Couple walk toward a breast cancer cure
Couple, who married at last year's 3-Day, are on route again
Dan Bates / The Herald
David and Wendy Nansel, who were married at last year's Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure, will be back again this year to participate.
Photo Courtesy of the Nansel family
David and Wendy Nansel of Snohomish were married last year at Kasch Park in Everett in the dining tent at the end of the second day of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure.
Courtesy of the Nansel family
David and Wendy Nansel of Snohomish were married last year at Kasch Park in Everett in the dining tent during at the end of the second day of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure. He and Wendy call themselves the Seattle Breast Pirates, often donning pirate costumes, and so chose that theme for their wedding gear. As part of their vows David was asked: Do you promise to take Wendy out for a no-kids date night at least once a month?
Courtesy of the Nansel family
David Nansel (left) participates in the Susan G. Komen 3-day for the Cure event in 2007 when he provided support for walkers as part of the food service crew.
He won't mind if you do a double take. In fact, Nansel, 43, who lives near Snohomish, hopes you will.
“I have no problem having someone taking a double look at me to raise awareness,” he said.
There's a reason for his choice of clothing. Nansel is participating in a three-day, 60-mile walk benefiting breast cancer research and programs to assist breast cancer patients.
The walk is routed through Everett neighborhoods on Friday and Saturday and ends in Seattle on Sunday.
An estimated 2,000 people are expected to participate in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day For the Cure, one of 15 such events being held nationally this year.
Since 2005, the three-day walk in the Seattle area has typically raised about $6 million each year. Nationally, the three-day walks have raised more than $500 million over the past seven years.
Nansel's pink skirt will be accented by the bright pink dye both he and his wife, Wendy Nansel, will have added to their locks — a color long associated with breast cancer causes.
“If we can get one person to go get checked, that's what it's all about,” she said.
It's a message learned from her own experience.
At age 35 during a routine medical checkup a doctor found a lump in her left breast. He told her he didn't think it was anything; just something to keep an eye on.
A coworker whose child had died from brain cancer kept nagging her, saying, “You've got to go get it checked.”
Still, she waited a month before calling for an appointment that was scheduled three weeks later. Several rounds of testing were recommended. One morning, she was called at 8 a.m. There was a problem, not in her left breast where the lump was, but in her right breast.
She was diagnosed with a type of cancer called invasive ductal carcinoma. “It was so deep, I wouldn't have felt it,” she said. “By age 40, it would have been too late.”
This will be the second time she's participated in the three-day walk. Her first walk was in 2006, about six months after completing chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
The couple first met in October 2006 and their first date was a Halloween party where they dressed as pirates.
For three years starting in 2007, they worked as volunteers in the food service crew for the annual 60-mile walk. They often dressed in their pirate costumes for the work, and soon became known as the Seattle Breast Pirates, who would cheer on the walkers by clanging large, loud cowbells.
During last year's walk, the couple chose an overnight encampment at Kasch Park in Everett to proclaim their marriage vows before more than 2,400 people.
“We rang our cowbells as we walked up on the stage as pirates,” Wendy Nansel said.
The crowd responded with wild cheering and rhythmic clapping.
Wendy Nansel, 40, works as a dental assistant and has sometimes shown up for work in pink-dyed hair before one of the three-day events. “I do root canals all day long … I try not to push the pink too much,” she said.
She began training for this year's walk in December, going out on training hikes of 10 to 15 miles.
In addition to the $2,300 both she and her husband need to raise to participate in the event, there are extra expenses of buying the gear they need for the 60-mile hike.
“We just spent $120 on socks!” Wendy Nansel said. “But it's all right. It's all for the cause.”
Her husband, who works for a company specializing in dairy industry software, said even if pirate costumes and his pink skirt have bystanders in any doubt of their identities, there's one further way to pick them out.
“Just tell them to listen to the cowbells,” he said. “There are some people who try to impersonate us, with little bells that go tink, tink, tink.
“No, they're not ours,” he said. “I work in the dairy industry. You've got to have the big, obnoxious ones.”
See the fun
A video of David and Wendy Nansel's wedding at Kasch Park in Everett, which took place during last year's 3-Day walk to benefit breast cancer, can be viewed at: http://tinyurl.com/nansel
The Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure
The three-day event begins at 6:30 a.m. Sept. 24 at 60 Acres Park in Redmond.
The public can cheer on walkers from 8:45 a.m. until noon at the Red Robin, 21215 Bothell-Everett Highway, in Bothell and from noon to 4:30 p.m. at the Silver Lake Shopping Center, 112th St. SE & 19th Ave. SE in Everett.
On Sept. 25, two cheering stations will be open in Everett: From 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Jackson Elementary School, 3700 Federal Ave. and from 11:45 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Fluke Corp., 9028 Evergreen Way.
The event ends with a closing ceremony at 4:30 p.m. Sept 26 at Memorial Stadium at Seattle Center.
More information on the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure, may be found at www.thethreeday.org. Donations to individual walkers may be made there.
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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