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'Fight Like a Girl' to stop cancer

Jenny Lessman, left, and Jessica Peterson, wear "Fight Like a Girl" t-shirts, promoting their efforts to fight breast cancer. They will take part in a 60-mile cancer walk during the weekend of Aug. 19-21.

Jenny Lessman and Jessica Peterson have been thinking pink for the past two months, and it has paid off.

In a couple of weeks, the two Sanford Health employees will participate in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure 60-mile breast cancer awareness walk to be held in the Twin Cities.

Before they could participate though, their goal was to raise $4,600, and they have essentially done so -- they are just a few hundred dollars short of their goal.

"It's a big relief to know that we have our fundraising pretty much wrapped up and we're gonna be able to walk," Lessman said.

Fundraising efforts began in June and escalated throughout the summer, at various neighborhood events and small town festivals.

Lessman and Peterson ordered shirts that said "Fight Like a Girl" and they were able to sell hundreds of them, which accounted for most of the money raised.

"People are gobbling up these shirts, we're just so excited," Lessman said. "We can't keep them in stock."

To go along with the shirts, cup cozies with the same message also contributed toward the profits.

"We're just going crazy with sales," Lessman said.

The duo, who gave their team the name "S.O.B." for "Saving Our Boobs," were also able to raise more than $900 through the Susan G. Komen 3-day for the Cure website.

Additionally, Sanford Health patients donated money to their team as soon as they heard of their mission.

"We've had people just randomly stop by and donate," Lessman said.

By the time Frazee Turkey Days came around, they had raised enough money, but they still worked an ice cream booth with donations from area businesses, therefore all the money raised there was straight fund-raising profit.

"We are so, so excited, that's a big stress relief. It's a huge thanks to the community for supporting us," Lessman said. "People are just so gracious and willing to help."

With many people passionate about breast cancer awareness, it gives the Detroit Lakes walkers that much more motivation to get ready for the 60-mile walk.

It also hits home on a personal level for the two of them.

As a physician assistant in the OBGYN department and someone who carries the genetic mutation for breast and ovarian cancer, Lessman said supporting the cause means high-risk patients can be more proactive with the testing.

Peterson doesn't carry the genetic mutation, but is also considered a high-risk patient because of her family history -- her mother and aunt both are breast cancer survivors.

"If we were to have it, we would find it early," she said.

The S.O.B team will "fight like a girl" with thousands of walkers supporting the same mission on the 60-mile walk, slated for the weekend of Aug. 19-21.