Walkers start their trek for the 2010 Ethel Precht Hope Breast Cancer 3K Walk at the Lake Charles Civic Center. (American Press)
Last Modified: Tuesday, October 02, 2012 5:23 PM
Ethel Precht’s vision for a “little walk” has eight years later, turned into an event that brings out more than 3,000 people in support of breast cancer patients and survivors.
Precht, a 28-year breast cancer survivor, will hold her ninth annual Ethel Precht Hope Breast Cancer Foundation Walk on Oct. 20.
Precht said it all started when friends from Houston would ask her to go walk with them and one day she decided to get involved and there was “no turning back.”
“My friends kept walking in a big walk in Houston and they would send me pictures of themselves walking with my name on the back of their shirts,” she said. “They kept asking me to do it and I would say ‘Oh, no I’m not ready for that kind of stuff.’”
Then, one year I decided to attend the walk.
“I grabbed a friend to go with me and when I went there, I saw all these people who didn’t have cancer and they were there supporting survivors and showing how much they really cared. I was so touched,” Precht said.
Precht organized the “Hope YMCA 3K Breast Cancer Fun Run” and in October, 2004, that first walk brought out more 500 people. Last year, about 3,800 people walked.
Because of so much community support, Precht said, this year, for the first time, she has a goal for the event.
“People always ask me ‘What is your goal?,’” she said. “Well, I never had a goal. I was just excited that people would show up and show how much they care, but this year I would love to touch the 4,000 mark.”
Precht gets emotional when she talks about the walk, something that has outgrown even her wildest dreams.
“This has become more than I ever dreamed it would,” she said tearfully. “It really gets to me because I never in my wildest imagination thought that a country girl from Sweetlake that nobody knew could get people to care enough to come out and show that they support us, and people really do care,” she said. “This is something so near and dear to my heart.”
Precht said she chose “HOPE” for the name of her foundation before she knew it was tied to breast cancer awareness.
“I never even knew that ‘hope’ had anything to do with breast cancer, I chose it to say helping others through personal experience,” she said. “I couldn’t use that long name though, so we use HOPE.”
As far as her advice for cancer patients, Precht said attitude is everything.
“If someone has the support system and the attitude that says ‘I can do this,’” she said. “Then they have most of it whipped. Just never ever give up.”
All funds raised through the walk stay in the community and go directly to help people battling cancer with their expenses. So far, Precht said the foundation has helped more then 400 people.
Precht said the walk aims to make the day a “very special day” for survivors.
“The most special moment to me is when all the survivors walk under the balloon arch and get on stage and sing ‘I Have Survived,’” she said. “It’s a sea of pink and it’s just a really special moment to see all the people and for all of us to be able to say ‘I beat this’ with a smile on everyone’s faces.”
The walk is scheduled for Oct. 20 at the Lake Charles Civic Center. Registration begins at 7 a.m., opening ceremonies at 8 a.m., and the walk commences at 8:30 a.m.
This is the last week to pre-register for $15 at Creative Concepts, 144 W. McNeese St., or participants can register the day of the event for $20.
For more information or to register online visit www.ethelbreastcancerwalk.org.
Precht has organized the first ever Ride for Hope motorcycle ride fundraiser, which will be held Oct. 7 in front of the Civic Center with check-in and registration starting a noon, and the ride beginning at 1:30 p.m.
The ride is 112 miles and will end at Pinederosa Park in Westlake where there will be music, food and other events.