October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Throughout the month, breast cancer awareness supporters and advocates find ways to unite as a community and make a difference in the fight against breast cancer. Last month, members of the Rensselaer women’s lacrosse and women’s hockey teams joined thousands to participate in the American Cancer Society’s 19th annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk.
The two-lap walk took place in Albany’s Washington Park on Oct. 19. This year, more than 15,000 walkers representing nearly 1,000 teams supported the Capital Region event.
“The journey to end breast cancer may often start with a simple step,” said Jaime Wakefield, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering and a member of the women’s lacrosse team. “We like to support the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk every year, because it hits close to home. Our academic liaison, Phyllis Gates, passed away this past spring from breast cancer. She was one of our biggest fans, coming to every game she could, and also joining us at the Making Strides walk last year. This is our way of showing support and making a difference.”
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.
For the past 15 years, members of the Rensselaer women’s hockey team have carved out time to support the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. Team captains Taylor Mahoney, a senior majoring in business and management, and Ali Svoboda, who majors in industrial management engineering, have been participating in the event since their freshman year, and said that the event is a great way reach out and support others in a meaningful way.
“Our team as a whole believes it’s a great cause to be a part of,” Mahoney said. “It brings our team together with surrounding communities to support friends, families, and everyone else who is affected by the disease.”
Thus far, this year’s participants have raised nearly $400,000. Funds raised will stay local to support the Hope Club in Latham as well as society services, local research, and additional American Cancer Society patient services and resource offerings.
Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is the largest network of breast cancer awareness events in the nation, uniting more than 300 communities to finish the fight. According to the American Cancer Society, every breast cancer walk and event is an incredible and inspiring opportunity to honor those who have battled breast cancer, raise awareness about what we can do to reduce our breast cancer risk, and raise money to help the American Cancer Society fight the disease with research, information, services, and access to mammograms for women who need them.