Monday, 29 October 2012

Cancer walk a success in Montgomery

Perfect weather, a huge crowd and record donations combined to make the third annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event a success from start to finish.

Held once again at Huntingdon College on Saturday morning, the fundraiser set new standards, but organizers were confident that next year?s event will be even more successful.

Attendance at this year?s event topped 2,000 walkers while donations reached $85,000. Both exceeded last year?s totals.

?We are very pleased with how well everything turned out,? event coordinator Laura Walter said Saturday afternoon. ?In fact, we?ve outgrown Huntingdon College and will probably hold this at a different location next year.?

Walter praised Huntingdon officials for allowing her organization to hold the first three on campus.

?Huntingdon has been just wonderful to work with,? Walter said. ?They handled the setup and the cleanup. We certainly appreciate their help.?

Pink once again was the color of the day. Participants showed up in ?Think Pink? T-shirts to tie in with pink shorts, hats and even pets wearing the same color.

Walker estimated that most of the 250 goodie bags were picked up by cancer survivors. She also said 140 teams took part, ranging from two people to 50 representing Regions Bank, one of the leading sponsors of the event. Baptist Health was the primary sponsor.

Several walkers arrived from long distances, including nine women who were members of the ?Benning Boobie Brigade? from Fort Benning in Georgia.

The group, made up of wives and children, left the sprawling Army base before sunup and arrived in time to take part in warm-up exercises in their unique T-shirts.

Watching from a swing on a hill were three other survivors, including one woman who has bounced back from not one, but two, bouts with cancer and a man happy to have survived World War II.

Anne Cartas, 67, said she has been free of breast cancer for 23 years and also has defeated ovarian cancer, detected eight years ago.

Next to her on the swing was breast cancer survivor Pat Hill. She sat next to her husband, Bob Hill, who spent part of the war in the Navy transporting Marines from ships to shore during some of the bloodiest fighting in the South Pacific.

Among the early arrivals at the event was breast cancer survivor Anita Poole, who has been to all three Making Strides walk-a-thons.

?I could feel the lump right away, and my doctor was suspicious, too,? said Poole. ?I go to the Carmichael Imaging Center, and my test showed I had breast cancer.?

Poole said survival depends, in part, on early detection, followed by quick treatment. She said that is one reason she enjoys taking part in the walk-a-thon each year.

She brought along her cocker spaniel, Maggie, who was decked out in a pink outfit of her own.

Walter said funds raised at the event are used for research, education and services to help drive home the point that awareness and early treatment are among the best ways to defeat breast cancer.

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