Wilmington walk raises money for breast cancer
Published: Monday, October 22, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 22, 2012 21:10
With runners doting bejeweled tutus, glittery fairy wings, feather boas and pink wigs, the 10th Annual Wilmington Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk and Run looked more like a psychedelic music festival than a 5K run.
This past Sunday, about 6,000 runners gathered under an arc of pink and white balloons, dancing, stretching and jumping up and down to keep warm while they waited for the foghorn to sound. Under sunny skies and temperatures in the low 50s, they began running the 3.1 miles at the Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park.
According to event manager Lindsay Freeman, the American Cancer Society founded the run 20 years ago as a way for the group to raise awareness about breast cancer and to increase funding for the association’s research and services. This year members raised $70,000 from the event.
Freeman says the walk is dedicated to inspire those who have been impacted by the disease.
“I want them to feel there is hope for those who have been diagnosed, I want them to feel as though there’s hope for the other men and women in their lives—that they will one day live in a world without breast cancer,” Freeman says. “I want them to see how passionate fellow community members, the local cancer society is there in their local community, fighting this disease every day.”
Those who were not running in the event still showed their support by dancing to pop music emanating from the 99.5 WJBR radio station’s tent and from local bluesy folk band “Splashing Pearls”.
Linda Edwards of Edinburg, N.Y., nodded her head in rhythm with the band’s electric mandolin. She attended the event for the 12th consecutive year with her two sisters, both of whom are breast cancer survivors.
“It’s a good reason for the three of us to get together and celebrate life,” Edwards says.
Kids spent time in the crafts tent, where they could decorate pumpkins, get their face painted or have pink hair extensions put in.
Adults could also receive gifts such as a drawstring given away by the ACS while Chevrolet donated one pink Camaro pace car.
Tia Joseph, of Bear, Del., oversaw the Heart of Hope, a five-foot tall wire heart strung with pink flags. Her station drew people of all ages, from five-year-olds to senior citizens, who wrote and hung messages honoring loved ones who battled, or are continuing to battle, breast cancer.
“All our responses were really positive,” Joseph says. “Everyone thought it was an awesome idea and was really receptive.”
Joseph attended the event to honor her aunt, a nine-year survivor. She says the event has grown by “leaps and bounds” since she first started volunteering for the society eight years ago.
Freeman says there has been a 32 percent decrease in deaths from breast cancer since 1992, the same year ACS started the event. She also says the survivor tent is her favorite feature of the event, which was a stand that honored the survivors by offering them an opportunity to enter raffles and gave them cupcakes and other items.
“Seeing survivors come out with their family, friends and loved ones, and what an inspiration they are, how much hope they bring to others around them,” Freeman says. “It’s a reminder of why we do this, why we make strides. It’s so fulfilling to see others there because of what you’ve been doing, and knowing you can help them get through their journey.”
Freeman says the fight is not over for many men and women, however.
“One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime,” Freeman says. “We need to continue raising awareness about this disease and continue raising funding for research so we can discover treatments and one day, a cure.”