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PHS Teachers Gear-Up for Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk

July 11, 2011

07/12/11 Friends and fellow Plymouth High School teachers Jyll McNeil and Ashley Boardman are gearing up for what could be the walk of their lives.

McNeil has been teaching Family and Consumer Science (FACS) for six years and Boardman will begin her fifth year in the Art Department at PHS in the fall. Boardman is also an assistant volleyball and track coach at PHS.

The two will be participating in the Susan G. Komen “The 3-Day for the Cure” walk during the first weekend in August. They will be joining thousands of other walkers at the Chicago event.

McNeil said she has always wanted to participate in some sort of walk or fundraiser, but when her friend Amber Hough’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, she knew now was the time to start. McNeil also student taught and taught for one year with the late Nancy Jaynes who succumbed to breast cancer. McNeil said, “Both have had a profound affect on me.”

The Susan G. Komen organization helps to provide funding for breast cancer research and community-based breast health and education programs. The first race was run in Dallas, Texas in 1983, with 800 participants. The 25th Anniversary of the Race was celebrated in 2008. In 2009, it was renamed as Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure and in 2010, there were about 130 races worldwide.

Boardman and McNeil must each raise an $2,300 entry fee to be accepted into the 60-mile event. According to Boardman, they have raised some $1,500 each so far, but know they have to keep pushing to raise the rest of the fee. For the past two Saturdays, they have been selling craft and other items at the Farmer’s Market. Many of the items they were displaying were made by PHS students .Before the school year ended, they spent their spare time organizing teacher luncheons, holding craft shows, and selling space on the back of T-shirts created by Boardman.

Each day they will be walking twenty miles and then tent camp ,only to begin the same distance the next day.

Physically preparing for the event has been grueling during the unusually hot summer days the past week. Training has meant walking 16 miles to Culver and around Lake Maxinkuckee and or walking two times around Pretty Lake for thirteen miles..

Boardman experienced her first drastic heel blisters despite heeding all of the advice she has been gathering from the internet and other sources. She said, “I’ve done everything from wearing specialty socks to putting on petroleum jelly.”

Both Boardman and McNeil have unbelievable responsibilities during their summer break  from school. McNeil said, “My husband John has been very excited very supportive. I couldn’t do this without his help” The couple has a nine-month old son Harrison-Harry for short.

Boardman is also enrolled in classes to obtain her master’s degree.

McNeil said, “We decided to do this in March when we took a trip to Chicago to meet our team mates.” Boardman added, “It was raining and only 40 degrees, but we made the walk around Lake Shore Drive.”

Those wishing to make donations can access a website at, click donate and search for McNeil’s personal fundraising webpage. Donations can also be taken at 800-996-3Day. The teammates will be dividing any donations they receive.

Carol Anders Correspondent

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