To honor friend who lost battle with breast cancer, local women prepare for Komen walk for the cure

Shari Anderson, left, Julie Embrey and Susan Cary walk along Folks Road on Friday as they train for the 2009 Breast Cancer 3-Day, a fundraiser in Chicago from Aug. 7 through Aug. 9. The group has walked more than 500 miles since February and has raised more than ,000 to benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The women named themselves “Amy’s ACEs” in honor of their friend Amy Laughlin, who battled breast cancer and died on Nov. 9, 2008.

From left, Cary, Anderson and Embrey all got chemo

Rather than be consumed by their grief, three friends are using it as fuel for a 60-mile journey through Chicago. They call themselves “Amy’s ACEs,” and they are walking to help find a cure for the disease that took their friend.

When Shari Anderson (A), Susan Cary (C) and Julie Embrey (E) lost Amy Laughlin, the fourth member of their group, to breast cancer last November, the friends weren’t sure what to do next.

“It was winter, and we were feeling sluggish and depressed, and we thought, ‘What can we do?’ and we heard about this three-day walk,” Cary said.

So they decided to put their bodies to the test and signed up for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure walk that will take them 60 miles through Chicago beginning Aug. 7.

“The first walk we did was two miles, and we thought we were going to pass out,” Cary said, laughing.

Now the women have logged more than 500 walking miles, and Anderson thinks they are ready for their upcoming challenge.

“I think it’s going to be a piece of cake considering because usually we’re juggling the kids,” Anderson said.

Laughlin was like a mother to the friends’ children, and that is why they have also gotten involved in the efforts of the ACEs.

“They (the children) would come on walks with us, and they got to experience making a change even when they’re little,” Anderson said.

The team had an original goal of $7,000 to donate to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. They have now raised more than $9,000 after months of tireless fundraising. Anyone interested in donating to the cause can visit:

“I had no idea that there were so many people willing to hold our hands while we took this walk,” said Anderson of their many supporters. “We’ve just had an outpouring of support and love from the community … People we’ve known forever or people that we’ve just met in the grocery store.”