Making Strides against breast cancer

Volunteers from flagship donor Burn Fitness hype the crowd with stretches before the walk. PHOTO/CHRISTIAN MILLER

OU News Bureau

Music and smiles greeted teams and individuals gathered at Rochester Municipal Park for Oakland County’s 7th annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk.

The American Cancer Society hosted the Oct. 7 event.

The society sponsors events that advocate breast cancer awareness, but none compares to the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer program. Functioning as the largest network of breast cancer awareness events in the nation, the program unites approximately 300 communities in the fight against the disease in the form of a 3- or 5-mile walk.

After weaving through the neighborhoods of downtown Rochester, participants were greeted with praise at the finish line and donations from sponsors.

Kerri Cross

“Last year we had about 1,300 people, 90 cancer survivors and 80 teams raise around $121,000 for the walk,” said Julie Featherston, Making Strides community development manager. “This year we have a goal of reaching over $127,000 in donations and registering 96 teams.”

While individuals and smaller teams account for a sizable portion of the money raised, it is flagship donors that haul in the big bucks. These flagship donors are companies that commit at least $10,000 to the walk, along with volunteer support.

This year’s largest flagship donor was Burn Fitness.

“All the dollars that are raised go to support the mission, programs and services of the American Cancer Society,” said Kerri Cross, senior manager, community development. “We really focus on research, programs that support survivors, and education in communities about screening, prevention and early detection to help catch cancer across the nation.”

Breast cancer affects about 222,000 women and 2,000 men annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 40,000 women and 400 men will lose their lives to the genetic disease this year alone.

Patty Ruwart is a 10-year breast cancer survivor. PHOTO/CHRISTIAN MILLER

Patty Ruwart, a breast cancer survivor of 10 years, emphasized the importance of regular checkups.

“They found it on my mammogram, and I had never felt a lump or anything, so I went in for a biopsy,” Ruwart said. “I didn’t have to have any radiation or chemotherapy, luckily, because they found it early, but those mammograms are important.”

Although medical treatment was the driving force behind Ruwart’s remission, she noted the role her family and other survivors played in her recovery.

“My husband was my caring angel at home,” Ruwart said. “Now, with any of the walks I’ve done, whether it’s the three-day breast cancer walk, or even this one, everyone is there to support each other and listen.”

The next Making Strides walk in southeast Michigan is at 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor.


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Posted by on Oct 11 2017. Filed under Featured article, Oakland County. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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