Marathon woman

If you see a spunky gal stepping lively down Kenneth Road, it could be Theresa "Terri" Ulbricht.

The Glendale resident is training for a marathon and a half in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer on Sept. 11 and 12 in Santa Barbara, and in New York Oct. 16 and 17. It is presented by the Avon Foundation for Women.

Ulbricht has not only walked, but brought in more than $48,000 in donations over the last three years.

Participating in the walk is a tradition she's kept since 2007, soon after she completed her own battle with the disease.

Ulbricht was diagnosed in September 2005 with breast cancer. She didn't have a lump. It was detected by a mammogram, she said.

She opted for a single mastectomy followed by chemotherapy, which she finished in January 2006.

"My fifth anniversary will be this September," she said. "I've been cancer-free, and there has been no evidence of it."

Ulbricht continues to get blood work done every four months, and an annual mammogram.

She first participated in the Avon Walk when asked by a friend whose mother had lost her bout with cancer.

"It was really fun," Ulbricht said. "We had a great time. We met people from different states, and that's what gave us the idea to do the one in New York. I'm from New York."

She began walking both events in 2008.

Besides walking for a great cause, she said, it's a great way to meet people.

"I don't wear headphones or use an iPod or cell phone," she said. "They want you paying attention to the road because they aren't blocked off for us. So you meet people while you are walking."

She met women who have had the same surgeon and oncologist that she has.

"You just meet a whole assortment of people," she said. "In New York, there was a woman from Iceland. And there were women there [a bride and her friends] from Puerto Rico who instead of having a bachelorette party, they walked in the walk."

The walkers have different reasons for participating. Some people want the challenge of walking a marathon and a half in two days, she said. They walk 26.2 miles on Saturday and 13.1 miles on Sunday.

"They prepare you really well," she said. "There is tons of food on the walk — oranges, bananas, potato chips and pretzels, because you need salt. And they provide water and Gatorade."

People along the route decorate their homes and pets for the walkers to see as they pass their homes, she said. One family dyed their white standard poodle pink, and their black poodle had pink ribbons in his coat.

Walkers must raise $1,800 in donations for each walk they participate in, and Ulbricht is already over the minimum by $8,000 for the Santa Barbara walk, she said. She has raised $1,500 for New York.

This year she came up with the idea to raise funds through a piano recital, and her piano teacher Denise Petski hosted the event in her Burbank home. Ulbricht raised $865 to put toward her walk.

"She is very dedicated to raising money for the Avon Foundation, and she is really dedicated to finding a cure for this disease," Petski said.

Since 2007, Ulbricht has raised more than $35,000 for the Southern California walk, said Tiffany Estell, operations manager for Avon Walk for Breast Cancer — Santa Barbara. She has raised more than $12,000 for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer — New York.

"I think it's incredible what her commitment has been to the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer," Estell said. "Each of our walkers commits to raising $1,800 in donations, and Terri has truly gone above and beyond.

The funds raised by the Avon walk support five critical areas of the breast cancer cause with a focus on the medically underserved, Estell said. Those areas are awareness and education, screening and diagnosis, access to treatment, support services and scientific research.

It provides underserved women in Glendale, La Crescenta and Burbank with breast and cervical cancer screenings through the YWCA.

The Encore Plus program has received a $75,000 grant each year for 10 years, a total of $750,000, said Karyn Margolis, a spokeswoman for the Avon foundation.

To donate to Ulbricht's campaign, or for more information about the walk, visit

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