RUMFORD- Saturday may well have been the best day of the year; with temperatures rising to almost 50, cloudless blue sky for as far as the eye could see, and snow conditions perfect for snowshoeing the nearly 2.5 miles to the summit of Rumford Whitecap.
Shannon Welch has been fundraising for the past few months to help support her registration in the two-day, 40-mile Avon Breast Cancer walk being held in Washington D.C. in May.
Besides the everyday solicitation of donations from various businesses and friends, Shannon also hosted a family and friends photo shoot for a minimum donation of $10 before Christmas, and she also got her friends together to create a beautiful breast cancer awareness calendar, Saving Lives Down Mammary Lane, complete with live models who have been touched by breast cancer.
“I wanted to do something different to raise funds,” stated Welch. “Nobody likes to ask for money and this way, I really didn’t have to ask, friends just came forward because they were getting something in return, and for a minimal donation.”
On Saturday, Welch was joined by 14 friends, including members of the self-proclaimed Gym Girls who train at Fire & Iron Athletics in Mexico, to adventure up Whitecap for a mini-photo shoot in exchange for a minimum $10 donation to her walk.
“It was phenomenal,” stated Welch. “We’re all so blessed. It was a gorgeous day, I raised some money and got to spend time in the outdoors getting great exercise with good friends.”
Shortly after reaching the summit, Welch joined fellow Gym Girls Sue Buotte, Lisa Arsenault and Kathy Gagnon for the customary burpee celebration. They were joined by gym manager, Rich Viitala.
With a 360-degree backdrop overlooking Grafton Notch, Andover, Roxbury Pond, Rumford and the Androscoggin River trailing away to the west, it was the perfect location to rejoice in the effort they all made to reach the top and take some fun pictures of friends enjoying the day.
Welch’s friends passed another smaller group on the way up the mountain. They were friends of Mountain Valley Middle School teacher, Jim Radmore, visiting from Farmington and Canada. The lady from Farmington heard what was going on and handed Welch a cash donation.
“Out of the blue she handed me some cash,” stated Welch. “What a day. Not only did we raise money and awareness about breast cancer, but we got a great group of friends out to enjoy some heart healthy exercise and laughs. It is all about balance, right.”