Real ‘Pink Lady’ to walk in Avon breast cancer fundraiser

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Junior Marisa Wood and her sister, freshman Shelby Wood, also participated in the Color Run on March 24 as a practice for the AVON Walk for Breast Cancer.

Emily Burleson, Staff Writer

Junior Marisa Wood will participate in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in downtown Houston April 20 and 21. Wood will be walking the 39.3 miles alone.

“Most of my decisions are crazy and random,” Wood said. “I always wanted to do something sort of like this, but you have to be at least 16, so this was the first year I was actually old enough. Basically, I saw a commercial and thought, ‘Why not?’”

Wood has lost multiple family members to cancer, and watched it drag her family down “both emotionally and mentally.”

“I don’t want anyone to ever have to suffer the loss of a loved one to a disease such as cancer,” Wood said. “One of the hardest things is having to stand by and watch someone you care about suffer from something, and you can’t help them because there isn’t a cure.”

According to Wood, her grandfather’s death is the reason she is doing the walk. In addition, Wood’s childhood friend’s mother is a breast cancer survivor.

“She was a big inspiration for me,” Wood said. “You see commercials about breast cancer survivors, but she was really the only person I had known.”

The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer takes place over two days for those who, like Wood, choose to walk a marathon and a half. She will walk a full marathon, 26.2 miles, the first day and a half marathon, 13.1 miles, the next day.

“As bad as it sounds, my family will probably be hanging out at my house and will only come down on the last day to see me finish,” Wood said.

In order to participate in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, walkers must donate a minimum of $1,800. Wood held a yard sale, the proceeds of which went directly to her fund for the walk, but did not raise as much as she hoped.

“Mostly, I’m just emailing people and hoping for the best,” Wood said. “I have a donation box set up, but most teenagers don’t have big sums of money just lying around that they can donate, so it’s mostly adults who I’m focusing on.”

Not particularly athletic, most of Wood’s training for the walk consists of going for frequent walks or runs with her dog. She and her sister, freshman Shelby Wood, also participated in The Color Run on Mar. 24 as part of her training for the Avon Walk.

“It is a great cause, and when you see a young person doing this and they have had no personal losses from breast cancer, it really says something about their character,” Shelby said.

The walk winds through the “highlights of Houston,” beginning in Stude Park and going through the Medical District, the Galleria area and the Rice University campus for the first day. On the second day, walkers take a different route back to the start of the race.