Diego.
Though a 60-mile walk can seem daunting, Karen said most nights, the Hatfields walk as a family.
“There’s also a 24-week training program that involves a lot of walking as well as some cross training,” she said.
To make a donation to help raise the required $2,300 each for Karen and Jason Hatfield, go to the3day.org and click on the pink donate button. Click on “Donate to a Participant” and type in Jason or Karen Hatfield.
“I feel so blessed that I can help to raise money that goes to research and to help people get the care they need,” Karen said.