Guest Guru: Jodie Schroeder – Breast Cancer Blog Post

Breast Cancer Blog Post

By Jodie Schroeder (photo is Jodie and her children – Jake and Sydney)

My name is Jodie. The day before my 40th birthday in August, I hiked with a group of friends. During a rest stop, a friend mentioned that our hike was good training for the three-day Breast Cancer Walk in November. At that moment we all decided to join her on the journey.

Each of us realized that we all have a personal connection to breast cancer through loved ones. As mothers we talked about research that could affect our daughters in the future. These realizations were the first step of our journey together.

The Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Walk in San Diego is a three-day challenge. It includes three twenty-mile days in a row, totaling sixty miles on a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. 3000 walkers will participate. Most are women. People walk for various reasons. Most walkers have a personal connection to breast cancer. Some walkers are survivors. Others have supported a loved one through their illness.

There are three components to my upcoming walk: fundraising, training, and travel. Each requires a different skill-set. All demand a high level of organization.

Once we decided to walk, I had to register with the Susan G Komen website and start to raise the required $2300 to participate. It is not easy to ask anyone for money – especially friends and family. Knowing that every dollar raised was going to fund research and provide care for those with breast cancer has made the process much easier. The Komen website also helped by providing sample letters, follow up organizational charts and all kinds of inspirational thoughts. My 8 and 9-year-old children also wanted to help: each opened up their piggy banks and dug out handfuls of hard earned allowance and asked me to put it into toward the walk. The pride swelled in my heart when they did that. Again, another reason I knew that I was doing something important.

Training has been physically demanding and time-consuming. My body will log many miles over the coming weeks and I have already set aside much time for the long training walks. There is also a fair amount of gear that must be organized. A successful walk requires two pairs of alternating sneakers ½ size larger than I normally wear, a camelback for water with space for storage, proper socks and the list goes on and on. The training walks last for hours and are sometimes eighteen miles. I have felt selfish as I set out on walks, but then I come back to the reason why I signed up to do this, and I march on. Our group of women has become closer as we train together. Somehow, we never run out of things to talk about.

Preparing for the trip to San Diego and sleeping in a tent is a challenge on its own. We will travel to San Diego via train. This means that we have luggage and not the entire cargo area of an SUV, i.e. there is a limit on what we are able to bring.

I will pack each day’s clothes in a separate ziplock bag. We will wake up before six a.m. daily, and I don’t want to think about my wardrobe. There are also travel items that I usually do not pack such as a headlamp to use in a portapotty when it is dark, or long-johns to sleep in. It is also important to pack comfortable shoes such as Ugg’s to wear at the campsite to baby my feet at the end of the day. Thankfully we have access to a talented graphic designer who is creating fabulous t-shirts for the team.

The final piece that I have to work on is how the rest of my family will be involved. My husband, children, and parents plan to travel to San Diego on the Saturday of the walk. They will walk with us for a few miles. They will then park along the route and hand out Power Bars to walkers. The kids cannot wait to cheer everybody on.

The three-day walk has become a bonding experience and a commitment for my group of friends and family. When we started on my Birthday hike, I had no idea that it would unfold into a fundraising effort, hundreds of miles of training, and a lot of organizing. 

Your help in fighting Breast Cancer will be greatly appreciated – by future generations of women, by breast cancer survivors, and the families of those who have died from Breast Cancer. If you would like to learn more about the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Walk in San Diego, please go HERE. If you are interested in donating to the walk, or helping Jodie’s team reach their goal, go HERE. If you want to help by signing up to do the walk or volunteering to work the event, please go HERE.