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Life-long friends take on El Camino trek for breast cancer research

September 13th, 2016

Karen and Julie - El Camino participantsIn May 2017, Julie Curtis (54) and Karen James (55) will join a group of passionate supporters travelling to Spain as part of NBCF’s Path Towards a Cure: El Camino fundraising trek. Over the course of their fifty year friendship, Julie and Karen have been directly and indirectly affected by breast cancer. Julie herself is a breast cancer survivor, and due to a familial genetic abnormality, breast cancer will continue to affect her family’s next generation. Both women say they’ve seen too many of their family and friends impacted by this disease, and are determined to raise $7,000 for life-changing research before the trip departs. With over $3,482 raised so far, they’re well on their way to their goal! We spoke to these incredible women about what motivated them to take on this amazing adventure for NBCF.

1. Why have you chosen to trek the El Camino for NBCF?

Karen: Not having travelled to Europe before trekking the El Camino really excited me, it’s a great way to see a country and participating in a group to support such a worthy cause is an added bonus.

Julie: Having the opportunity to trek one of the greatest pilgrimages on the planet with your oldest friend all while doing something worthwhile for a cause close to my heart was a no brainer- I feel very lucky to be involved.

2. What are you most excited about/looking forward to?

Karen: I’m very excited to be undertaking such an adventure, especially with Julie. I hope that this is a way to show my support for what she and many others have had to endure. And (of course) I am very excited to be going to Spain!

Julie: I am looking forward to meeting and sharing the experience not only with my friend Karen but with all the other participants.

3. How will you be fundraising leading up to the trip?

Karen: We have been receiving donations via our fundraising page and have been collecting prize donations for a quiz night. We are hoping to hold a market later in the year which will include a raffle.>

Julie: Karen and I to date have appealed to our family and friends through our fundraising page. We are also planning a quiz night in November and are busy appealing to local businesses and friends to contribute in the way of prizes. We have been pleasantly surprised at the generosity we’ve been shown. We are also planning to have a stall at a local swap meet where we will sell our old clothes, books, home wares etc.

4. Are you going to be doing any training for the walk?

Karen: I am a regular gym participant and have and will be taking part in the cape to cape treks in the south west. The walks are only day treks but range from 18 to 32 km.

Julie: I walk most days and attend the gym almost every day, however I will be planning some longer walks in preparation for the Camino.

5. Are there any aspects of the trek that are making you nervous?

Karen: No- I am more excited than nervous. The before and after I am a little anxious about!

Julie: Not nervous about anything, just excited!

6. Have you done any trekking in the past?

Karen: Yes, I am an avid walker but have only done day ventures.

Julie: I have been fortunate enough to trek some beautiful walks including the Cinque Terre and The Path of the Gods in Italy and some amazing walks in the Pyrenees in France. I have also completed a few legs of the Cape to Cape on the south coast of WA.

7. Have you been to Spain before?

Karen: I have never been to Spain or Europe!

Julie: I have been to Barcelona and San Sebastian. I’m very much looking forward to seeing Madrid as well as the towns and countryside along the Camino.

8. What does funding life-changing breast cancer research mean to you?

Karen: This is such a worthy cause as everyone has a friend, a family member or themselves that has been affected by breast cancer and if our little bit of fundraising can help then that’s a great thing.

Julie: I love the idea that all funds raised go solely to research. It fills me with great hope and comfort that the generation of young women born this century will not be confronted with the prospect to not surviving breast cancer.

If you’re interested in joining others like Karen and Julie on an adventure of a lifetime, click here to find out more about Path Towards a Cure: El Camino 2017.