PALMDALE – After months of being told “it’s just a mass that will go away,” Thressa Ward was shocked when doctors diagnosed her with advanced breast cancer in December 2010. For Lorie Brown, the devastating news came in 2006 and the cancer eventually spread to her lymph nodes.
Ward and Brown were two of several women who wore feather boas and tiaras Wednesday morning to symbolize their triumph over breast cancer.
The survivors were joined by more than 100 supporters and local dignitaries at a kick-off rally to launch Antelope Valley’s inaugural Making Strides against Breast Cancer event, a noncompetitive walk scheduled for Saturday, October 19 at the Palmdale Amphitheatre. Starting at 7 a.m., teams of walkers will complete a 5K course and take part in activities before and after the walk. Funds raised from the walk will help the American Cancer Society provide free information and services for those living with breast cancer in the Antelope Valley.
”Teams can raise money for the walk but there is no fundraising minimum,” said Marissa Toth of the American Cancer Society. “It’s a free event open to the community to show support to breast cancer survivors and patients.”
“One of the reasons for this campaign is to make the community aware of the resources that are available, because most people are not aware of what the American Cancer Society can do,” said Jo Ann Baker, Publicity Chair for Making Strides against Breast Cancer/Antelope Valley.
The kick-off rally was held to solicit community support for the October event and to encourage residents to sign up for teams or to create their own teams to participate in Making Strides Against Breast Cancer/ Antelope Valley, Baker said.
Community activist Waunette Cullors was one of many residents who signed up at the rally to be a team leader.
“Our team is going to be Team Living Stone out of Living Stone Church, and we’ll be soliciting our members to join in and support this cause,” Cullors said, adding that she had an aunt who had survived breast cancer.
Lancaster Councilmember Sandra Johnson also attended the kick-off rally and said she would be signing up a team from the University of Antelope Valley.
“The American Cancer Society is very important because this issue touches everybody in some shape or form,” Johnson said, adding that she had a grandmother who passed away from breast cancer and a UAV colleague who was currently fighting the disease.
“The suffering she goes through and her courage has encouraged all of us, not just at the university but in our community, to really come together as one for this cause,” Johnson continued.
To join a team, to register your own team, or to donate to the inaugural Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Antelope Valley, click here.
To learn more about the American Cancer Society, call 1-800-227-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.