When dairy farmers Corty and Pinky Van- Dyk moved to Sumner in 1966, they didn’t realize their family would grow from six children to 50 members who would create
a lasting legacy of love in the community. The third generation had come along by 1986 when Pinky learned she had breast cancer.
“It was scary,” said Ida McLeary, Pinky’s eldest child. Although Pinky had a 4 percent chance of survival at the time, she lived another 26 years. But by 2008 Ida’s sister Laura Steinthal had breast cancer and their mother’s cancer had returned. On their behalf, family members participated in the Sumner Downtown Association’s breast cancer fundraiser called Come Walk With Me. Its 200 participants brought in just over $3,500.
The VanDyks felt inspired and began to work. In 2009, Ida and her sister Gertie Huff co-chaired the committee, and Gertie’s daughter Brittany made the walk her senior class project at Sumner High School. They drew 350 participants and brought in $7,832. Laura died in November of that year, and their dedication intensified.
In 2010, the Good Samaritan Foundation—serving MultiCare’s Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup—adopted Come Walk With Me as one of its official events, and it yielded $22,000. With the VanDyk family as the driving force, the event earned $54,000 in 2011 and had 744 inspired participants.
While other walks benefit research, this one focuses on providing free mammograms, wigs, hats, prostheses and more, through the MultiCare Regional Cancer Center at Good Samaritan Hospital. But at its core, it’s all about a family offering love to patients, in memory of two beloved women. Pinky VanDyk died in January 2012.
“They had lives and they touched people,” Ida said. “That’s still there. The love you have—it goes to someone else.”
Join Come Walk With Me on Saturday, October 6, 2012.