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Marathon woman

Breast cancer survivor joins the ranks of walkers in marathon and a half twice a year.

August 07, 2010|By Joyce Rudolph, joyce.rudolph@latimes.com
(Tim Berger )

If you see a spunky gal stepping lively down Kenneth Road, it could be Theresa "Terri" Ulbricht.

The Glendale resident is training for a marathon and a half in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer on Sept. 11 and 12 in Santa Barbara, and in New York Oct. 16 and 17. It is presented by the Avon Foundation for Women.

Ulbricht has not only walked, but brought in more than $48,000 in donations over the last three years.

Participating in the walk is a tradition she's kept since 2007, soon after she completed her own battle with the disease.

Ulbricht was diagnosed in September 2005 with breast cancer. She didn't have a lump. It was detected by a mammogram, she said.

She opted for a single mastectomy followed by chemotherapy, which she finished in January 2006.

"My fifth anniversary will be this September," she said. "I've been cancer-free, and there has been no evidence of it."

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Ulbricht continues to get blood work done every four months, and an annual mammogram.

She first participated in the Avon Walk when asked by a friend whose mother had lost her bout with cancer.

"It was really fun," Ulbricht said. "We had a great time. We met people from different states, and that's what gave us the idea to do the one in New York. I'm from New York."

She began walking both events in 2008.

Besides walking for a great cause, she said, it's a great way to meet people.

"I don't wear headphones or use an iPod or cell phone," she said. "They want you paying attention to the road because they aren't blocked off for us. So you meet people while you are walking."

She met women who have had the same surgeon and oncologist that she has.

"You just meet a whole assortment of people," she said. "In New York, there was a woman from Iceland. And there were women there [a bride and her friends] from Puerto Rico who instead of having a bachelorette party, they walked in the walk."

The walkers have different reasons for participating. Some people want the challenge of walking a marathon and a half in two days, she said. They walk 26.2 miles on Saturday and 13.1 miles on Sunday.

"They prepare you really well," she said. "There is tons of food on the walk — oranges, bananas, potato chips and pretzels, because you need salt. And they provide water and Gatorade."

People along the route decorate their homes and pets for the walkers to see as they pass their homes, she said. One family dyed their white standard poodle pink, and their black poodle had pink ribbons in his coat.

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