One Step Closer to a Cure

TEAM DESTINATION Jessica Jones, Jennifer Goldsby  and Jennifer Holcombe will walk  in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in New York City on Oct. 10 and 11. The money raised during the campaign will provide breast cancer screenings, support and treatment. Photo by Scott Holstein
One Step Closer to a CureThree Local Women Are Trekking for Two Days and 39 Miles to Help Find a Cure for Breast Cancer

By Lisa Monti

Local businesswomen Jessica Jones, Jennifer Holcombe and Jennifer Goldsby have teamed up for the biggest physical challenge of their lives — participating in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in New York in October.

They call themselves DESTINation Cure.

Their goal: to walk a marathon and a half — 39.3 miles — over a weekend and to raise a total of $5,400 through pledges and fundraising efforts.

Their mutual motivation? To do something positive with their lives to help save the lives of others.

Jones is owner/broker of Compass Realty of Florida, Holcombe owns the advertising specialty firm The Promotions Chick and Goldsby helps to run her family’s Tops’l Hill Warehouses. Jones and Holcombe are sisters, and have both been longtime friends with Goldsby. All three live in Sandestin Resort.

The Avon fundraising walk is something Jones said she’s always wanted to do but somehow never got around to it.

“Since I opened my company, I’ve always given a certain amount to charity with each transaction closed,” said Jones. “It’s always been very important to me giving back, it’s how we were raised … ”

When she finally signed up for the walk, she persuaded Holcombe in a sisterly fashion to join her.

“She said, ‘I signed you up and you’re coming with me,’” Holcombe laughingly recalled. “I said OK. I didn’t even know how far a marathon was.”

Goldbsy and her husband had donated to the sisters’ fundraising and he encouraged her to sign on for the walk. “I was thrilled to do it,” Goldsby said about joining her friends in the effort.

To prepare for the marathon and a half, the women have been following Avon’s recommended regiment of interval training, walking a few miles a day at first to build up their endurance and also adding swimming and other activities in between. All three women say they have noticed that they feel better.

“I’ve noticed a huge difference,” Jones said. “It’s amazing what stress can do to your body. I’m sleeping better, I feel better and have taken a pound or two off.”

Added Goldsby, “I’ve always walked but I’ve never done such a long distance. It’s also a personal challenge walking 39.3 miles, I’m excited and nervous but I’m not only doing it for myself. I feel like I’m being held accountable by asking people for donations.”

Jones said of the challenge, “Committing to walk almost 40 miles is a huge commitment. But the Avon Foundation helps people with cutting edge research and also helps women who just can’t afford to get treatment.”

The foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity that was established in 1955 with the goal of improving the lives of women and their families. Over the years Avon’s philanthropic programs around the world have raised and awarded more than $500 million.

The event in October, one of several scheduled annually, isn’t competitive but it does require a 17-minute mile.

“It’s not like you have to rush,” Goldsby said. “But there is a time limit.”

In between training, the team of three raises money by selling merchandise such as T-shirts, hats and organic lip balm.

“It’s not about winning,” Holcombe said. “It’s about walking in honor of people we know and don’t know.”

The trio isn’t satisfied with the challenge of this year’s walk. They have devised a 10-year plan to participate in Avon walks in all nine cities, starting and ending in New York.

“People ask, ‘Why are you all doing this?’” said Goldsby. “We say, ‘Why sit on the bench when you can get in the game?’”