I must start by thanking you for your amazing support. Over the last seven years you have helped me raise nearly $70,000 to help fund the fight against breast cancer. During that time I?ve walked over 3000 miles in training and on events to increase the awareness around this fight. Neither of those incredible numbers would have ever been possible without your support. Thank you from the very bottom of my heart. I am truly blessed to have you in my life.

In 2008 the fight continues as I walk in both the Seattle and San Diego Breast Cancer 3 Day events benefiting Komen for the Cure. I?m often asked why I continue to walk in this event year after year. Why not walk a year or two and call it good? I want to share with you my answer.

I found this event as I was desperately trying to transition from cancer patient to cancer survivor. I was looking for something BIG to make that transition when I stumbled across the 3 Day. That first walk was all about me. About my journey. About my needs. All about me.

That is until the second day of that first walk. I was walking alone, lost in my own thoughts, when I came up on two young gals walking ahead of me on the trail. They had on matching t-shirts that said ?For the Love of Josie? and one had a pair of tennis shoes slung over her shoulder. Like I said, at this point it was all about me so I didn?t want to know who Josie was, why they was carrying those shoes, or anything about their story. I picked up my pace and went to pass them. Fate had another plan for me though and I am so grateful. The person behind me did want to know. I heard the question asked and then I heard the answer. They were best friends. Josie was Mom to one of them. Josie had trained very hard to walk with them on this event. Unfortunately Josie lost her battle to breast cancer just two weeks before the walk. They were walking in her honor, in her memory, carrying her shoes, with her picture on the front of their t-shirts.

Their story hit me like a ton of bricks. In that moment I realized how easily those two girls could have been my two sons, walking in my honor, in my memory with my picture on their shirts and my shoes over their shoulder. I cried for the next mile and a half. During that time I realized that this event had very little to do with me. In fact, it had everything to do with all the sons, all the daughters, all the families out there that have ever been touched by cancer. You see when one person is diagnosed it?s not just that one person. It?s everybody they know that is touched. They all live through the surgeries, treatments, and the fear that come with a cancer diagnosis. It took Josie?s daughter and her best friend and their story to teach me that. I already knew that I had been blessed by the circle of family and friends that had supported me but I?d never looked outside that circle to others. That changed that day. And that?s why I continue to walk.

I walk because every 3 minutes another family hears those incredibly frightening words, ?It?s breast cancer? and they are forced onto a journey they never envisioned for themselves or their loved one. I walk because every 13 minutes another family loses their Josie to this disease ? and they?d do nearly anything to have her back. I walk because since my diagnosis in 1998 over 327,000 families have lost their Mom, wife, sister, aunt, cousin or their very best friend to breast cancer. 327,000 families who now live in a ?before? and ?after? world. That?s not okay with me. And I?m guessing it?s not okay with you either.

So I walk. It?s something I can do to make a difference. And supporting me is something you can do to make a difference. Over the last 25 years, every advance in breast cancer research, treatment, education and prevention has been touched by a Komen for the Cure grant. Your support of this event does make a difference.

This year I?ll walk in two 60 mile Breast Cancer 3 Day events ? Seattle and San Diego. To walk I am required to raise a minimum of $2500 per event and I need your support to make that happen. There are two simple ways to help. You can visit www.the3day.org and follow the prompts to donate online using your credit or debit card. You will immediately receive an email receipt for your tax deductible donation. If you?d prefer to send a check, simply make it out to the ?Breast Cancer 3 Day?, send it to me, and I?ll do the paperwork for you. Whichever method you choose I thank you for sharing this incredible journey with me.

I?ll keep you updated on both my training and fundraising progress at http://pennys.pledgepage.org. If you are interested in walking with me as part of my team of Kindred Spirits I?d love to have you. You can find out more about the team at www.kindredspirits-usa.com. If you are unable to walk this year, I hope I can count on your financial support as well as your emotional support as I continue my efforts to make a difference in this fight. Thank you in advance for your help?

Penny Kellam

Please feel free to share this letter with your friends, family and co-workers. All help is gratefully accepted!