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Faces of the Race: Survivors can do it, and so can you!

Breast cancer survivor Alyce Jewell of Belmont and her close friend, Carole Myrick of Laconia, are familiar faces on the fundraising walks throughout central New Hampshire, and hope many will come out to walk or even cheer on those who do the distance during the Fit for Families 5K Run/Walk at the Tanger Outlet Center on Sept. 24. (Courtesy) (click for larger version)
August 31, 2011
Alyce Jewell of Belmont and her "bosom buddy," Carole Myrick of Laconia, have a vested interest in walks to support breast cancer research. They are survivors.

The former co-workers formed an even greater bond when they found they faced the same battle, and despite all they have been through, the two women have learned to turn the negatives of life into a positive. They participate in all of the fundraisers and walks they possibly can, like the Fit for Families 5K Run/Walk coordinated by Tanger Outlet Center and LRGHealthcare, and other breast cancer awareness walks and events in the Lakes Region.

"We've walked the 5K at Tanger in the past, but some health issues this year means we'll probably only be able to be there for moral support this year, but we'll be there in all our glory," said Jewell.

No matter how they can participate at any given event, these women have proven themselves to be great cheerleaders for the cause. In the past, they have donned decorated hats, specially printed tee shirts, "Survivor" banners, and even stitched pink pom-poms — pink being the adopted color for the fight against breast cancer — on their shirts to show their support.

All of this, they stress, is to show the sense of humor they have maintained, despite the tough struggle of their illnesses.

Both Myrick and Jewell are eager to encourage others stricken by the illness. They want them to know they, too, can win the battle against cancer.

In fact, after her breast cancer surgery, Myrick went on to fight through endometriosis, and Jewell successfully battled thyroid cancer after her own diagnosis. Two tough ladies.

Despite the initial setbacks, both women are feeling fine today, and, first and foremost, are very proud survivors of breast cancer.

"More than anything, we like to go out and show we can all fight back against breast cancer," said Jewell. "We also think it's important to support both men and women for this disease, something many people aren't aware of."

She cited a gentleman from Laconia who was also diagnosed with breast cancer. While not as common in men, it still occurs, and she said she and her friends applaud him for his courage in making other men aware of the dangers each time they encounter him at a walk.

"This isn't just a female disease," Jewell said as a reminder to the public.

Both women also wanted to encourage younger females to be checked regularly. Jewell said she was "scared for (her) daughters," as most breast cancer has been found to be genetic, and hoped all young women would begin their preventative care at an early age.

"Even young people need to have a baseline exam taken. The name of the game is get to your doctor in time," said Jewell. "Do something about it. Don't wait. It's not a death sentence any longer; it's all about taking care of yourself."

In order to support all who participate in the Fit for Families 5K Run/Walk, she and Myrick will be there, cheering other men, women and children on as they walk the steps these two courageous women may not be able to take this year but look forward to walking in the future.

"Everybody needs to get out there and walk for the cause, that's all. It's easy enough to do and a lot of fun. We'll be there to cheer you all on," said Jewell.

Entry fees for the Sept. 24 Fit for Families 5K Run/Walk are $20 per person. The first 600 people who register will receive special race packages with tee shirts and other tokens of appreciation, said Tanger Outlet Center general manager Eric Proulx. Registration forms are available at the customer service center at the outlet center on Route 3 in Tilton or online at www.tangeroutlet.com.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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