Walk lures sisters to Minnesota
By JUDY SHERARD
The Renk sisters are planning a weekend get-together in Minnesota's twin cities.
Though the sisters who grew up in St. Francis don't see each other often, the weekend is more than catching up on family news and reminiscing.
The four, Kelly Schmidt and Beth Schiel, Hays, and Stephanie Rowh and Angie Schorzman, Minnesota, are participating in the Twin Cities 3-Day Walk for the Cure, sponsored by Susan G. Komen for the Cure, to raise money for breast cancer this weekend.
Schmidt, a one-year breast cancer survivor, attended the event last year when Rowh and Schorzman walked. However, she wasn't in shape to walk.
"The number of people (participating and cheering) is phenomenal," Schmidt said.
Schiel, who teaches in Victoria, showed her support last year by walking from Ellis to Hays.
This year, Schmidt and Schiel are fit and traveling to Minnesota to walk with their sisters.
Schmidt admitted she was "a little nervous to try it," but she and Schiel started training approximately 30 weeks ago.
"We got emails once a week, and they send the regimen to follow," Schmidt said.
Activities varied with walking a set distance one day, resting another, cross training on another day.
"Beth and I motivated each other," Schmidt said.
Schmidt said the support from her husband, Terry, and their children, Gracie, Emma and Logan, as well as the community, has been wonderful.
The training sessions ended with walking as much as 15 miles at a time.
Participants in the three-day walk are required to walk 20 miles each day, with scheduled rest stops. Vans travel along the walkers' route to give them a ride if their energy lags.
The route takes them around the city, including parks and urban areas.
"In the evening, they set up camp with tents," Schmidt said. "Semis come in, and we can take showers. After the walkers set out, they move to the next spot."
In addition to preparing physically for the walk, each participant is required to raise $2,300. Schmidt said she and Schiel had several fundraisers to reach their goals.
In addition to the fundraising walk, Schmidt will be in the survivors' walk for the first time. Other participants get down on one knee to form the track for the survivors' walk.
"It's very inspiring and very emotional," she said.
"This is obviously important to the family because of Kelly's diagnosis and battle, but also, her aunt, Sandi, lost her battle three weeks ago, and two other immediate family members have been diagnosed and are survivors," Rowh wrote in an email.
"I am doing this for all my sisters, blood and bosom," Schmidt said.