CALEDONIA, Mich. (WOOD) — Families from around West Michigan have seen their loved ones’ names on display this week in various parts of the state due to three women taking on an extraordinary challenge.

The trio is partaking in the Border to Bridge Run, running from the Indiana border to the Mackinac Bridge to raise money for breast cancer research. 

Becky Bravata, Lieschen Jacobs and Liz Burnis use their shared love of running and personal stories to support each other every step of the way. Like most Americans, they have all been touched by breast cancer through friends or family.

Burnis has a sister and a cousin who are breast cancer survivors.

“More recently, another younger cousin lost her life to breast cancer,” Burnis said. “It compels me to be a part of this opportunity to really bring improvement to women’s lives who are battling this terrible disease.”

Two years ago, Jacobs lost a friend to breast cancer who left behind six children. So she wanted to find a way to make an impact.

“If we combine our love for running and pair it with a cause, especially the Van Andel Institute right here in Grand Rapids, it is doing some really incredible things,” said Jacobs.

The money the women raise through this endeavor will go to the Van Andel Institute to support breast cancer research.

Bravata is a middle school teacher in Caledonia who coaches basketball and cross-country.

“I just really have always challenged my kids to go for hard things and go big. Put your mind to it and put your feet to the ground and you can get it done,” Bravata said.

She and the other women have welcomed various runners who have joined them as they pass through various towns and cities. The women will cover more than 300 miles over eight consecutive days.

They plan to reach the Mackinac Bridge Saturday. They passed through Grand Rapids Monday, averaging about 42 miles per day.

They are averaging about 42 miles per day, passing through Grand Rapids on Monday and planning to reach the Mackinac Bridge on Saturday.

Covering that much distance is not easy, but it is a choice the women are grateful to be able to make.

“Women who are fighting breast cancer and receiving chemo and radiation don’t have a choice. They are fighting for their lives so we can go through eight tough days and the challenges that these days are bringing us. They’re doing so much more,” said Jacobs.

Women run from IN border to Mackinac Bridge to raise money for breast cancer research