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Walkers organizing to fight cancer
Fitness professional Benny White talks to members of Liberty County’s Team Suzie Q about preparing for long-distance walks and runs. Afterwards White led the group in a 15 minute aerobic session called zumba. - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon
At last year’s inaugural Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Savannah, a small band of women from Liberty County walked together calling themselves Team Suzie Q.
Brought together by Deidre Howell, administrator for the Liberty County Health Department, the six women walked to honor a dear friend of Howell’s who was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2008.
“In honor of her fight and her success we walked last year,” Howell said. “It was kind of last minute. But we threw ourselves together and we decided then that this year we would make this bigger and better.”
So Howell and the original members of Team Suzie Q got busy planning and developing ways to increase membership and help raise funds and awareness on women’s health issues, especially breast cancer. As this year’s Race for the Cure approaches in April, the group intensified their efforts and started holding monthly meetings.
“We started with a fundraising goal of $500 and we’ve surpassed that,” Howell said. “We’ve raised over $800 so far. We ordered 100 Suzie Q T-shirts so we would love to have 100 members.”
On Wednesday, the group met at the Hinesville Day Spa. They adorned a room with pink tablecloths, raffle items and a smorgasbord of food.
Howell said they bring keynote speakers each month and discuss health issues, training tips to prepare for the race, offer raffles and door prizes and sometimes offer support to cancer survivors who come in and share their stories.
At this meeting American Cancer Society Community Manager Victoria Ten Broeck spoke about the Road to Recovery program, a volunteer initiative offering cancer patients transportation to and from treatments.
“We have a great need here in Liberty County,” she said. “We are hoping to find volunteers to drive the cancer patients to and from their treatments. It’s the greatest gift you can give to a patient because you are really giving them a gift of life.”
Offering walking tips and fitness advice, Benny White, owner of Acelpius Fit, put the Suzie Q’s through a 15-minute zumba aerobic course.
Howell said the team’s success at attaining their first financial goal led her to up the ante.
“We set a new goal of $1,000,” she said. The group is also planning many more activities to engage the community and help folks become healthier. There first big project is next Saturday when the Suzie Q’s will host their Pink to Red 2K walk in Hinesville. The free event is open to everyone.
“Feb. 5 is recognized as National Wear Red Day,” Howell said. “It’s an opportunity to bring attention to the importance of heart health for women. Pink is our Suzie Q and breast cancer signature, but in recognition of the day we are going to bump our pink up to red and have our 2K fun walk on Feb. 6”
Howell said folks wishing to walk should gather at the board of education building starting at 9:30 a.m. The walk will begin at 10 and circle the community much the way the Christmas parade route did last year.
Howell encouraged participants to wear something red. She said she hopes the event will inspire more folks to join the team for the 5K walk in Savannah on April 17. Howell said money raised for the Susan G. Komen Race stays local.
“The majority is used to help fund women’s mammograms for the women who can’t afford to pay for one themselves,” she said.
Howell said the funds could one day be used to upgrade the mammography equipment at Liberty Regional Medical Center in Hinesville.
The Suzie Q Pink to Red 2K Fun Walk next Saturday is free and open to all. For more information on any Suzie Q event call (912) 656-0626 or send an e-mail to
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