Thursday, August 14, 2008

Making Strides Kickoff

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk. Yesterday, I attended the kickoff breakfast for the October event at New York's Marriott Marquis hotel in Times Square.

I’ve participated in the five-mile walk in Central Park since 1996, when my late beloved mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Over the years, I’ve walked in memory of her, and in honor of the amazing women in my life who are survivors of the disease -- my sister-in-law, my cousin (diagnosed at the age of 40) and my aunt.

Hundreds of us striders filled the Marriott Marquis’ Broadway Ballroom for yesterday’s breakfast. WABC-TV anchor Diana Williams introduced a panel of speakers whose powerful stories reinforced the importance of events like Making Strides. A nine-year survivor diagnosed on her 50th birthday expressed gratitude that her recovery has enabled her to care for her disabled daughter. A more recent survivor was overjoyed to be at the breakfast, having made a videotaped appearance last year because she was undergoing treatment at the time.

Among the sobering statistics presented -- Congress only provides funding for 1 in 5 low-income or uninsured women to get a mammogram. The American Cancer Society provides access to free mammograms. It’s one of many life-saving programs supported by money raised during the Making Strides walk.

Last year’s walk in Central Park raised $2.9 million for the fight against breast cancer. This year, the ACS has set its sights on crossing the $3.2 million mark. On October 19th, I’ll be rounding up my best gal pals and putting on my walking shoes to help the ACS reach this ambitious goal, and my own personal goal of $4,500 (I raised about $4,000 last year). Hope you’ll join me in my efforts by clicking on the link to the right.

I’m looking forward to Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, because every step taken is one step closer to making this disease what it should be -- a thing of the past.

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