The 20th annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Concord was held on Sunday, October 14, and more than 5,000 participants came out despite the weather to walk and show their support for those currently battling the disease, to celebrate the survivorship of many, and to remember and honor those who have been lost to the disease.
Concord’s event is one of the 270 American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer events held throughout the country. The first Making Strides events were held in Boston and New Hampshire. In 1993, there were 29 participants at Memorial Field in Concord for the first Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event. There were more volunteers that day than actual participants, and they raised $3,000 for the American Cancer Society.
Over the past 20 years, the greater Concord community has embraced and supported this event and made it into what it is today, the top per-capita fundraising Making Strides event in the country, raising in excess of half a million dollars at each of the previous five events.
The American Cancer Society is the largest volunteer health care organization in the country, and the Concord’s Making Strides event is planned and run by a group of dedicated volunteers. So when the American Cancer Society was deciding which Making Strides event the volunteer National Chair of the American Cancer Society, Dr. Cynthia LeBlanc, would attend, it was only logical that she would come to New England where Making Strides started and attend Concord’s event.
Dr. LeBlanc addressed the crowd to deliver a message of appreciation from the American Cancer Society and to thank the participants for raising the funds that allow the American Cancer Society to be the leader in the fight to end breast cancer and all cancers – investing the most in research of any non-governmental organization to find, prevent, treat, and cure the disease.
Today, one in every two women diagnosed with breast cancer reaches out to the American Cancer Society for help and support. The American Cancer Society is in every community, providing free information and services and ensuring access to mammograms for women who need them.
As the rain started up again, volunteer Event Chair Kimberly Laro of Andover reminded participants that they mattered: “Making Strides matters to our community. It matters to all those who have loved and lost someone to breast cancer. To those who are currently battling breast cancer, Making Strides matters. And to those celebrating their journey through and beyond breast cancer, Making Strides matters.”
As participants returned from their walk, bringing their own sunshine in their hearts and brightening up the dreary fall day with the bright pink Making Strides t-shirts they wore with pride, it was time to celebrate their fundraising success.
“Each year, our goal is to raise one more dollar than we did the year before. Last year we raised a record-breaking $568,089. We never lose sight of the fact that behind each dollar is a story, and behind each story is a person, and that is why we make strides,” Kimberly explained to the crowd. The 2012 season fundraising total: an amazing $613,763! Volunteers held up the number with smiles on their faces and tears in their eyes as the confetti swirled and loud speakers played I’m A Believer.
Funds raised at Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event fund critical breast cancer research and programs and patients services of the American Cancer Society. For more information call 800 227-2345 or visit Cancer.org. Save the date for next year’s event – Sunday, October 20, 2013.