In September of 2014, Becky Stanwood and her mother walked 60 miles over three days. During those 72 hours this mother and daughter ‘dynamic duo’ celebrated life, family, and the dream of a cure for everyone.
Getting To Know Becky Stanwood
Becky grew up in Conneticut and was an avid field hockey player, playing through college. After graduating from college in Rhode Island with a B.A. in Nursing, Becky decided to get experience at the world renowned Children’s Hospital Of Philadelphia. She worked as a nurse in the NICU and Hemotology department for the next seven years. Though she never planned to permanently stay in this area, love changed those plans. Becky ended up meeting a South Jersey man, fell in love and got married.
She and her husband Eric moved from Glassboro to Mullica Hill approximately two years ago. They have two children; Claire (3 1/2 years old) and Nolan (4 months old). She continues to play on a women’s field hockey league once a week and she and Eric are avid runners. They support many charitable organizations through their participation in cause-related races. Eric is active in the community as the founder of the online running community, Mean Guy Running, and as the Board President of the TOP Sports program.
Becky has since earned her Masters degree in Nursing and currently works part-time as a Nurse Practitioner at West Deptford Pediatrics. In order to cut down her nursing hours to spend more time at home with her kids, she found flexible ways to supplement her income. She started out as a Scentsy consultant and recently added a rewarding and flexible job as a consultant for a skin care line. “Being a consultant for Rodan + Fields is one of the reasons I can stay at home,” she says. “I’m making a really good living with it.”
Cancer Close To Home
Nearly two years ago, Becky’s mother was diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS), the most common form of non-invasive breast cancer. DCIS accounts for approximately 1 in 5 new breast cancer cases. “It was the best case scenario and they caught it early,” Becky says. Even so, it was a still a very scary and emotional time for everyone. After a lumpectomy and weeks of radiation, Becky’s mom is now thankfully cancer-free.
To celebrate her Mom’s recovery and support everyone going through breast cancer, Becky decided to do something really big and meaningful. The Susan G. Komen 3-day Walk fit the bill. “It was a birthday present for my mom who loved to walk and was a breast cancer survivor,” Becky says.
They assembled a team of six, which included her Mom (a breast cancer survivor), Becky’s close friend (who is positive with the BRCA gene), and her friend’s mother (a three time breast cancer survivor). Since Becky’s mother lived in Florida, they had to train miles apart. Becky had just had a baby, so she did her training pushing an infant in a jogging stroller. Her mother was equally committed. “She did a 24-week training for it and never missed a day,” Becky says.
But, the first major challenge of the walk came long before the event even started. Each team member was required to raise $2,300.00 a piece! She was very nervous about their ability to raise this large sum of money at first. Then she and Eric decided to put together a few fundraisers. Their number one fundraiser was The Brew Run, organized by Mean Guy Running and Good Day For A Run. This fun race (complete with a beer stop at Clancey’s en route) sold out in three days with about 120 racers. It was so successful that they held a second Brew Run which also sold out in record time. In addition, so many people gave extra donations to the cause. “I was completely floored by the generosity of people,” Becky says. “This effects so many people first hand.” She also organized a Rodan + Fields fundraiser to assist her mother toward her fundraising goal, which was another huge success.
In the end, every team member reached, or exceeded, their fundraising goals! The team’s minimum goal was $13,800.00 but they collectively raised over $16,000.00 through creative fundraising and the generosity of so many. This allowed them to donate $700.00 to some people they met on the walk who had fallen short on their team goal.
Three Days Of Inspiration
The 3-Day Philadelphia Walk began on Friday, September 12th in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. On their first day, Becky and her Mom arrived a little before 6:00 am and joined approximately 1,300 walkers. They completed a total of 22 miles that day before returning to the tents set up in the Convention Center to sleep. Though they had trained, they weren’t entirely prepared for all of the hills so they were feeling pretty sore the next day.
On Day 2 they walked up City Line and out through Upper Merion. It started to pour rain after lunch. “So, we did 12 miles in the rain,” Becky said “but it didn’t damper the day.”
Rain, hills and miles of walking might sound stressful, but Becky describes the experience as fun and full of positive energy. “Cars were beeping and people were shouting words of encouragement,” she says. “There were tons of cheer sections set up … some which were about 1/4 mile long filled with people cheering and handing out food. Kids at school were outside high-fiving us…[there was] so much motivation along the route.” Stations were also set up every three miles for sustenance. “Training was way harder than doing it,” she laughs.
After another night sleeping in “tent city,” they completed the final day with a total of about 14 miles through the city. They did all but the final 2 miles prior to lunch. After lunch, everyone completed the 2 final miles which ended in the Navy Yard for the emotional and inspirational closing ceremonies. Eric came with the kids (he had come each day to collect the milk she was pumping to feed the baby) and Becky’s brother (who lives in California) surprised his mom by showing up right before the closing ceremony.
The Susan G. Komen 3-Day raised a total of about 3.8 million dollars – for the Philadelphia walk alone. For Becky and her Mom, it was an experience of a lifetime and only deepened the bond they shared. “I did see a side of my mom doing those 60 miles… she’s a survivor in my life.”
1 in 8 women are diagnosed breast cancer.
Have you scheduled your mammogram yet?
by: Alicia DiFabio, Psy.D.