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Bobbi-Jo Macomber, Arinn Goody, Mandie Sawyer and Samantha Hammond are the Holy Walkamoles, a team of women from all over Maine dedicated to completing the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Boston in May. Bobbi-Jo Macomber, Arinn Goody, Mandie Sawyer and Samantha Hammond are the Holy Walkamoles, a team of women from all over Maine dedicated to completing the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Boston in May.
Maine's 'Holy Walkamoles' lace up to participate in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer

EDDINGTON - While most of us enjoy a nice leisurely walk now and then, a handful of Maine women who are calling themselves the Holy Walkamoles are taking their love of walking to a whole new level. Bobbi-Jo Macomber, Arinn Goody, Mandie Sawyer and Samantha Hammond, many of whom have small children, are spending their weekends walking 11 to 12 miles a day. That's because these women are training for the 39 mile trek they'll be making in Boston next month during the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer planned for May 19 and 20.

"This is the first year I've done it and the second year Mandie has done it," said Samantha Hammond. "I didn't even know what I was getting myself into it."

That is because Hammond, whose mom is a breast cancer survivor, was just excited to get behind such a good cause. It wasn't until the team started meeting on a regular basis that reality began to sink in for Hammond, who soon discovered as part of the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, participants must raise $1,800 each and walk a marathon the first day and a half-marathon the second day of the event.

"At first I don't think my mom thought I could do it. Even my grandmother thought that was a lot of money and miles and I said, 'I'm going to prove to you guys I'm going to do it,'" explained Hammond.

So like the rest of her teammates, Hammond began training by simply putting one foot in front of the other.

"I noticed in the beginning, I got blisters on my feet," she said. "But last weekend, we did an 11 mile walk and I didn't get any blisters."

Sawyer, who is the only member of Holy Walkamoles who has done the race before, keeps encouraging her team to walk farther and farther on their days off.

"I want them to be prepared. It was harder than anything I've done in my life. I had bad blisters the first day," said Sawyer. "I almost didn't get to finish because every time I stepped down it felt like someone was stabbing a knife in my foot."

But good shoes and lots of walking are proving to be the right medicine to overcome those dreaded blisters. The team is also able to keep moving, sores and all, knowing they've successfully reached their goal of raising $7,200 - funds that will be used to find an end to cancer.

"We are really lucky. We had some good fundraising events and sold 'Fight Like A Girl' T-shirts. We raised all of our money and even have a little extra that we're doling out to people in our community that have cancer through gift baskets and gift cards," explained Sawyer.

Hammond is hopeful time will pass quickly with each mile she covers during the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer next month.

"I want to talk to every person I can to see if this is their first year doing it, why they're doing the walk and I just want to meet as many people as I can and bring their stories back [to Maine]. I know I'll also be distracted by Boston itself and just walking through the city," explained Hammond, who found she's been able to reconnect with family since joining the Holy Walkamoles.

"Mandie and Arinn are my second cousins, and this has brought us closer together. We laugh and have so much fun. I'm so glad I'm doing this," she said.

For more information on the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, log on to www.avonwalk.org.

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