Roxy and Brooke at 2010 Komen Race for the Cure

Most of us probably have some kind of family traditions; however, how many of us can pinpoint the exact moment when those traditions started? For Roxy Hanson, senior performance test engineer at ProFlowers’ San Diego office, it was the moment she invited her young daughter Brooke to join her on her first Komen Race for the Cure. Roxy had no idea that it would become the genesis of something amazing that would continue nearly a decade later.

“When we very first started it was just, let’s go for a walk,” explains Roxy. “Now it’s kind of like our thing we do together.”

That tradition has carried them through nine Komen walks since 2000, and they will be walking again this year. Roxy says the 5k takes them a couple of hours to complete. Over the years she and Brooke have passed the time talking about school, boyfriends, even the weather. It has strengthened an already close relationship and provided the opportunity to support a worthwhile cause, while creating some lasting memories.

“I’ve been inspired by it,” says Brooke. “Even though you’re just one person you can make a difference. It’s created a stronger bond with my mom. We’re really close, but this has made us even closer. “

In addition to spending time with each other, witnessing the many survivors and walkers every year has helped steel Brooke’s support for the cause.

“When she was a sophomore in high school she said, ‘I’m gonna do this every year for the rest of my life, mom. It’s like my commitment,’” remembers proud mama Roxy.

When it came time for Brooke’s high school graduation, there was another family tradition she and her mom shared. As each of her children graduated from high school, Roxy has handmade a quilt inspired by some significant memory or a theme that has had an important impact on their life. And so, when it came time to make Brooke’s quilt, Roxy asked her daughter for design input. Brooke thought about it for a bit then told her mom she wanted her quilt to incorporate the many t-shirts she had received from each of the Komen walks. Roxy admits she was a little taken aback by her daughter’s choice.

The start of Brooke's Komen quilt.

“I was surprised,” said Roxy. “She could have picked field hockey or water polo, or any of the other activities she participate in, but she thought that would mean a lot. So I was surprised that she picked that, but I was also impressed.”

Brooke later decided against cutting up her treasured Komen shirts; however, Roxy found a way to transfer the logos, as well as some favorite photographs from the events onto fabric she could use to create the quilt. As Brooke explains her reasons for choosing Komen as the theme for her quilt, the value of the time invested in those many years of walking becomes obvious.

“It’s something none of my other siblings share with her, just me and my mom.”

Since that very first Komen event, Brooke has grown from a little girl into a nineteen year old woman. She plans to move to Tucson in the near future and join her boyfriend who is serving in the military, but she says she will continue to honor her commitment to the Komen cause.

“I hope to do it forever. Maybe I’ll come back to do it with my mom, or start a new team over in Tucson. I will definitely make an effort to do it.”