Teen prepares for long walk to battle cancer

By Bobby Pepper | NEMS Daily Journal

Kari Schwan is willing to walk 60 miles through Atlanta if someday it leads to a cure for breast cancer.
Schwan, a Tupelo High School senior, will take part in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day For The Cure, a three-day fundraising walk Oct. 21-23. She’s one of five women on a team nicknamed “Pink For Life.”
Schwan, 17, is walking in memory of her late grandmother, Vera Owen, a breast cancer survivor.
“She was an influential part of my life as well as my family,” Schwan said. “She was a role model. She was a fighter. I wanted to do it in memory of her.”
Previous family participation also influenced Schwan’s decision to join in.
“My cousin walked in it last year in memory of our grandmother as well. She loved it. She inspired me and I wanted to help,” she said. “We also have several friends who have fought breast cancer, and we’re doing it in honor of them as well.”
The 3-Day for the Cure is split into 20-mile walks each day. “We’ll walk about three to five miles at a time and then break,” Schwan said. “We’ll do 20 miles a day and then we’ll camp out at night in pink tents.”
Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves, will host the closing ceremony. “I’m anxious and excited to get there,” she said.
Schwan has been raising money and preparing herself for the vigorous walk.
“I work and I go to school, so it’s been tough to do that and fundraising,” she said. “But I’ve been walking every few days. The last time I walked, I walked 12 miles. I zig-zag my way through the neighborhood and back.”
bobby.pepper@journalinc.com