In 2013, a group of passionate volunteers led by Marco Island American Cancer Society board member Monte Lazarus worked together with the American Cancer Society to hold a “Luau Against Breast Cancer.” For a first-time event we had a wonderful response from the community with support from First National Bank of the Gulf Coast, Hammock Bay Golf and Country Club and the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort and Spa. This year’s event will once again be held in October (date/location TBD) and the first planning meeting will take place on June 23, 2014 in the Marco ACS office. We are actively looking for volunteers and sponsors to assist us with this very important event. The funds raised will be used exclusively to fight breast cancer and will be donated to the Naples Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk to be held on October 11, 2014. If you would like to help us plan or sponsor the Luau Against Breast Cancer, please contact Sue at the ACS office for more details. In the meantime, I thought I would share with you a little bit about the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk.
In 1984, Massachusetts cancer survivor Margery Gould Rath wanted to find a way to celebrate fellow cancer survivors by raising funds for the American Cancer Society. Working with a committee of fellow survivors and other volunteers, “Margie” created a “move-along-a-thon” called Making Strides Against Cancer to bring people together in an event to move the fight against cancer forward. The first event, held in Boston, drew 200 participants and instantly became an annual city tradition.
In 1993, the event officially became known as the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, attracting 4,000 walkers at events in Boston and in Manchester, New Hampshire. Since then, Margie’s vision has inspired 8 million walkers to participate in Making Strides events in more than 270 communities across the country, raising more than $460 million to fight breast cancer. Margie remained a dedicated Making Strides volunteer until she lost her battle with cancer in 2001.
The progress we’re making because of Making Strides supporters like Margie is nothing short of remarkable. But it’s no time to rest. That’s why we need your help. More walkers mean the next big breast cancer research breakthrough. More walkers mean free lodging and rides to treatment for breast cancer patients who need it. More walkers fundraising means more survivors who will celebrate more birthdays.
Here’s what you can expect to see at the Naples Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk:
PASSION: We’re determined to make this breast cancer’s last century. Passion drives us to walk in and raise money for the Making Strides program. Passion for those we wish we could have back in our lives, for those fighting the disease today, and for a tomorrow without breast cancer.
POWER: Making Strides walks gives us power to make a real difference in the battle to end breast cancer. Because silence won’t finish this fight – action will. Not only are you helping those who are currently fighting the disease, you’re helping everyone who hopes to never hear the words, “You have breast cancer.”
PURPOSE: When you walk and raise money for the Making Strides program, you join more than one million volunteers across the country whose common purpose is to beat this disease. Together, we can finish the fight against breast cancer.
The Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk of Naples is a powerful event to raise awareness and funds to end breast cancer. When you walk with us, you are joining the largest network of breast cancer awareness events in the nation, uniting nearly 300 communities to finish the fight. Thanks in part to Making Strides participants and event sponsors, we are making remarkable progress. Breast cancer death rates have declined by 34 percent since 1989.
Last year, nearly 1.2 million Making Strides walkers turned awareness into action by helping to raise more than $60 million for the American Cancer Society to save more lives from breast cancer. Today, we’re leading the way in transforming breast cancer from deadly to treatable and from treatable to preventable. The progress we are making together is nothing short of remarkable. But we need your help to finish the fight.
So Marco Island, this is our opportunity to raise funds for breast cancer research, treatment and preventative methods that will help women in our community who are survivors or currently fighting the disease. Together we can make a difference right here on Marco Island. If you’d like to form a team, go online to makingstrideswalk.org/naples or contact Sue at the office. There will be a kick-off event on August 27 at 5:30 p.m. at The Club at Olde Cypress for anyone interested in participating. I hope to see you at both the Luau and at Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. I would love to have a big group of Marco walkers joining us.
This is an ongoing series of columns dedicated to informing the Marco Island community about The American Cancer Society, the nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy, and service. The Marco Island American Cancer Society office is located at 583 Tallwood, Unit 101 and is open daily from 9AM-5PM. For more information about volunteer opportunities, events and services please contact Lisa Honig at 239-642-8800 ext. 3891.