RailWorks Controller Walked to Honor Friend, Raise Funds for Breast Cancer Research
Merry Nemeth (r) with Hug Lady “It is indescribable to say what it’s like being with all these people that are concerned about curing breast cancer. It’s a great feeling to be a part of something that big!” Merry Nemeth, Controller, RailWorks Track Services in Youngstown, OH
Merry Nemeth, a controller for RailWorks Track Services, was among 900 participants in a 3-Day journey for breast cancer awareness. The 3-Day walk in Cleveland, one of about a dozen similar Susan G. Komen 3-Day events nationally, raised more than $2 million for breast cancer research. Thanks to support from family, friends and RailWorks employees across the country, Merry raised more than $3,000 of $18,000 contributed by her team.
Merry and 900 others walked more than 22 miles the first day of the event, despite morning rain and wet feet. On the second day Merry sought medical attention in the first aid tent for her weary and blistered feet. But once bandaged-up, she was back to completing the second day’s 21-mile stint. The rain welcomed the walkers again on the third day, but Merry was determined to complete the 60 miles without taking the van. “I was the last walker in at lunch, so I grabbed my lunch bag and ate while I walked. I finished the walk at around 3:30 p.m. — all 60 miles, and my feet were mad at me for days!”
Training for the July event began the previous January for Merry. She walked daily: evenings, weekends and even over her lunch breaks. During winter she trained on the treadmill. Regardless of the weather, Merry walked three to 14 miles a day to prepare for the 3-Day.
For Merry, the challenge to find a cure for breast cancer is a personal battle. Merry had lost her friend Shirley to breast cancer earlier in the year. The two had become close friends through their shared love of motorcycling.
The 3-Day is more than a 60-mile weekend walk in the Cleveland metropolis. It is a commitment to curing cancer by the courageous survivors of breast cancer and their supporters. Merry was prompted to participate in the 3-Day walk to support Shirley’s family who continue to fight for a cure. "I did the 3-Day walk to let them know I really cared about her, for those fighting breast cancer, and in memory of those who have lost the battle.”
Her passion for curing breast cancer is easily kindled when she thinks of her 3-year-old niece. “I’ve lost a friend and two family members to breast cancer. I don’t want my niece to ever worry about anything like that,” says Merry.
The 3-Day isn’t Merry’s first time volunteering for charitable causes. In May of 2008 she ran a 5 kilometer race in Pittsburgh with her twin sister, another event to support the Susan G. Komen Cure for Breast Cancer Trust.
Merry has served as president of her local Women on Wheels chapter, a national organization dedicated to motorcycle awareness, the prevention of motorcycle accidents, and charitable work. Along with her biker community she has participated in blood drives and in fundraising for hospitals, organizations and individuals.
RailWorks employees contributed two-thirds of Merry’s support, rallying to encourage her. “Kudos to all my co-workers for helping me raise my money,” said Merry. “Of the $3,000 I raised, my friends at RailWorks contributed $2,100.”
Merry offers these words of advice for her friends and co-workers. “Volunteer! Give up a few days to help in this great cause. Whether you walk or crew—do it. People always say I should have done this or that volunteering. Don’t just say, 'I should have done it.' Do it!”
Merry anticipates helping with the 3-Day in the future. “It is indescribable to say what it’s like being with all these people that are concerned about curing breast cancer. It’s a great feeling to be a part of something that big!”