Thousands of people with different backgrounds and stories recently gathered and prepared to fight against the threats of a deadly disease.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) held its third annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K walk at the Agriculture and Forestry Museum. The event is designed to raise awareness and funds to combat breast cancer. This year’s major sponsors included BankPlus and WJTV Newschannel 12.
Kelly Lindsay, the ACS media specialist for the state of Mississippi and five year cancer survivor, said this year’s attendance was an improvement over the turnout in previous years. “We’ve doubled our numbers from our first year to our second year,” she said. “We hope to have about 2,500 participants this year.”
Lindsay said that last year, the Jackson area raised $75,000 through the Making Strides program alone. According to the press release, four million walkers have raised over $280 million since 1993. The funds are used for up-to-date breast cancer research, information and treatment.
Many participating in the walk were cancer survivors. Gwendolyn Sanders an eight-year cancer survivor, expressed her feelings about defeating the disease. “It’s truly a blessing to be able to come back and give back to the American Cancer Society as a volunteer,” said Sanders. “We can fight breast cancer with early detection, make sure you have your mammogram, make sure you have your follow up with your doctor, that’s the most important thing to do.”
Evelyn Lightner-Cullins, a cancer survivor for more than 29 years, described the importance of the event. “I think it’s a very good event,” she said. “It makes people aware of the fact that everybody can get breast cancer, men and women…and also it raises money to help find a cure for cancer.”
Both Sanders and Lightner-Cullins have family members who have either suffered or died from some sort of cancer. Neither have given up hope about overcoming the disease and living their lives. “Breast cancer affected me eight years ago; it did not stop me from living,” said Sanders. “In 2002, I had a set of identical twins, and they’re blessed because they’re living, number one, and also because they’re healthy children.”
Lightner-Cullins attributes her survival to a positive attitude among other things. “Needless to say the good Lord took care of all these things you know, and you just don’t worry about it,” she said. “You just move on.”