Small steps for participants, large strides for breast cancer support

Alyssa Stencavage, Assistant Life Editor

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Rain or shine, Kirby Park will be filled with energy and people on Oct. 20, as the Strides Against Breast Cancer walk of the Wyoming Valley welcomes participants again.

Registration for the event will begin at 8 a.m. with festivities to follow, and the walk, which is a 5 K, will begin at 9 a.m.

What is Making Strides Against Breast Cancer? It is the American Cancer Society’s nationwide series of walking events to raise funds and awareness to end breast cancer, and anyone can participate.

“Wilkes University is a Campus Against Breast Cancer school, and is a university that actively participates in Strides in October every year for breast cancer awareness,” Megan Boone, Coordinator of Student Development, said.

Along with that, Wilkes also take part in other activities in the fight against cancer, including Daffodil Day in the spring – which raises funds for a lot of American Cancer Society activities – Relay for Life and Endure for a Cure.

In order to be a supportive campus, Wilkes is involved in the Cancer Action Network advocacy group all year long. The purpose of this is to keep cancer awareness in the political system and helps keep funding at the forefront of bills and registration.

Something unique about the walk that makes it unlike other events of its kind is that all funds raised during the event stay in the area to fund research and support programs. Proceeds also go to lower, underinsured women to get mammograms. Through the Strides fundraising, women going through chemotherapy because of breast cancer are provided with wigs and transportation to doctor appointments.

An important aspect of the Strides Against Breast Cancer is its ability to provide emotional support. It is a mentor-like gathering, where new patients can come together with survivors and celebrate life. They share their passion and inspiration to keep moving forward and beat the disease, supporting each other in the process.

“Students may not be personally affected, but have family members, relatives and friends who may be suffering from the disease,” Boone said. “It’s our goal to let students know that the university supports them.”

After all, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, other than skin cancer, and is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer.

Like any effort that strives to accomplish something, Strides Against Breast Cancer has three ultimate goals that it hopes to meet with the help and participation of others.

The first is to simply get students to participate and therefore educate them about breast cancer and the resources Wilkes provide. Showing strong support for those who are suffering from the disease is the second priority of the walk. Finally, an event like this would not be able to happen or thrive without funds, which is the third thing Strides tries to succeed in doing. As it is part of the American Cancer Society, it seeks to support both the society and itself.

For more information on getting involved in Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, visit http://makingstrides.acsevents.org.

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