On the evening of Saturday, September 29, Pleasanton's downtown will look more like New Orleans' Bourbon Street at Mardi Gras, or Disneyland's Main Street Electrical Parade as women -and men - proudly wear elaborately, and in some cases, electrically- decorated bras on the outside of their clothing in support of breast cancer awareness. The Tri-Valley SOCKS (Stepping Out for Cancer Kures) organization will host its second annual 10-K walk to raise funds for the San Francisco Bay Area Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
"Last year's walk raised $84,000 that we gave to the Komen Foundation," says walk director Kathy Ellis. "This year we hope to more than double that amount and raise a quarter of a million." Tri-Valley SOCKS is the largest single donating organization in the Bay Area to the Komen Foundation, even among corporate donors.
"One hundred percent of proceeds from the walk goes to local cancer research, healthcare and support," adds Ellis. "It all stays here for the nine-county Bay Area region. For example, it helps pay for mammograms for women who can't afford the cost of the exam."
Tri-Valley SOCKS is a non-profit organization that began seven years ago as a training group for women preparing for the annual three-day Susan G. Komen breast cancer walk in San Francisco. But when the annual walk left the Bay Area, Tri-Valley SOCKS started its own walk in the Tri-Valley.
"We've done other fundraisers over the years like the Benefit Comedy Night and a golf tournament," explains Ellis, "but we wanted to do something different and fun. Breast cancer is not fun and the walk can be emotional for many survivors of the disease. So by doing this goofy event, we have fun and can celebrate being alive. It's quickly become a popular event and we have a lot of walkers returning this year. We expect to hit our limit of 600 walkers."
Pleasanton resident Bonnie Shamblin, a veteran of the San Francisco three-day walk, will don her decorated bra again this year through the streets of town. "I started walking for breast cancer causes after a friend's mom died of cancer," explains Shamblin. "I know of many women who have a mom, sister or friend dealing with breast cancer. It's my way to make a difference."
The Bras for a Cause Walk is a leisurely paced, 10-kilometer moonlit walk that takes about two hours. This year's walk begins at Amador Valley High School, travels down Main Street, through a neighborhood, up First Street and ends back at the high school where a dessert buffet awaits the walkers. "It's fun and it's easy," adds Shamblin. "Anyone can do it."
To add to the festivities, prizes will be awarded to walkers for the best "Bras for the Cause" theme, best team theme, and most humorous. A "cheering station" will be set up at Wayside Park on First Street - the pit stop for walkers - where spectators can show support, make a donation, and enjoy music provided by KKIQ Radio. The walker who raises the most money will win a spa getaway at the Claremont Resort and Spa.
For more information about the Bras for a Cause Walk or make a donation, visit the Tri-Valley SOCKS website at www.trivalleysocks.org .
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