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Walk Promotes Awareness of Breast Cancer

October 24, 1998|JENNIFER KNIGHT

Linda Nugent has seen the devastation caused from breast cancer.

First her grandmother, then her mother, then a cousin--all died from breast cancer.

Most recently, her niece was diagnosed with breast cancer after a mammogram during pregnancy. Because of early detection, she survived.

"It's not a pretty way to die," the 43-year-old Nugent said. "You just slowly drown."

During a recent mammogram that Nugent underwent, tests revealed a lump. It was a benign.

"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared," said Nugent, a resident of Ventura.

Nugent, who considers herself among the lucky ones, is joining 2,400 other people in Avon's Breast Cancer three-day walk.

The walk began early Friday in Santa Barbara and will stretch 60 miles over three days, ending in Malibu on Sunday.

The goal is for each participant to raise $1,700.

The money will go to various cancer organizations to increase education and awareness of the disease. "If we can get one mother that will hear about this to get a checkup, then we've made a difference," Nugent said. According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer will affect one in eight women.

The same study places people like Nugent at an even greater risk because of her familial link. The odds of being affected by breast cancer increase five-fold for anyone who has a first-degree relative--a mother, sister or daughter--who battled the disease.

Nugent is determined to beat those odds. In the weeks leading up to the event, she has walked 15 to 18 miles to prepare herself. She has gone through four pairs of shoes and withstood numerous blisters and calluses.

This determination, she said, comes from watching too many young mothers be diagnosed with cancer.

"There are these women out there that didn't have any family history of cancer and bingo, they felt the lump," she said. "You can't be complacent just because you don't think it can't happen to you."

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