MAHONING VALLEY Fund-raiser will send women on 60-mile trek

The walk will take place from Oct. 11 through 13.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Boardman Township resident Kathleen Shannon spent hours over the last several weeks outside stores in the Shops at Boardman Park, auctioning off a gift basket and accepting donations in an ongoing effort to raise $1,900.
The money will not go toward anything for Shannon's personal use. It will instead be handed over to breast cancer researchers as Shannon embarks on a trek across New York state in support of the cause.
On Oct. 10, Shannon and three friends, Gail DiMartino of Boardman, Marilyn Burns of Canfield and Karen Holbi of Canfield, will embark on the three-day, 60-mile trip from Bear Mountain into New York City sponsored by Avon cosmetics. The $1,900 is the minimal donation required to participate.
The women, all in their 40s and 50s, have -- or know someone else who has-- directly felt the sting of breast cancer in the family.
"My grandmother had breast cancer and when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in January, that was what prompted me to do this," said Shannon. "I wanted to do this for all those people battling the disease."
Holbi had a sister-in-law who succumbed to breast cancer. She said she is walking in her sister-in-law's place because she would have participated had she been alive.
DiMartino, who has had friends touched by the disease in their families, said she is looking forward to helping in such a worthy cause, but the physical challenge is also beckoning her to New York City.
"I wanted to be able to be in the outdoors and challenge myself," she said. "I felt like this would be a way for me to do that and at the same time benefit other people."
What's ahead
The fund-raiser agenda shows that DiMartino will likely have her wish for an outdoor challenge fulfilled. The women will walk 20 miles a day stopping only for lunch. They anticipate five to six hours of walking each day.
At night, when the day's walking has been completed, no comfortable hotel room bed will be waiting. The women will set up camp in two-person tents with sleeping bags. Morning bathing will be done in portable showers on the back of trucks furnished by sponsors.
The women say they will be prepared for whatever physical challenges are waiting in New York. They have been training for months in anticipation of the event.
Holbi said the women have been following a strict walking regimen that started at six to 10 miles per week and now has the women walking 24 to 30 miles per week. Before the trip to New York, she said they will likely be walking 30 to 40 miles a week with extended walks on weekends.
"None of us are in this to make some record breaking time. We just want to complete it," said DiMartino. "We are all in the service mode at this time in our lives and it is really great for us to do this."
The woman all say the community has been wonderful in sponsoring their walk. Shannon met her $1,900 goal after auctioning several gift baskets and a having fund-raising skate party at the Ice Zone in Boardman. DiMartino and Holbi raised the funds with donations.
Holbi has raised $3,400.