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Tuesday, Sep 19, 2017
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60-mile walk brought blisters, breast cancer awareness

ST. PETERSBURG - Shari Olsen's fight against breast cancer moved her to participate with family and friends in the 60-mile Susan G. Komen Walk for the Cure that was held over three days in the Tampa Bay area. The fundraiser ended Sunday after hundreds of participants arrived at Spa Beach Park in St. Petersburg to pumped up music and people cheering, hugging and giving high fives. "Today it was something that meant a lot for me," said Olsen, 47, of Largo. Olsen, who was pushed on a wheelchair by her team, hopes her battle with cancer can motivate others to persevere.
"I hope I leave some legacy behind," Olsen said. "This is what it's all about: just make the best of things, keep positive, have courage and strength. "Sure there are bad days but it makes you appreciate the good days that much more," she said. Some participants said they haven't had cancer, but they wanted to help others and help raise money for research. Twenty-five years ago Gaynell Hubbs said mother died from cancer. She journeyed the distance in her honor and to honor other women who have been afflicted with cancer, she said. "I just walked 60 miles to help other women to say we can have the courage and we can do this," said Hubbs of South Carolina. "It takes a good attitude to walk 60 miles." Hubbs said the three days were hectic. She ended the walk exhausted and with blisters on her feet. But it was worth it. She was inspired by other participants, she said. "The brave ones are the cancer patients and families," said Hubbs, who raised a total of $8,000 with her team. "And the courageous ones are the survivors who are out here walking." The event kicked off Friday morning at Sand Key. Hundreds of walkers participated in the three-day trek. The teams had to raise a minimum of $2,300 to participate. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Pink ribbons and the color pink have become symbols for cancer awareness.

Reporter Jos Patio Girona can be reached at (813) 259-7659 or jpatino@tampatrib.com.

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