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Lured by the cure for reasons aplenty

Woodbury resident Alison Archer will be walking in her fourth Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure this weekend.1 / 2
Woodbury resident and breast cancer survivor Hong Spores, pictured above at a recent Race for the Cure, will be walking in her first Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure this weekend.2 / 2

In January 2010 Woodbury resident Hong Spores detected a few lumps on her breast. She immediately headed to the doctor.

The ultrasound and mammogram showed nothing.

"Everyone felt it," Spores said. "I was lucky enough to have a really good doctor that took me seriously."

After meeting with a radiologist and undergoing a biopsy Spores received the news -- she had breast cancer.

Spores was 31years old.

She survived the ordeal, and now looks to carry on the struggle against cancer by walking in this weekend's Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure.

The 3-Day for the Cure event is Aug. 19 to Aug. 21. A total of 2,700 walkers will embark on a three-day, 60-mile journey to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer. The event begins at the Southdale Center and will travel 60 miles through the Twin Cities area, concluding Sunday at Minnesota State Capitol Grounds in St. Paul.

Spores, her husband and a friend of hers will be honorary flag bearers during the opening and closing ceremonies.

"I really don't know why they chose me, but I take it was an honor because I'm representing all these women who are walking that have had breast cancer," said Spores, who has helped raise about $7,500 for the event.

Spores recalled her own struggle against cancer after receiving the diagnosis.

"It really hit me by surprise," Spores said. "No one in my family has had any kind of cancer, so I don't fit the group of people you think would be at risk."

Spores said that her breast cancer was a complete shock since she didn't even carry the breast cancer gene.

"I shouldn't have gotten breast cancer," she said. "I actually haven't gotten an answer why from anyone except that it was a genetic fluke."

After undergoing two surgeries and a round of chemotherapy, Spores is now in remission.

"It really wasn't any option to worry about how this was going to impact me, I just had to charge forward," she said. "I wanted to be there to watch my son grow up -- I did what I had to do."

Spores said she received great care and treatment from the Mayo Clinic and her doctors, which is hwy she chose to walk in the 3-Day for the Cure.

"I had such great treatment and such great options available to me because of all of the research and all of the money that has been raised," she said, "I figured this is a good way to give back."

Different motivations

Spores isn't the only Woodbury woman who will be walking for the cure this weekend.

Woodbury resident Alison Archer will be walking in her fourth 3-Day for the Cure, but for very different reasons.

"I actually don't have any history of breast cancer," Archer said. "But I heard the ads and I thought that would be really cool to do."

Archer said she had only intended for the 3-Day for the Cure to be a one-time event, however during the course of her first year she came into contact with so many amazing people that she had continued every year since, she said.

"When I started fundraising, that's really when I started hearing stories from all these people," she said. "Since then I have met so many people that were impacted and I feel so blessed that I wasn't impacted like other people.

"My mantra is that I walk because I can. Others can't."

To date Archer has raised between $22,000 and $24,000.

Even though Archer does not necessarily have a personal connection to breast cancer, she said she intends to keep walking since it does affect so many people

"The inspiration comes from all the others who have had to deal with it," she said.

Training for the walk

Since the 3-Day for the Cure is 60 miles in total, all walkers are given a strict training schedule to help get them in shape.

Much of the training includes walking 15 to 20 miles on back-to-back days.

"I didn't realize how much time and dedication you need for this," Spores said.

Archer said it is impossible to become tired or discouraged during 3-Day for the Cure.

"You're walking with so many other people, everybody kind of cheers each other on," she said. "Anytime you start feeling tired, you end up passing a cheering station and you can't be tired during those."

Joining together for the cause

Archer said she is most excited about reaching the finish line at this year's event.

"There's such a sense of accomplishment when you cross the finish line," she said.

Spores said she is most excited about connecting with women who have gone through the same thing she has.

"I'm looking forward to hearing about other people's stories," she said.

Both Archer and Spores said they hope to continue walking in future years.

"(Susan G. Komen) does a great job at bringing awareness to breast cancer and bringing it out of the shadows," Spores said. "There's so much empowerment that is brought to breast cancer survivors, those living with it and those who have been affected by it."

To donate to either Alison Archer or Hong Spores visit and search for their names.

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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