News / 

60 miles, 3 days, 1 inspiring cause

Save Story
Leer en espaƱol

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

The sound was distant at first as it cut through the early Saturday morning quiet in downtown Stone Mountain.

But as it grew louder, Bachman-Turner Overdrive's "Takin' Care of Business," blaring from the stereo on a motorcycle sent to stop traffic, announced the approach of 2,400 walkers on a 60-mile, three-day trek to raise money for breast cancer research.

They were cheered and congratulated by crowds along the way, even though so far they had only walked halfway to Piedmont Park, where closing ceremonies will be held at 5 p.m. today. But by this point they had put in 30.2 miles. Less than 30 to go.

"What goes around comes around. What you give comes back tenfold," Laura Feuer said, explaining why she recruited 100 of her closest friends to walk.

From that philosophy came the name of their group, "the Boomerangs."

"Hey, Laura, I think we should be called the boob-erangs," one of Feuer's friends shouted as she passed her on a sidewalk about a mile from the lunch stop.

"It's been unbelievable," said Feuer, a 49-year-old mother of three. "I'm blessed to have friends and neighbors like this."

Feuer will be among those singled out for having endured the debilitating treatment of cancer, losing her hair and two breasts in the process.

As she walked the second day of the event sponsored by the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, only the scars on the outside of her upper leg pained her, the area where doctors removed muscle and skin to rebuild her breasts last fall.

It started when Feuer ran into a fence chasing down a tennis ball on April 4, 2003. A painful knot popped to the surface on her breast, and by the next day, she learned her supposed tennis injury was actually breast cancer --- stage three cancer and already established in her lymph nodes. "Thank God for tennis," Feuer said.

Feuer got through chemotherapy, radiation, two surgeries and a resistant staph infection she contracted while in the hospital in March for her second operation to rebuild her breasts. "Remission is hell, but it's better than death. What I've learned through this is, when it's over, it's not really over," Feuer said. "I've done everything I can do. I made it a contagious thing."

She and her group raised $320,000 --- or 5 percent --- of the $6.2 million that came in for the Atlanta event, using letters, e-mails and word-of-mouth. "That's pretty darn good," Feuer said.

They are singled out as the largest fund-raisers for Atlanta's walk, one of 12 nationwide.

But talk Saturday afternoon as they walked along together was not about raising money or maudlin discussions of cancer and cancer survivors. It was more like a party.

The women, some of them new friends, some of them old, discussed their kids, the financial problems of the airline industry, recipes, their college days and their disgust with some of the music that attracts their children. And there is the occasional husband joke and a new offering of the "top 10 reasons to be a man at the walk." (No line at the portable toilets.)

The walkers --- mostly women with a smattering of men --- are offered stickers for their badges and arms and bowls of candy.

Linnea Ashley is on Feuer's tennis team and personally raised $6,300 for the walk after her friend asked for help. "I've never raised money," Ashley said. "I had never hit up any of my friends. But I felt it was payback time."

The event this weekend was the first three-day walk in Atlanta to raise money for cancer research and treatment since Avon sponsored its last 60-mile breast cancer walk in 2002.

Organizers say the money is used not just for research, but for education and treating low-income cancer victims. The Susan G. Komen Foundation focuses primarily on breast cancer.

"This heals my heart and soul to get this all together," Feuer said, adding that she wants to organize her friends to help some of the people from New Orleans displaced by the hurricanes.

Copyright 2005 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Most recent News stories


Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the Trending 5.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast