Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk held

Amy Freeze has the story.
October 21, 2013 6:55:35 AM PDT
Hundreds of communities across the country joined together Sunday for one common goal: putting an end to breast cancer.

The American Cancer Society 'Making Strides Against Breast Cancer' walk is the largest network of breast cancer awareness events in the nation.

The walks help raise money for research, and honor those who have battled the disease.

Tens of thousands gathered in Central Park Sunday morning for the 20th anniversary of the event.

"I'm here to support all my friends that no longer have birthdays with us," said Carol Smith Ellis of Queens.

Across the Tri-State, walkers rallied. Reporter Kristin Thorne saw them in Flushing Meadows, Carolina Leid in Orchard Beach, and Eyewitness News' own cancer survivor, Stacey Sager was in Central Park along with Anchor Diana Williams, who has been there every step as WABC-TV celebrates two decades of Making Strides.

Early detection was the biggest message that was spread on Sunday.

"It doesn't matter if you don't think you can pay, you will get what you need," said President of NYC Health and Hospitals, Alan Aviles, "when you are over the age of 40, you should really do that."

Over the past 20 years, events like Making Strides have raised $528 Million for breast cancer. WABC-TV is a proud sponsor of the walk.

On Saturday, mothers from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut took part in another fundraiser - the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Rye.

"We've been taking so much and receiving so much," said Sandy Hook mother Satra Sampson Arokium.

Wearing green and pink to represent Sandy Hook, they call themselves "Sole Ryeders", and are unified to find a cure for breast cancer. However, their souls were touched by a group of women from Rye who reached out to the mothers of Sandy Hook, letting them know that hope is still possible.

Many of the mothers rushed to the Sandy Hook school last December following the shooting, unwaware of the scope of the tragedy. Now, their mom-to-mom connection has given them a chance to share their grief and emotions, as well as heal.

These breast cancer survivors realize this year's Avon walk means more than they have ever imagined. They signed up for the 39-mile walk proving they have the love and strength to go the distance. Their journey began before sunrise, but every stride, the women of Rye and Newtown take is proof that from adversity comes perseverance.

"From day one I told my children we will move on," said breast cancer survivor Audra Didierbarth.