Joy was quite surprised, and slightly worried, when she realized she would be walking 60 miles in just a few months, but she quickly embraced the idea. “Three days of walking sounds a little long to me—I’m a little skeptical,” Joy says with a laugh. “But we know people who have done this before, and they said the actual walk is a lot easier than the training. Because, when you’re training, you’re thinking about what you’re doing—you’re walking 15 miles a day, and that’s all you can focus on. But when you’re walking with hundreds of people in the 3-Day, you are more involved and thinking about why you’re doing it.”
The three women had many reasons for participating in the walk, one being that they were eager to support the Susan G. Komen Foundation. “Just learning about Susan G. Komen, her mission, and what she wants to accomplish, we became really excited about being able to participate in this way,” Patty explains. “We want to support the good work they do and the strides they’ve helped make in breast cancer research,” Elaine adds. Aside from supporting Susan G. Komen’s research, the ladies also wanted to participate in the walk after seeing the effects of cancer in their loved ones’ lives. Joy’s brother and Elaine’s sister-in-law are both breast cancer survivors, and Elaine lost her father to prostate cancer. For this reason, the walk will have a personal meaning for the women.
Preparing for the walk has been a tough, but rewarding, task for the three friends. “Joy loves organizing things, so we thought we would make her the team captain,” Patty says. As captain, Joy came up with the name for their team: Lynette’s Lassies. “My middle name is Lynette, and I’m of Scottish heritage, so that’s where ‘lassies’ comes in,” Joy says.
Lynette’s Lassies started training about 20 weeks in advance for the walk, although they began a more serious training regimen 16 weeks in advance. Throughout that time, they used Susan G. Komen’s website for its many resources, including a precise training schedule, information on common walking injuries, and fundraising advice and tools (each participant must raise $2,300 of support before the walk). Their training time also played an important role in strengthening their friendships with one another. “What makes us very interesting is that all three of us are very different, so the dynamics are good,” Joy says. “We all bring our own strengths and our own calmness, so we carry each other emotionally, as a united front.”
As the days of the 3-Day draw near, Elaine, Joy, and Patty are taking their final training walks around Lake Forest and Lake Bluff before the big event. The 3-Day, which begins at Northbrook Court and ends with a celebratory finish at Soldier Field, will cover 60 miles. The walkers don’t need to worry about meals—which are provided for them—and they sleep in pink tents outdoors each evening. Overall, Elaine, Joy, and Patty expect it will be a tiring but unforgettably rewarding experience.
For the three friends, the walk will be a way to bond with one another, improve their own physical fitness, and—most importantly—support and empathize with those who have endured cancer. “When I was preparing my donation letter to send, I really began to think of what the Susan G. Komen 3-Day is all about, and that was being able to do something that is, essentially, quite grueling,” Patty says. “This allows us just a small idea of what people who have been diagnosed with or are recovering from breast cancer are going through—because it’s very grueling for them, too. In that way, I feel like this is the least we can do, considering what they have been through.”
To support the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure, visit 3-day.org, and search for Lynette’s Lassies, or make a donation at large to any individual walker or team.