Citizen of the Week
Who would want to pay a $90 registration fee and raise $2,200 just to walk for three days?
Mary Lawnicki and Alexis (Bardo) Matt. The retired elementary school teachers have both been affected by breast cancer and they have pledged to raise money and awareness of the disease by walking in The Breast Cancer 3-Day walk in Philadelphia in October.
But because neither of them likes to ask for money, they decided to offer handmade purses for donations.
"What we can do is offer something ... kind of like public television when you pledge and you get a CD or something," Lawnicki explained.
For a donation of $30, $50 or $100, Lawnicki and Matt will give the donor a one-of-a-kind purse made from recycled jeans that have been embellished with donated jewelry and other supplies.
"Sandy's Second Act consignment shop was moving from Abington to Willow Grove and the owner let us take all the jeans before she moved," Matt said. The Ambler Y has also been collecting supplies for the women.
"By the time we cut it, line it, embellish it and add the nametags, it takes about two-and-a-half hours to make one," Lawnicki said.
So far, the pair has made about 30 purses and a few are on display at Wild Birds Unlimited in the Dreshertown Shopping Center and Paris Hair Salon in Glenside.
Lawnicki, of Fort Washington, and Matt, of Dresher, are avid walkers and have participated in the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Walk on Mother's Day weekends previously, but they decided to walk The 3 Day this year because they had more time now since retiring. And because they are both country music listeners, the pair joined 92.5 WXTU's Solemates team.
"It seemed like a unique way to support families and friends who have touched our lives and have had breast cancer," Matt said.
Lawnicki explained former "American Idol" contestant and country music star Kellie Pickler sings a song about red high heels and the pair made a purse with red-high-heel decorations on it and gave it to her recently at the radio station. Pickler then signed a purse for the couple to auction off later. Country music star Jason Michael Carroll has also signed a purse they will auction and the radio station is having country music stars who drop by the station sign purses that will be auctioned to raise money for The 3 Day.
Lawnicki and Matt, who taught together at Kutz Elementary School in Bucks County, walk about five miles a day, but they've both been off their feet for the past few weeks; Lawnicki has a broken toe and Matt has had a bout with sciatica.
But Lawnicki said it won't be a problem to get back out on the track to train for the 60-mile walk.
Matt said the pair will increase the distance they walk until they get to about 15 miles a day, at least once a week.
"We were in condition before this happened, so we'll be fine," Lawnicki said. "We know we can do it."
To make a donation and receive a purse from Matt and Lawnicki, contact them at email@example.com or call 215-646-8197. Every penny raised from the sale of the purses goes toward the pair's goal of raising $2,200 each for the walk. Donations are also tax deductible.
A link to the Solemate team's Web site can be found at www.wxtu.com and one can register or donate to The 3 Day at www.The3Day.org.