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'Chicks' take flight for breast cancer fight

March 07, 2005|by Marie Gilbert/Staff Writer

HAGERSTOWN - Every three minutes, a woman in the United States is diagnosed with breast cancer. The disease will strike more than 200,000 times this year and claim more than 40,000 lives.

Jenny Stoner wants to make those statistics a thing of the past.

Stoner is a member of the Mason Dixon Chicks, a group of Tri-State area women who will participate this fall in Breast Cancer 3-Day. The event is a 60-mile walk for individuals who want to make a difference in the fight against breast cancer.

Participants will gather for three days to raise money for research, honor lives lost to the disease and celebrate survivors. The event is scheduled for Sept. 23 to 25 in Philadelphia. Net proceeds go to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to fund breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment programs, as well as the National Philanthropic Trust Breast Cancer Fund to provide an endowment for breast cancer initiatives.

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Stoner, of Greencastle, Pa., said she became interested in the fight against breast cancer because her mother is a breast cancer survivor.

"I began looking into volunteer work and ways I could raise money to fight the disease," she said. "I came across information about the 3-Day event and decided this is what I wanted to do."

As Stoner began talking to friends about the Philadelphia event, they, too, wanted to get involved. So the women formed a team, called themselves the Mason Dixon Chicks and set a fund-raising goal of $30,000.

The group held its first major fund-raiser Friday night at the Moose Lodge in Funkstown. About 200 people attended the dinner-dance and silent auction. The auction featured more than 30 items, including NASCAR tickets and gift certificates donated by area businesses.

Team member Leslie Powell of Hagerstown said she decided to become involved in the fight against breast cancer "because I have two daughters and I don't want them to be faced with the possibility of someday having this disease. I want to work now to find a cure."

To prepare themselves for the 60-mile walk this fall, the women soon will begin training by walking along the C&O Canal.

"We'll start small," said Julie Beam of Greencastle, "and eventually work up to 20 miles a day."

The team currently consists of 12 women, but welcomes anyone who is interested in joining the cause. More information is available at the group's Web site: www.masondixonchicks.com.

The next fund-raiser will be a basket bingo scheduled for Sunday, April 10, at Williamsport Red Men Lodge 84. Doors open at 11 a.m.; bingo starts at 1:30 p.m.

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