‘Making Strides’ annual walk brings thousands together

CINCINNATI – The American Cancer Society will unite thousands of participants for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Greater Cincinnati’s 19th annual walk on Saturday, Oct. 24 at Yeatman’s Cove. Registration and a program to kick off the event will begin at 8 a.m. The non-competitive walk will start at 9 a.m.

“This is a celebration like nothing I’ve ever seen. It’s a lot of fun. You’ll see 15,000 to 20,000 people there – from the youngest babies to the oldest grandparents. It really is a family affair,” said Hannah Wallace, community manager, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.

The three-mile walk serves to celebrate breast cancer survivors and to honor those that have been lost. It also provides an opportunity for participants to get together to raise funds to help find a cure, and it improves the quality of life for those, who are affected by cancer, she said.

“Making Strides is an event for everyone in the community, because everyone in the community, unfortunately, is touched by cancer, or can be touched by cancer,” Wallace said. “We hope everyone will join us for this event.”

As a part of the event, there will be an inspirational program prior to the start of the walk, and a number of events on the lawn of Yeatman’s Cove, including a survivor tent with activities and raffles as well as a parade for survivors.

The walk will depart from Yeatman’s Cove, cut down Broadway, and proceed across the Taylor-Southgate Bridge into Newport, down Riverboat Row, and go back across the Purple People Bridge, loop down into Friendship Park, and return to Yeatman’s Cove.

The walk is open to participants of all ages, and registration is free. Participants are encouraged to raise money online, or collect donations to turn in on the day of the walk.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, other than skin cancer. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.

“Making Strides is important to me, because the money, and the research that is being done by the American Cancer Society is happening here, locally in Cincinnati,” said Wallace.

Last year, over $460,000 was raised as a result of the event, and this year, the goal is to raise over $500,000. Both individuals and teams participate. Corporations, faith-based teams, schools and universities, and other groups that are touched by the cause of breast cancer show up to support the event.

The American Cancer Society uses monies that are raised at Making Strides events to fund lifesaving breast cancer research, and to provide the latest, up-to-date information. The initiatives also provide women with access to breast cancer screenings and treatments, regardless of income, and provide services that improve the quality of life for patients and their families.

“The American Cancer Society is currently investing $86 million dollars in breast cancer research grants to continue to learn more about breast cancer’s causes and cures. So, we are fortunate to have some of that research being done in Cincinnati,” Wallace said.

For example, the American Cancer Society funded researcher, Xiaoting Zhang, Ph.D, is currently working at the University of Cincinnati, investigating ways to lull breast cancer cells into a permanent sleep, (which is known as senescence.) This could potentially stop a tumor in its tracks. Zhang’s proposal is based on an unexpected finding of a key protein involved in cellular senescence of breast cancer. Cellular senescence in cancers has shown to inhibit tumor formation and to enhance the anti-tumor effect of chemotherapeutic drugs, she stated.

“Great strides are being made right here in our local community,” Wallace said.

In addition to research, there are a number of different programs that are funded through the fundraising for Making Strides. There is a 1-800 number – 1 (800) 227-2345 – that’s a phone number that anyone can call, from throughout the country, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day – and get connected to local resources, and anything that they need. It will connect them with transportation, or help to answer questions. They are also there on Christmas for callers, who may just need somebody to talk to. Last year, on the 1-800 number alone, the American Cancer Society’s program fulfilled more than 160,000 requests related to breast cancer.

Another program offered is “Road To Recovery,” which is transportation help for those going through cancer treatment. Through the program, there are volunteers, who are able to help provide transportation.

Additionally, there is a program called, “Look Good Feel Better.” Women, who are going through treatment may have changes to their skin, or they might lose their hair. Through the program, there are cosmetologists that can help women learn how to deal with changes that they may experience with their hair and skin.

“Reach To Recovery” is a mentoring program that assists women, who are going through treatment and after treatment. Through the support program, women are able to connect with someone who has been in a similar situation.

There is also a “Hope Lodge” in Cincinnati. There are about 30 Hope Lodge’s in the country. The Hope Lodge is a cost-free, temporary “home away from home” for cancer patients and their caregivers as they are going through cancer treatments. Guests can come and stay as long as they are going through treatments.

Making Strides is the largest network of Breast Cancer events in the nation. There are nearly 300 communities that come together to participate in Making Strides. In Cincinnati, this is the 19th year for the event. Across the nation, the first event was held in 1993.