Local woman walking to fight cancer
Steamboat Springs — Kate Herzog doesn’t discriminate between cancers; between losing her best friend to breast cancer, her brother to colon cancer and another friend to melanoma, she has become dedicated to fighting all forms of the deadly disease by walking to raise funds with the hope of finding a cure.
“I felt strange doing a breast cancer walk when my brother had colon cancer,” Herzog said. “Breast cancer gets a lot of focus. They’ve made some strides in finding different causes and cures and things, and my brother’s whole point was he felt very strongly if they find a cure for breast cancer, the others probably aren’t going to be far behind.”
Herzog, a longtime Steamboat Springs resident, is in Chicago this weekend to take part in AVON 39: The walk to end breast cancer. AVON 39 is a series of walks held annually throughout the country, with the objective of raising money to fund breast cancer research.
This will be Herzog’s seventh time participating in the walk, dating back to her first in 2010. Like Herzog, most participants are not serious athletes, but often people who have been impacted in some way by the disease. The walk is a two-day affair, with participants walking a marathon (26.2 miles) the first day and 13.1 miles the second.
“The day of the walk, we are walking for like 10 hours. So it’s a long process,” Herzog said. “It’s a little bit of a therapy weekend; you laugh, you cry, you walk, you get huge blisters. It’s painful, because most of these people aren’t athletes.”
While the AVON 39 walks are focused on breast cancer, Herzog personally walks to find a cure for all types of cancers, considering she has been impacted by so many. She will be walking alongside Oak Creek’s Kelly McElfish and Boulder’s Jennifer Cooper, both longtime friends who have each been impacted by cancer in their own way.
Led by Herzog, the team has raised more than $55,000 since 2010 and had set a goal of $14,000 this year.
Herzog’s greatest inspiration to walk each year — this will be her first time walking in Chicago — is not necessarily her best friend or her brother, but the children they left behind when cancer took their lives. The two had five children between them, all younger than 10.
She walks for them with the hope of saving anyone else from having cancer take what they love.
“It’s hard to ask people for money. It’s uncomfortable sometimes. So, I just kind of have to tell myself, ‘It’s not for me, it’s for other people,’” Herzog said. “We are just going to keep walking until we can’t walk any more or a cure is found.”
To donate or learn more about Herzog’s efforts to fight cancer, visit her page at info.avonfoundation.org/goto/kateherzog.
To reach Austin Colbert, call 970-871-4204, email acolbert@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Austin_Colbert
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