Women Kick Off Fundraising Efforts
By Deanna Allen
Staff Writer, Gwinnett Daily Post
LAWRENCEVILLE – Snellville resident Jennifer Taylor will walk in memory of her mother, grandmother and a friend, while Lisa Granholm of Grayson will lace up her sneakers in memory of her aunt. Lawrenceville resident Catherine Baker will walk to honor her grandmother.
These Gwinnett women are three of five who have formed the Rack Pack, a team of people who have committed to spend three days walking 60 miles toward a cure for the disease that has taken loved ones from many of them.
“It’s amazing how many people I know have been touched by breast cancer in so many ways,” said Taylor, who, along with Granholm and Baker, started the team. “Each of us are walking for different reasons and in memory or in honor of different people.”
Katie Beirne of Suwanee and Leslie Yokeley of Duluth round out the team’s Gwinnett members, all committing to raise at least $2,300 each to participate in the 2009 Atlanta Breast Cancer 3-Day. The event is in October and benefits Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the National Philanthropic Trust.
“I can name seven people I know right off the top of my head who have been afflicted with this horrible disease,” Granholm said. “I have three nieces and I would love for them to never have to have a mammogram. Wouldn’t that be amazing?”
Baker’s grandmother, Edna Bloch, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1981, four years before Baker was born. Bloch underwent two rounds of chemotherapy, which caused her body to shut down and made that form of treatment unusable. That forced her body to fight the disease on its own.
Bloch, who lives in Snellville, will celebrate her 86th birthday in August.
“She is truly a survivor,” Baker said. “Without her courage and fighting strength, I wouldn’t have grown up with a grandmother. It is because she fought the fight and won that I will walk in her honor this upcoming October.”
Of the more than 350 teams registered for the Atlanta 3-Day, the Gwinnett-based Rack Pack is ranked No. 2 based on personal donations – about $7,600 as of Thursday – made even before fundraising has begun. The team is moving toward a total goal of raising $25,000 for the cause through various fundraising efforts, the first of which is planned for Saturday.
The team will hold a “Save 2nd Base” event, including a raffle, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Bethesda Park in Lilburn, coinciding with the park’s opening day activities for the spring baseball season. Rack Pack team members will hand out information on the Breast Cancer 3-Day and accept donations. Raffle items include baseballs signed by Atlanta Braves Jeff Francoeur and Yunel Escobar, a Braves jersey signed by Brian McCann and gift certificates for various products and services.
In case of rain Saturday, the fundraising event, along with opening day activities for the park, will be postponed.