Polly Letofsky's walk has been dubbed "The GlobalWalk for Breast Cancer." Her 5-year, 15,000-mile trek has taken her through twenty countries, over four continents, and 50-plus pairs of shoes.
She visited The Early Show Friday, ready to begin the last portion of her walk from the CBS studio Friday morning. This last leg will end in approximately 15 months at her starting point, her hometown of Vail, Colo.
As she walks from country to country the Lions Clubs International are coordinating the fund-raising efforts - choosing a beneficiary breast cancer organization in each country. All funds raised stay in the country of origin.
In the U.S., funds raised through Letofsky's efforts go directly to The Breast Cancer Fund, a San Francisco-based, non-profit organization dedicated to research, education, support and advocacy. The Breast Cancer Fund will distribute the funds to research programs aimed at uncovering the links between the environment and breast cancer.
Letofsky has never had breast cancer, and neither have the women in her family. But she says she always wanted to contribute to society in ways beyond her personal goals. "I wanted my walk to impact women on an international level, in particular a women's health related issue," she said.
While meeting and talking with women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer she said she found that there are some real parallels between the walk and such a serious diagnosis. "You can't look at the whole picture at once or you're likely to become overwhelmed," she says, "so we choose smaller goals and day by day, or step by step, we overcome them."
She says people are welcome to join her along the way. "I've had people join me for 15 minutes, an hour, four days. My friend Randi joined me for two weeks through the Colorado high country and my friend Beth joined me for a month in New Zealand. Although there have been moments when it did get to be a little much."
She said The Lion's Club has had a whole contingency of people walking with her, which was nice "except, we were constantly stopping and there'd be all the goodbyes - and then all the hellos."
Letofsky carries everything in Bob, short for Beast of Burden. It's a stroller for her gear, custom made by B.O.B., which makes bike trailers, along with John Cutter, who designs bikes, and NorthFace, which makes tents and backpacks. The owner of B.O.B and Cutter developed a hi-tech, one-of-a-kind stroller that will carry up to 70 pounds of gear. It's got pockets, water-bottle holders, compression strap, a transparent map pocket and even a parking brake.
To track Letofsky's "The GlobalWalk for Breast Cancer," go to www.globalwalk.com.