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Goodrich woman plans 3 days, 60 miles— by foot



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July 14, 2010 - Goodrich- Last August, on one of the hottest days of the year, Margaret Stump walked 22 miles.

Sweating, exhausted, and with a blister on her right foot, the Goodrich resident, now 54, made it to her destination, a camp filled with a sea of pink two-person tents, all awaiting the participants in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure. She dissolved into tears when two teenage boys offered to help her and her daughter Melissa, with their luggage.

The next day, she walked another 22 miles, and the day after, with another blister on her right foot, she managed to hobble six miles, for a total of about 50 miles over the three days. She was short of the 60 miles planned, but she and all the other approximately 1,800 walkers had already met their goal— each raising $2,300 to fight breast cancer.

This year, Stump plans to do it all over, with a few differences, including no blisters and walking the full 60 miles in a trek from Farmington Hills to Dearborn Aug. 13-15.

"I'm excited to do it again," she said. "Now I know what to expect. I've only got another month to get ready, but on the other hand, I can't wait."

Stump was inspired to walk the 3-Day after reading an article in The Citizen about two sisters who were in the 2008 3-Day ("Breast Cancer 3-Day walk: 'My feet still aren't quite right,'" Oct. 11, 2008). She also remembered reading somewhere that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and she wondered who that would be in her family— which includes her five daughters, five granddaughters, three sisters and mother-in-law.

"I clipped out the article and thought, 'Is this something I can do?'" she remembers. "You think, 'Oh, I can walk,' but 60 miles in three days is intense and it's a lot of time and commitment to train and fundraise."

Stump and her daughter, Melissa Moore, formed the two-person team that Melissa's husband Jason dubbed "B.O.O.B.S.—Babes Offering Our Best Steps." Stump started out walking a couple miles a few days a week. On the weekends, they worked their way up to walking 15 miles one day and 18 the next, on trails at Kensington Metropark and Genesys Regional Medical Center. If it rained, they walked on an indoor track at the Goodrich United Methodist Church, where Stump is a member.

They were told by walk organizers that a good pace would be about 3 miles per hour, meaning a 15-mile walk would take about five hours— quite the time commitment, she noted, in addition to the time required to fundraise. They went door-to-door collecting bottles and cans, hosted bake sales, sent letters to everyone they knew asking for donations, and had a fundraising night at a tavern in Grand Blanc. They had raised their combined $4,600 five days prior to the walk.

All the training and fundraising culminated in an emotional weekend and Stump remembers daughter Melissa's breakdown on the second night.

"It was emotional, draining, hot, and she's not a camper," said Stump. "She called her husband and said, 'I'm not doing this again.' She didn't know yet that she was pregnant. We laugh about it now."

Stump's granddaughter, Ava, was born prematurely in February, three days after a spaghetti dinner fundraiser for this year's 3-Day. The baby is doing well now, but her early birth put Stump, who will be walking the 3-Day without Melissa, behind in training and fundraising efforts. Still, she believes she will pull it all together in time— motivated by memories of last year.

"It's exhausting, grueling, but worth it," said Stump, who has been married to Mark for 20 years and is also a Goodrich bus driver. "People were amazing, they thanked us for walking. It makes me feel good to be a woman and doing something to help. I will do this as long as I'm able."

To contribute to Stump's team, "B.O.O.B.S.— Babes Offering Our Best Steps" visit www.the3day.org and click on donate then search for "Margaret Stump" to make a donation. A fundraiser event for Stump will also be from 5-9 p.m., July 28, at Buffalo Wild Wings, 8251 Trillium Circle Ave., Grand Blanc, 48439. Get a certificate at the GUMC from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Thursday and present the certificate at the restaurant and 15 percent of your purchases will go to support Stump in the 3-Day.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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