Breast cancer survivor is heading for Tampa for three-day walkathon

Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Kim Eiler, left, walks 10 miles a day with her friend, Laura Covington, to prepare for a three-day, 60-mile walk in Florida in October to raise money for breast cancer research. Eiler, a breast cancer survivor, needs to raise a minimum of $2,200 to participate in the event. Kathryn Lucariello / Carroll County News

HOLIDAY ISLAND -- A woman alive today because of early intervention in her breast cancer is planning to walk 60 miles to raise awareness and funds to help other women facing the disease.

Kim Eiler will be attending a Breast Cancer 3-Day walkathon in Florida in mid-October to benefit the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the National Philanthropic Trust Breast Cancer Fund.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure was started by Komen's sister, Nancy G. Brinker, who promised her dying sister she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. She founded the organization in 1982.

"I was lucky. I found my cancer early," Eiler said. "With an unending amount of love, support and prayers from my family, friends and a terrific medical team, I fought back successfully."

In early September 2005, Eiler was diagnosed with Stage III Metastatic HER-2 Positive breast cancer, a hormone-receptive cancer that is fast-growing.

Ten days after she found a lump, it had grown from 9 mm to 19 mm.

"I was due for my yearly mammogram in October. We would have caught it then, but I don't know what would have happened if I had waited."

Eiler had chemotherapy to shrink the tumor, a lumpectomy with surrounding tissue, then radiation treatments. Now she will take Tamoxifen for a five-year period.

She has no idea what caused her cancer, she said. Although she was a smoker years ago, there was no history of breast cancer in her family.

She said she received well over 100 get-well cards while she was going through treatment.

"I saved them all," she said.

Eiler has been walking at the Eureka Springs track and other locations in Eureka to prepare for the 60-mile challenge with her good friend, Laura Covington.

"Laura offered to walk with me and to help me train," Eiler said. "We do 10 miles every day."

Eiler said her sister, who is raising money in Rogers, will be walking with her at the three-day event in Florida.

The walkers will cover 20 miles a day, traveling at their own pace. They will be supported by hundreds of volunteer crew members with meals, liquid and snack stops, gear transport, hot showers, portable restrooms, safety on the streets and 24-hour medical services. At night they will camp.

Each walker has to raise a minimum of $2,200. The walk is taking place in 12 cities nationwide to educate people about breast health, including the importance of early detection.

Eiler will leave for Tampa Bay, Fla., on Oct. 18. The walk will start Friday, the 19th, and end on Sunday, the 21st, with closing ceremonies that afternoon. The best way to help Eiler meet her challenge is to make a donation directly on her Web page at http://www.The3Day.org. Select "Donations," then "Tampa Bay Oct. 19, 20, 21" and type in "Kim Eiler."

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