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Overcoming her obstacles

Overcoming obstacles: Tanya Hardee overcame a serious back injury so she could walk in the “Susan G. Komen 3-Day for a Cure” walk.

Tanya Hardee was told by some doctors she might never be able to walk again after an accident in 1995.

But she was determined to get back up and will be walking 60 miles over three days to help raise money for those who can’t.

Hardee is raising money and walking in the 2010 “Susan G. Komen 3-Day for a Cure” walk in Atlanta, Ga. on Oct. 22-24. Her team is “Six Simple Truths.”

“I have had to watch my friends struggle through this disease,” Hardee said. “I care about them and what they’ve had to do to fight off the cancer through surgery, radiation and chemo. If they can get through all that, I can push myself to overcome my own obstacles to help them.”

After falling out of a truck about 15 years ago, Hardee suffered bruising of the tissues, a herniated disk, nerve damage and long-term damage to her radial nerve.

“I have sensitivity, decreased motor function and decreased sensitivity on the right side of my body,” Hardee said. “If my back goes into a spasm, I won’t be able to feel my leg and hand. It can make walking a little difficult.”

It took her awhile to be able to walk again.

In 2008, her friend, who had been through breast cancer, a double mastectomy and chemotherapy, was training for the walk.

“She asked me to walk with her, and I thought she’d lost her mind,” Hardee said. “Then we started off on walks together. At first, I couldn’t go two miles without tears because it was so painful.”

Knowing what her friend had gone through, she gritted her teeth and pushed through the pain.

She was able to build up to 60 miles by October 2009 and walked the D.C. three-day walk, and then she decided she’ll be walking again this year.

“If I can do it once, I can do it twice,” Hardee said.

Hardee’s training includes walks, cross training, bike riding, yoga and a little kayaking, when she can.

Folks in north Suffolk may have seen her walking in the neighborhoods around Bennett’s Creek Park.

To help her walk, she uses poles.

“I get all the ski jokes,” Hardee said. “They look just like ski poles, but have rubber feet. I never go walking without them.”

She also always has with her a runner’s belt with extra socks, granola, and 40 ounces of fluids.

“People don’t realize it, but long distance walking takes a lot of endurance,” Hardee said. “If you’re stopping to stretch like you’re supposed to, a 20-mile stretch will take from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.”

She is nearly ready for the weekend’s walk, and is doing some last minute training and continuing to collection donations. Hardee must raise a minimum of $2,300 for the event.

“My goal is to raise $3,300,” Hardee said. “If I’m going to put the work in, I’m going to aim high and do as much good to find a cure as I can. In today’s society, if you ask just about any adult person if they’ve been touched by cancer, more often than not they’ll have been touched. For a foundation that does as much as it does, I feel it’s the best place to put my energy.”

To help her meet her goal, visit www.the3day.org/goto/TanyaHardee.