By: Michelle Berman
Athens resident Katie Waters’ love of philanthropy began at the young age of 22 as she watched close friends fight breast cancer. She wanted to find a way to give back in support of the cause, and focus her energy and enthusiasm with purpose.
It was six years ago that Katie learned about the Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer presented annually by It’s The Journey, Inc., and she began a road to long-time involvement with the organization in honor of her friends. Her journey started when she signed up for her first Atlanta 2-Day Walk.
Celebrating 10 years this October, the Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer has generated more than $8 million funding 169 grants to breast health programs throughout Georgia that provide screening and diagnosis, treatment education and support services. The unique aspect of the Atlanta 2-Day Walk is that all of the money raised during the event stays here in the state of Georgia.
Katie’s involvement with the Atlanta 2-Day Walk goes much further than participating in the event. The 10th anniversary event set for Oct. 6-7 this year will be her fifth walk, and it will also mark her fourth year as a member of the organization’s board of directors.
“I was extremely close with the founder of the Atlanta 2-Day Walk, the late Randi Passoff,” Katie explained. “Randi convinced me to submit an application to join the board of directors. The interview for the board membership was done over the phone, so when I walked into my first meeting, everyone was in shock – I was by far the youngest person there. Three years ago I was elected board secretary, and now they won’t let me leave!”
In addition to her board of directors’ seat, Katie is a member of a team of walkers for the event called The Spongeboobs, which includes her aunt, cousins, close friends and a number of breast cancer survivors.
“Something special about our team that we take pride in is that every year, we seem to find people who are walking alone and we adopt them,” Katie added. “If we see them in the elevator alone, we kidnap them!”
As for fundraisers for her team of walkers, Katie said activities change every year. In the past the team has held bake sales and an event with Delta Air Lines employees. For the 10th anniversary 2-Day Walk this year, The SpongeBoobs partnered with The Mad Italian Restaurant in Chamblee for fundraising activities that netted more than $4,500 for the cause.
Describing the Atlanta 2-Day Walk as the “best kept philanthropy secret in Atlanta,” Waters said she loves hearing people talk about the deserving breast health programs funded by It’s The Journey through grants from walk proceeds.
“The Atlanta 2-Day Walk is inspiring and it is far more than just a fundraiser,” Waters elaborated. “I believe the event is essential to overcoming this disease because it gives people the strength to go get treatment and beat cancer.”
Individuals and teams can participate in the Atlanta 2-Day Walk, which covers 30 miles over two days with each walker responsible for raising $1,000. For more information about getting involved as a walker or sponsor, or to make a donation to the Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer, visit www.2daywalk.org, email email@example.com or call 404-531-4111.