Local Heber-Overgaard resident, Fran Klein, contacted the Mogollon Rim News to help our community learn more about Sue’s Crew Annual 30-mile Cancer Walk. I love it when our community reaches out to support other causes on the Mountain. This will be the seventh year for the walk and Fran’s fourth year participating in it. She wants us to know you do not have to walk the entire 30 miles so don’t get scared off. She talked about how positive this experience is and how nice everyone is and what an opportunity to make new friends. Fran actually walked the full 30 miles the first walk but not on every walk has she accomplished the task. She spoke of the support from community and how they would leave water, bananas, granola bars and chocolate candy on the roadside for the walkers. On one of her walks she was visibly weary, and a car load of young boys stopped and jumped out their car and started chanting “Come on you can do it, you can do it,” and sang upbeat songs to her!
“Our mission is to provide a challenging annual public event to bring awareness, raise funds for research and ultimately find a cure for the diseases we call cancer! “We are in it to end it” and Sue’s crew will be here until there is a cure! It’s a fight we will win!”
—Sue’s Crew Cancer Walk
I spoke with Jim Hillebrecht who is the late Susan Hillebrecht’s husband. His enthusiasm for this cause is all inspiring. Jim and Sue’s daughter, Kristin Hillebrecht-Ingram lives in Cumberland, Maryland and is the founder of the walk in memory of her mother. Susan was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006 and lost her fight on August 4, 2010. In that same year her daughter, Kristin started the wheels in motion for the walk to help other people and raise money through donations to donate to American Cancer Society and Oncology Centers; 100% of all donations go directly to the beneficiaries. Jim tells me the money goes for all forms of cancer not just breast cancer. It goes where it is needed most and that includes research. They raised $40,000 last year in Arizona alone. Sue’s Crew Annual 30 Mile Cancer Walk in Show Low is a one-day 30-mile event and in Maryland where Kristin lives, it is a two day 40-mile walk.
Seven years ago, Jim decided to run a marathon. After his run he drove his route to measure the distance and it was 27 ½ miles. He was upset because he was so close to the 30-mile goal so right then and there he named the run One Day/30 Miles.
One of my favorite stories Jim told relating to the walk in Maryland was about a man called “Mohawk Man” – yes he sported a Mohawk haircut. He hand painted tiny pink cancer ribbons on 3,000 pennies for the year of the walk. While on the walk he tossed them everywhere for awareness representing “Good Luck and Hope”. Jim has carried on the tradition in Arizona as well but decided to use stickers instead of hand painted pennies. At the Senior Center in Lakeside they donate their time to sit and place the stickers on the pennies. Another man walks with his deceased wife’s tennis shoes tied around his waist.
Another very special donation they focus on in Arizona is for one individual in need. After Sue’s Crew Helping Hands forms are filled out by patients in doctors’ offices, the Sue’s Crew Administration meet and decide how much money they are able to give that individual after they have randomly drawn a name. Last year they gave $3,000 to a little lady in Vernon. Jim said, “You would have thought we gave her a brick of gold, she was so grateful.” She has since passed away.
A story that occurred here in Heber-Overgaard was about an employee named Becky Mueller who works at the Wild Woman Saloon. One night she decided to donate all her tips to help the cause. These are just some of the heartfelt generous stories.
We all know that carbs give us energy so the night before the walk there is a spaghetti dinner they call “Carb Up Dinner” for all registered walkers, members of the bands, donators and all who help with the production of the walk. The dinner is held at the Lions’ Camp Tatiyee during the hours of 5pm – 8pm. Then off for a good night’s rest.
The Walk begins bright and early on May 12, 2018 at 5:30 am in Show Low but it is necessary to be there by 5am or earlier for preparations. They meet at White Mountain Drywall located at 25 E. White Mountain Blvd in Show Low. Before the walk kicks off there is a Pledge of Allegiance followed with a prayer and the Show Low High Pep Band performing the National Anthem. Every year the Christian Motorcycle Club leads the walkers off. What a send-off that must be!
The day of the walk is a showing of huge community support of people coming out to give water and food to participants and cheer them on. The walkers pass by the Episcopal Church of our Savior four times during the course of the walk and the church puts out a nice spread of food for them. Many local bands come out all along the route playing music.
If you would like to join Fran in this awesome cause, go to suescrew.org to register. They are having training walks now on Saturdays in Show Low. The cost to register for an individual is $25 and the family rate is $50 for up to five family members.
“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”