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6/30/2009 —

DeMaris Morales-Flores, who graduated from Penn State Brandywine in fall 2008 with a degree in human development and family studies, is working hard post-college to help find a cure for breast cancer.  
As a participant in the 2009 Philadelphia Breast Cancer 3-Day, Morales-Flores will walk 60 miles over three days from October 16 to 18. Like all participants in the walk, she must complete 20 miles per day and raise a minimum of $2,300. Eighty-five percent of the funds raised goes to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the global leader of the breast cancer movement, and the remaining fifteen percent is given to help those affected by breast cancer.

Currently a payroll employee at Catholic Social Services in her hometown of Philadelphia, Morales-Flores said she would like to eventually find a job related to her degree but is participating in the walk in part to fulfill her innate desire to help people.

But there is a far more personal reason for Morales-Flores’ participation in the walk; one that hits too close to home for her and her two teammates—Lily Ann Serrano (pictured far left) and Aimee Leon (pictured far right). Team leader Leon encouraged the women to walk after losing a young friend, Melody Chaden, to breast cancer on May 28 at the age of 32 after an eight-year battle with the illness. After hearing about Melody’s death and learning about the walk, decided, “I want to be part of that, too.”

“It makes me feel good as a woman to be doing this walk since 99 percent of the people who get breast cancer are women, and it’s the leading cause of cancer death among Latina women,” she said. As a woman of Puerto Rican descent, she felt it was increasingly important to do her part. “I am doing something positive for myself and for women.”

Morales-Flores has already raised $1,738 toward the team’s goal of $14,000 through donations and fundraising events. The team, named “The Pink Bees,” has raised more than $9,000 toward that goal already, including $1,000 raised at a spaghetti dinner they hosted in April. And their hard work doesn’t stop there. The three women are in week 16 of 24 weeks of training, which includes walking four miles per day. “It’s good for the heart and the environment,” she said. “And I’ve lost 13 pounds already!”

According to the Philadelphia Breast Cancer 3-Day’s official Web site, all walkers will spend the night “at camp,” where they will be given hot meals, shower facilities, two-person tents to sleep in, and entertainment to help them wind down.

For more information about the walk, visit http://www.the3day.org/site/PageServer?pagename=homepage or to help Morales-Flores and her teammates reach their goal, visit www.the3day.org/goto/demaris.

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