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PUBLISHED: 12:51 PM on Wednesday, July 5, 2006
Taking the step
Juneau woman raises funds for breast cancer research walk

  Photo by Austin Baker. Genevieve McLaughlin is holding a barbecue event from 4-7 p.m. Saturday, July 8, at Party Zone to raise funds for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. She will participate Aug. 4-6 in Boston in the Breast Cancer Three Day, a 60-mile walk over a three-day period.
Bratwursts and beer to save the breasts - that's what one Juneau woman is counting on to raise money for breast cancer research.

Genevieve McLaughlin is holding a barbecue event from 4-7 p.m. Saturday, July 8, at Party Zone to raise funds for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

She will participate Aug. 4-6 in Boston in the Breast Cancer Three Day, a 60-mile walk at 20 miles a day during a three-day period. She is required to raise $2,200 but has a goal of $10,000.

She decided to hold a barbecue in her backyard and began asking local businesses for donations for doorprizes.

"It was going to be a small backyard bash at the house, and I solicited my friends, family and neighbors," McLaughlin said.

Darlene McNaughton donated space at her business the Party Zone, and McLaughin started planning a party for about 500 adults and 200 children.

"Then I said 'go big or go home.' It was like this atomic bomb it just exploded," McLaughlin said.

Doorprizes will be awarded every 20 minutes and winners do not have to be present to win. The event will feature food, fun and live music, she said.

Tickets are $25, tax deductible, and may be purchased at the door or by calling McLaughlin at 789-0547 or sending an e-mail to junosunflower@gci.net.

"We've got the brats and the beer, now we just need the people," McLaughlin said.

Participating in her first three-day walk just last year in Seattle on the suggestion of her sister-in-law, McLaughlin said she is getting involved to help others.

"I'd never seen a woman with a mastectomy before, let alone a double mastectomy. To see these women who have and are going through treatment and to see that courage, made me want to do my part," McLaughlin said.

"I just want to save somebody and show my support."

The event is held in 12 U.S. cities, including Atlanta, Philadelphia, San Deigo and Dallas.

Walking 60 miles during three days isn't easy, she said. Last year McLaughlin lost three toenails and said she has gotten advice on how to better prepare for the walk.

"It was pretty owerful. It was an emotional journey and mentally and physically rewarding. I can do one little part to make a difference in people's lives," McLaughlin said.

"To go 60 miles is a bold statement. It's really rewarding and it's a challenge. I walk because I believe."

McLaughlin trains by walking for two hours five nights a week, but also gets exercise with the up to 12 children who attend her Happy Hearts Childcare.

She said she started the business about five years ago when she was looking for a balance between work and family.

"It goes along with my passion for helping others," McLaughlin said.

"What better way to service the community than to provide a safe, happy place for their children?"


  Photo by Austin Baker. Genevieve McLaughlin takes a walk on the treadmill while her daughter Anya McLaughlin, 7, draws with Happy Hearts Childcare employee Jackie Orr, 16.
McLaughlin has involved the children she supervises by taking them for walks and allowing them in assisting her in asking for donations.

"I've involved them to be healthy, and we get out there and the children walk with me to get donations. I have a special group of little people. They humor me in all of my events, and they are all very obedient and well-mannered," she said. "It's good for them to rub elbows with the adult population, too."

McLaughlin also has two daughters, 7-year-old Anya and 5-year-old Sophia. She said they have assisted in her fund-raising efforts, as well.

"They're pretty excited. They've fund-raised right beside me with lemonade stands, and we've made brownies and sold them," she said.

"I've explained to all of the children, and they understand there are different medicines for different sicknesses, but we don't have one for cancer. I can instill something in them when they are older to do a marathon or do anything they want with their lives."

McLaughlin said she grateful to the community for supporting her efforts.

"To raise $2,200 and put that number in front of someone is a little overwhelming," she said.

"The community is so generous. All you have to do is ask. It's comforting to know if I was going through treatment that the community would be there to support me."


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