A sea of pink filled the Castleton University Pavilion as people gathered for the beginning of the "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer" annual walk. On this day, the American Cancer Society brought together an event of survivors of breast cancer, their friends and family, and those who wanted to support bringing awareness to breast cancer and working to find a cure.
David Carmichael, a member of the American cancer society, and one over seeing the event, marveled at the number of people who came to the event.
“If you were at the event today at the start 11 o’clock a few folks coming in, 11:30 a few more, but by the time the walk was happening, this facility was just packed,” Carmichael said.
The event started with registration and some activities for those who were there at 11:00. The day's walk began at 12:30 with the opening ceremonies and the recognition of those who are breast cancer survivors. During this time, those who survived breast cancer were asked to come forward to be recognized and presented with a pink pin carnation.
There was true emotion and many tears shed as the MC read off how many years people had survived. Starting at up to one year, then five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five, and above that. During the calling of the survivors, Carmichael stood amazed seeing the survivors coming forward.
“When I saw the first under a year survivors coming in you saw five, six, seven that's quite a few. Then you see the tens and fifteens and it is just wow, and that with the band the Pitch Bender playing “Over the Rainbow” as survivors are lining up, you couldn’t help by get a little teary eyed, because this is what it is about,” Carmichael said.
All who attended and participated in this event have a different reason for being there. Some are there because they are a breast cancer survivor, family or friends there to support those who have been going through breast cancer, and there are others there walking for someone they have lost to breast cancer.
One walker, Sherry Lemay, does this event because she wants to make a difference.
“To help! I have two sisters who've got breast cancer, so far they are both surviving right now. I had brain cancer 10 years ago and lung cancer 9 years ago so I am all for cancer research, breast or otherwise,” Lemay said.
At the end of the day, those who did the walk had walked over four miles. There were over 400 people who participated in the event and after it was all said and done, they had raised over $50,000 to help raise awareness and find a cure for breast cancer. Carmichael tells of how it is a foundation like the American Cancer Society and events like the Making Strides walk, that give people hope.
“When you feel helpless, and organization this and an event like this, gives us all a chance to feel like we can make a difference and are making a difference, and clearly you see it in the faces of the survivors,” Carmichael said.