Sarah’s Soldiers

By Kimberly Laro, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer
Emily, Kimberly, Roger III, and Marissa Laro at Making Strides 2012. Photo: Chantal Caron

I am a Sarah’s Soldier. Being part of the Sarah’s Soldier team is what brought me to my first Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event in 2000.

Over the past 12 years, I have had many different roles in this event. I have been a team member, the team captain, a member of the Planning Committee working with teams, the volunteer Director of Publicity, and for the past two years, the volunteer Event Chair.

Through it all, there have been two constants: Sarah’s Soldiers, and my three children, Roger III, Emily, and Marissa. In 2000, we walked our first Making Strides together. Marissa, my youngest, was five, and she walked all five miles with a smile on her face, never once complaining and at times running ahead, encouraging us to keep up.

Having cancer is hard. Raising money and walking five miles is not. Through the years, my children have raised their own money, held their own fundraiser, recruited team members, and volunteered their time, getting up in the wee hours of the morning to set up for countless Kickoff and Making Strides walks. They have supported me and made me proud.

I have always felt an obligation to make strides against breast cancer, because I can. There are many things in life you don’t get a choice in, like being diagnosed with cancer. By participating in Making Strides, I feel I am making a choice to make a difference in the lives of so many who have been touched by breast cancer.

When I got up on Strides morning last month, I found a note and a gift from my daughter Emily: a bracelet with the inscription Thrill, Amaze, Inspire. I have to say it was pretty thrilling to announce the record breaking $613,763! I am amazed by the generosity of people, doing and giving whatever they can to this event. I am inspired by all the cancer survivors who make strides.

I believe there are two ways to become a survivor: You can survive the disease, or you can survive the loss. Survivors have given so much to this disease, physically and emotionally, but they continue to give back and inspire us all.

As the volunteer Chair, I would like to thank the Andover community for its continued support of this event. As a mom, I would like to thank my children for their continued support of me. I am a Sarah’s Soldier, and I am blessed to have had my children by my side as we continue Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.

Thank you,

Kimberly Laro