Who walks for you

The playground of the Scottsdale, Arizona, elementary school was covered with bodies on Saturday as the 1,400 walkers in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure sprawled on the grass checking blisters and changing socks. The lunch break on the second day of the 60-mile walk was a welcomed break for the walkers, each of whom raised a minimum of $2,300 to take part. They were at the halfway mark of the event.The men and women just arriving for lunch looked through the sea of bodies to find their team, hoping to spend a few minutes together before taking off on the afternoon leg of the walk. Some of the 36 members of Team Thrivr were waiting for their leader, Greg Hoffman, who for the second year headed the top fundraising team in Arizona, adding more than $125,000 to the dollars Komen will distribute this year. Since the beginning of the 3-Day, more than $600 million has been raised from the walks, which occur across the country. Hoffman explained the Thrivr moniker, explaining that he had to leave out the "e" to be able to get the whole team name on his custom license plate. Hoffman began walking the 3-day with his wife Jen, who died in 2009 of breast cancer at age 37. His team includes friends of Jen's, family, and two walkers from a past 3 day who Greg and Jen met one night at the campground when they couldn't figure out how to blow up their air mattresses.Also walking with Hoffman this year was Diana Rowden, a survivor and vice president of survivorship for Komen National. As more of the team made it to lunch, the energy level began to rise as the group prepared to take off for the next leg of the trip with stops at the medical tent to have blisters doctored or new pressure points bandaged. Hoffman and I chatted for a minute about the time commitment of the 3-Day for him. Fundraising, he said will start in January. When I said he had turned it into a 365-Day event he said they take one month off. "In December we take a break. If someone says they have an idea for a fundraiser, I tell them to call me in January." As Team Thrivr headed out, I noticed the quote that Hoffman had added to the T-shirt they all wore. "To survive is necessary. To thrive is elegant." Maya Angelou