Cancer survivor is star of Avon Walk
Local nurse shares story of family, success
Northeast resident Kimberly Curtis said family, friends and co-workers helped her survive her battle with breast cancer and encouraged her during “Avon 39: The Walk to End Breast Cancer” on May 3. (Courtesy photo)
By Stacy M. Brown, From The Washington Informer
Kimberly Curtis has a story that may not be all that unfamiliar to many.
About 10 months ago, the registered nurse who lives in Northeast received the devastating news that she’d been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Admittedly, Curtis had to battle with the initial feelings of “Why me?”
She then had to break the news to her husband, Tony, as well as her daughter, son-in-law, mother and other family members and friends.
But, what Curtis, 47, didn’t do remains as important today as the first day she realized that her life could be in danger.
She didn’t give up and Curtis became proactive in her quest to beat the ugly disease.
“I started working out and training,” she said.
“After being diagnosed, I was ready to serve and to give back and by participating in cancer walks, I felt that I could make a difference and give [others] hope.”
Part of that training was the unique task of regularly walking across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. “Well, the bridge was initially a couple of years ago and very challenging to do,” Curtis said. “But, the more I trained the better I got and the easier it became to conquer those six miles in about 90 minutes. The bridge was a safe, yet good place to walk for distance with hills as well as flat ground.”
There were times when her daughter, Kia Anderson, and others joined her for the walk, participation that Curtis said helped her to remain focused and encouraged.
On Sunday, Curtis was honored by the organizers of Avon 39: The Walk to End Breast Cancer, which took place in Northwest.
Avon officials asked her to share her story with the large crowd during a banquet after survivors and others had completed their two-day, 39-mile walk through the Washington Monument, U.S. Capitol, the White House and other District landmarks.
“Sunday [was] a very special day. The second day of the two-day walk for Avon, The Fight to End Breast Cancer and I have been favored and asked to not only speak at the opening ceremony with five other participants, but I have been asked to give my story at the closing ceremony,” Curtis said.
“I am truly honored and grateful to God for this illustrious opportunity to share with so many.”
She praised her family, whom she said proved to be instrumental in her recovery.
Their support provided her the strength necessary to fight cancer and to be successful in the 39-mile challenge, her training and exercise, and other cancer walks, Curtis said.
“After God, my family has been the most important support group. My husband, our daughter and my aunt did some very special things along with other family members and friends,” she said.
“My sorority sister was not sure how she would raise her money but she agreed to walk with me and I can’t say enough about my family and supportive friends. They have been the best.”
Prior to the weekend walk and the events surrounding it, Curtis’s co-workers at the Children’s National Medical Center in Northwest showed their support by donning clothing that included the pink color of breast cancer and surprising her with a cake, T-shirts and a greeting card that read: “You go girl!”
“Everyone has been so supportive,” Curtis said, adding that others who are diagnosed should try and maintain a positive outlook.
“If you can trust in God, no matter what the doctor has diagnosed you with and if you have a strong and supportive family, you can make it,” she said. “There is life after cancer.”
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