Armed with the power of pink and avengers-inspired t-shirts, members and supporters of the American Cancer Society (ACS) came together to rally in the battle against breast cancer at the 2019 Strides Against Breast Cancer Breakfast. The event served as the official kick-off for the upcoming Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk that will take place this fall.
“Our walk is really a way to celebrate our survivors and an opportunity for people to rally around those who have been touched by cancer, whether they’ve been diagnosed themselves, know someone who is affected, or just want to fight for a cure,” said Suzanne Brock, Senior Manager of Community Development for ACS. “More importantly, it raises funds for breast cancer research and all the programs that we have for survivors.”
Brock, like so many affiliates of ACS, draws her passion for the cause from personal experience.
“My sister was diagnosed with breast cancer and one of her treatments was funded by the American Cancer Society,” Brock said. “It’s a huge help for me and my family, and I’m sure for others as well.”
The breakfast featured several booths decked out in breast cancer awareness gear, inspiring everyone to don their pink capes and become breast cancer battling superheroes.
“My wife went through a partial mastectomy a few years back, so that’s how I first got involved with everything,” said Ave Almager, Real Men Wear Pink candidate. “She was just 32 when she went through it all, so a big thing on our end is letting women of all ages know that it’s important to be aware and check up on yourself.”
“This cause is near and dear to me,” Almager continued. “I hate cancer, and the more we can get people involved and get more funding for research, the closer we are to hopefully finding a way to cure it one day.”
Jenny Craig-Brown, Executive Team Leader at GreatNews.Life, was the morning’s lively emcee, inspiring everyone to unite, ignite, and fight against cancer.
“Cancer has taken so much from so many of us, but what it can’t do is steal our hope for the next research break through, diminish our passion for finding a cure, or stop us from fighting back and helping the American Cancer Society put an end to cancer once and for all,” Craig-Brown said. “We are all here united in this fight, ready to attack it from all angles and tackle cancer to the ground.”
Breast Radiologist Dr. Janu Dalal, born and raised here in Northwest Indiana, spoke about her experiences with cancer patients, sharing the many levels of inspiration she draws from them.
“This is my community and I feel very connected to the people here, especially those who come in for screenings,” Dalal said. “These women come in every single year for a mammogram, an examination that is not easy, and wait anxiously for the results to tell them that they may or may not have cancer. The strength it takes to be able to come in and do that year after year is so inspiring to me.”
One of the admirable common characteristics Dr. Dalal sees in her patients is their unwavering ability to take care of the people around them in the midst of their own fight.
“With every patient that I’ve ever told that they need a biopsy, the first thing they do is go into planning mode,” Dalal said. “They’re immediately making sure everyone around them is okay.”
That strength and resiliency lives on even after the cancer is long gone, as survivors continue to share their story and inspire others.
“They don’t have to come here and share their stories, but they do,” Dalal continued. “They take something so difficult and so deeply personal and turn it into something positive and inspiring; it’s those stories that keep me going every day.” The official Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk will take place October 20, 2019 at Hidden Lake park in Merrillville. To learn more about the American Cancer Society, become a team leader or join a walk team, or get more information https://www.cancer.org/involved/fundraise/making-strides-against-breast-cancer.html