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Women Celebrate 20-Year Friendship by Supporting Children’s Cancer Research

Posted: March 6, 2017

Written by Brecka Putnam, Senior Regional Manager, Development.

Amy McKelvey and Robin WaddellAmy McKelvey and Robin Waddell are getting ready to lace up their boots to start training for another 28-mile hike. After 20 years of friendship, and the 2008 loss of McKelvey’s daughter, hiking continues to be a cornerstone of their relationship.

At 17 years old, Emily Rose was diagnosed with leukemia and passed away in five months. To remember Emily and help other kids with cancer, Amy began volunteering for CureSearch for Children’s Cancer. In 2012 McKelvey decided to train and complete CureSearch’s Ultimate Hike – a one-day event to hike 28 miles of the Foothills Trail. She was hooked.

“I keep coming back [to the Ultimate Hike] each year because my hope is that one day we won’t be hiking in search for a cure for childhood cancer…we’ll be hiking in celebration of finally finding our cure.”

After reading McKelvey’s Facebook post about the Ultimate Hike, Waddell was quick to join the team. “I thought what a great way to spend more time together and get in shape. We had lived in the same neighborhood when our children were little and had not had as much time together since we both moved to other areas.”

Formerly neighbors, McKelvey noticed Waddell and her daughters out sledding one night, and the group became instant friends. Waddell’s daughter, Ashlie, started kindergarten with Emily, and the moms’ friendship grew.

The women have been joined by a variety of other friends and loved ones – a particularly special moment was when Ashlie joined the team in 2016. They also love meeting new faces on the trail. “Most people don’t have a friend they are doing the hike with so we all get to know one another. And I have to get to know the other hikers since Amy leaves me in the dust most of the time!” said Waddell.

For the past seven years, CureSearch’s Ultimate Hike has been providing participants with awe-inspiring event weekends and the chance to help children with cancer. Hikers are provided with 12 weeks of training from veteran Ultimate Hike coaches (Waddell is one), lodging, expert trail support, and much more. The training is appropriate for all level of hiking experience and fitness.

Waddell and McKelvey are recruiting the 2017 class of Ultimate Hikers. People interested in joining the Ultimate Hike should go here to learn more about the event and information sessions.

CureSearch’s Ultimate Hike is the original endurance fundraiser on the Foothills Trail, and the only endurance hiking fundraiser to fight cancer, the number one disease killer of children.

To find a Hike near you, visit

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Women Celebrate 20-Year Friendship by Supporting Children’s Cancer Research was last modified: April 3rd, 2017 by Geoff Duncan


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