CUMBERLAND — About 50 teams and more than 600 participants donned pink on Saturday to advance the fight against breast cancer during the annual 5K fundraiser walk held at Canal Place.
Almost $70,000 was raised during the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk and participant numbers were up 100 from last year, according to Jennifer Hare, volunteer publicity chair for the event.
Hare also said that more money was still coming in.
“Together, this morning, we are survivors, caregivers, corporate and community partners and individuals who have gathered for one purpose — to fight breast cancer,” said Sue Rudd, one of the volunteer co-chairs of the event. “This event does not just happen; we had a dedicated group of volunteers who led the way.”
The American Cancer Society has invested more than $450 million in breast cancer research since 1971 and has played a major part in many breast cancer research breakthroughs, according to Gloria Jetter Crockett, state vice president for ACS.
“Breast cancer research projects are currently under way at institutions across the country, thanks in large part to the funds raised by Making Strides Against Breast Cancer participants like all of you,” said Crockett.
Participants walked along the Great Allegheny Passage to the Narrows and back.
A 10-person team named Kristen’s Krew was composed of family members that formed to help support Kristen Sangiovanni of Westminster, who is an 18-month breast cancer survivor, according to Rudd. Rudd was a member of that team.
Rudd said she’s been participating in the walk for many years. Team members “walk for everyone,” Rudd said, and added that men can also get breast cancer.
The walk kicked off in high gear with a performance from the Will’s Mountain Cloggers, followed by cheer routines from Mountain Ridge and Fort Hill cheerleaders and concluded with a routine by Ridgeley Rams cheerleaders.
At the end of the event, Carol Morgan, one of the volunteer co-chairs of the event, asked the crowd to join her in signing “Happy Birthday” to the survivors.
“As you know, the American Cancer Society is committed to creating a world with less cancer and more birthdays,” said Morgan. “There are now over 12 million cancer survivors that will be celebrating their birthdays this year because of all of you.”
Other groups like Team Laura HS of Allegany College of Maryland participated in the event by selling a variety of items that were donated to them, including T-shirts that were provided by Cahoots, located on Virginia Avenue, to help raise funds for breast cancer.
Team Laura was formed to help support Laura Garrison Beem, who has breast, kidney and colon cancer.
“Laura never complains about having cancer and lives life to the fullest,” said Kendra Ellis, a member of Team Laura. “She is always worried about trying to help others even though she needs help herself.
“We just support her and love her to pieces,” added Deb Mayer, a member of Team Laura.
Local businesses that were flagship sponsors for the event included The PharmaCare Network, AES Warrior Run, Hunter Douglas, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, WFRB-FM, WTBO-AM and GO 106-FM.
Contact Elaine Blaisdell at firstname.lastname@example.org.