On May 6 and May 7, Allie Witt '18 and Ellie Yeo '18 walked 39 miles in the AVON 39 Walk to End Breast Cancer in Washington, D.C. The event drew more than 1,700 participants from 43 states and Washington, D.C., including 284 breast cancer survivors who walked a total of 39.3 miles over two days.
Allie and Ellie's day began with an inspirational opening ceremony at Union Square Park. They then walked 26.2 miles through the D.C. area, supported by an all-volunteer crew and cheered on by supporters. Allie and Ellie spent Saturday night at Meadowbrook Park. On Sunday, May 7, after completing the final 13.1 miles, Allie and Ellie joined family and friends at Nationals Park to celebrate their achievement at a finish festival.
The Washington, D.C. weekend raised $4 million to accelerate breast cancer research; improve access to screening, diagnosis and treatment; and educate people about breast cancer.
Below is a quick Q&A that The Scene staff had with Allie and Ellie about their incredible achievement:
TS: How did you get interested in doing the Avon Walk?
Allie: My mom has done the walk a few times before and breast cancer has affected many people in my life and I wanted to help the cause.
Ellie: My mom completed the Avon Walk a few years ago, and ever since then I've been interested in doing it as well. Allie actually reached out to me a few months before the walk and asked if I wanted to do it with her, so I said yes. I saw it as the perfect opportunity to join a community dedicated to finding a solution to breast cancer.
TS: How did you prepare for the Walk?
Allie: I went on a few hikes, but I mostly just continued with my normal workouts and running.
Ellie: Honestly, I just went for a few hikes leading up to the walk and considered that my training. This was definitely not a smart plan, however, because my feet were killing me 10 miles into the walk. Allie and I had blisters for days.
TS: What was walking 39 miles like?
Allie: It was a lot harder than I expected! The first day we walked 26 miles and I couldn't wait to sit down after. The second day was only 13 miles and went by a lot quicker because of the thought of the finish line.
Ellie: Walking 39 miles is an incredible experience. At first, it feels like it's never going to end, especially when you're only at mile 9 or 10. After a while, though, you get really into it, and I wanted to keep going forever. It's such a good feeling to pass the next mile marker or see people on the side of the road cheer you on. Once you get past the blisters, it all depends on your mental state, so it was really cool to see how much I was capable of.
TS: What did you like most about the experience?
Allie: The whole experience was amazing. I met so many strong women and men who beat cancer or were battling cancer. It was very inspiring to see all of these people walking together for one common goal.
Ellie: My favorite part about the experience was the sense of community you feel as a walker, especially with the other women on the walk. All around you are other strong women who have dedicated their time and energy to this cause, and it's an amazing feeling to be included in that strength. All the women on the walk built each other up and celebrated one another, which was something I really appreciated. It reminded me of the support and strength I feel when surrounded by other Holton girls.
TS: Do you have any future plans for other charity work?
Allie: I plan to do another walk in the future and to continue raising awareness for breast cancer.
Ellie: I'm planning on completing the walk again next year with my mom, and hopefully for many years to come. I also plan on continuing to work with the Girl Up Campaign, which similarly focuses on the strength of women and girls.
TS: Any final thoughts about your experience with the Avon Walk?
Allie: It was an incredible experience and I am so proud of everyone who participated, just walking 39 miles can make a difference.
Ellie: Only that I strongly recommend the Avon Walk to anyone who wants help in the fight against breast cancer, and simultaneously discover a lot about their strength. Also - it's not just for women! We walked with two of our friends from Landon and there were so many men on the walk who had been participating for several years. It was great to see that unity and collaboration over an important cause.
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