Cold weather and cloudy skies could not dissuade breast cancer survivors and their supporters from volunteering to help end breast cancer. On Saturday, more than 1,000 women and men participated in the second annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in Ann Arbor, organized by the American Cancer Society of Huron Valley.

Paul Wong
Participants begin their 5-kilometer route through Ann Arbor Saturday for the second annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk.

Participants in the 5-kilometer noncompetitive pledge walk included breast cancer survivors, family, friends and supporters.

The purpose of the walk was to raise money to aid breast cancer research and to support cancer survivors.

“It’s a great day for breast cancer survivors and we can look forward to a better tomorrow,” said speaker Beverly Zizka of Brighton, a breast cancer survivor. “Put a smile on your faces and confidence in your steps.”

Last year in Ann Arbor, “the walk attracted over 540 participants and raised over $50,000,” said ACS Events Manager Leslie Groves.

National sponsorship and support was also emphasized.

“You’re part of a much bigger cause,” ACS Area Executive Director Erin Genovese said to the walkers.

The event’s sponsors included national sponsor Discovery Health Channel, and local sponsors Fox 2, MCare, and Biotherapies Incorporated.

Participants of the walk met at the Main and Stadium entrance of Michigan Stadium, festively decorated by arches of pink and white balloons.

Registration began at 8 a.m. with several speakers from the area, including University Regent Rebecca McGowan (D-Ann Arbor) and University Hospital Breast Cancer Center Director Lisa Newman.

The event was emceed by Fox 2 reporter Karen Shomo.

“The walk is short; the impact is greater than any game played here at the Big House,” McGowan said.

According to literature distributed by the ACS, in 2002 alone, more than 40,000 people will die from breast cancer.

Women are 10 times more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than men.

Newman and Biotherapies Scientific Director Paul Ervin spoke about the new developments in breast cancer treatment research.

“The American Cancer Society is a general in the war against breast cancer. It’s important that we continue to support our general to establish research programs. We will win this war against breast cancer,” Ervin said.

“Breast cancer is a disease that can be managed in a myriad of ways,” Newman said. These ways include two new important drugs, tamoxifen and herceptin.

The research for these drugs has been partially supported by the ACS, which has donated almost $60 million to breast cancer research this year.

Morale remained high throughout the walk, which many felt was a great way to support cancer research and exercise.

“I decided to raise money because it may help me one day,” said Carla Mikler of Ann Arbor, echoing sentiments of many of the participants.

Lewis Andrews and Cheryl Tomsic from Fitness Solutions led aerobics before the walk began.

“I’m here because I have a family history of breast cancer,” Andrews said.

Participating survivors of breast cancer were encouraged to lead the walk and to add their names to a pink ribbon outside of the Ribbon of Hope tent.

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