Georgetown was spotted with shades of pink as survivors, friends and family affected by breast cancer began the first day of The Susan G. Komen for the Cure three-day walk in D.C.
I first spotted the walkers at a rest stop near the Key Bridge Marriott in Arlington and drove by them on my way into Georgetown just after 1 p.m. Friday.
I caught up with a few of the walkers and the safety team members at the Georgetown waterfront.
Susan Malkus of Fairfax, Va. is officially cancer free, a little more than a year after her mastectomy. She paused at the Georgetown Waterfront Park with 11 of her teammates, including her sister, Betsy Malkus.
Susan said she decided to do the walk and several of her co-workers and friends offered to join her. Walking as a team of 12, bedecked in pink, they said they were ready for all the walking they would do over the course of three days — 60 miles when all is said and done.
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Alicia Smith, a Herndon, Va. resident, was helping walkers safely cross K Street to get to the waterfront path. She and her fellow route safety volunteer, Marshall Moneymaker, both have motorcycles with pink ribbons, stickers and other cancer awareness items. Smith's license plate reads ,"NOCNCR."
Smith said she remembers the first day she met Moneymaker. She was volunteering with a walk and that went by the fire station where he works in Bethesda, Md.
Tearing up as she spoke, Smith said she remembers Moneymaker taking an older woman by the arm and helping her walk to the next station after she tripped.
"I walked her to the D.C. line," he said with a smile.
Moneymaker lost all three of his sisters to cancer. The 2010 D.C. walk went right by his station Just a few weeks after his third sister lost her hard-fought battle with breast cancer. He said learning about the walks and participating in them "started healing" him and gave him a sense of purpose. Though it might sound cliche, explained, "it changed my life."
He has since started his own non-profit in his sisters' honor, For 3 Sisters. The organization provides emotional support and encouragement for "warriors, survivors and their families," according to For 3 Sisters website.
This year's D.C. walk wraps up Sunday, ending at the Washington Monument.