Stepping out (and striding) to support breast cancer
In a sea of pink T-shirts and clever accessorizing to match, the 30th annual Step ‘n Stride will kick off in style on Saturday, Oct. 19, the actual 30th anniversary of the organization.
The largest breast cancer walk in the Tri-State area is taking place at Hagerstown Community College at the Athletic, Recreation and Community Center.
The honorary chair for the event is the Adna Fulton Family, who own AC&T. Barbara Fulton died in 2006 after a long battle with breast cancer.
The lively fundraiser includes a banner contest, Zumba warm-up, health exhibitors, and a “Pink Store,” Survivor Tent with giveaways and refreshments.
“Our hope is that all breast cancer survivors come out so we can celebrate them and encourage them,” said Stacy Horst, executive director of BCA-CV.
Horst said they line up the newly diagnosed patients with the 25-plus year survivors in the back. The new patients are asked to turn around and are reminded that the longtime survivors “walked this road before.”
“It’s very powerful,” Horst said.
This year’s goal is to raise $150,000, with all of the funds supporting local Breast Cancer Awareness-Cumberland Valley Inc. programs for breast cancer patients and survivors. BCA-CV serves Western Maryland, the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia and southern Pennsylvania.
So far more than $51,000 in registration fees and donations have been raised. The current total for business sponsorships is $11,000, with about $75,000 expected from major donors with company matching.
There are programs geared to three different phases – early detection for those with little or no medical insurance; after-diagnosis programs for breast cancer patients; and events and meetings to support ongoing survivorship.
Since Jan. 1, BCA-CV has given out 74 new wigs at Barb’s Boutique, which is open to all cancer survivors; given out 24 bras and prosthetics to mastectomy patients who didn’t have reconstruction; paid for 156 mammograms and paid for 44 ultrasounds.
They have seen 107 newly diagnosed patients in the Moving Forward program and provided $25 gift cards for the Dinner’s Ready meal program.
The mission statement for BCA-CV, “We are here so that no one has to face breast cancer alone” will be evident at Step ‘n Stride.
Registered participants have the option of walking four 1-1/4 mile loops around the HCC campus or hitting their stride on the ARCC’s indoor track. 2019 Step ‘n Stride T-shirts are guaranteed for those who registered before Sept. 30 and on a first-come, first-served basis to those who register in advance.
Walkers can register online or the day of the walk before 10 a.m. Participants are encouraged to collect donations for their efforts in support of BCA-CV and/or in honor or memory of a friend or loved one.
“It’s incredible the community support we have. Everything is free to patients and we could not do this without community support,” Horst said.
Top photo: Cancer survivors, families and friends participate last year in the Cumberland Valley’s Step ‘n Stride Breast Cancer Walk. (Herald-Mail file photo)