The Will to Walk: Making Strides

In the United States, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer at some point in their life. Breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer found in women, with lung cancer slightly above in statistical frequency.

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Every year there are thousands of walks to support breast cancer research in the US, and these events raise millions of dollars to fund research, examinations, and treatment to help patients and survivors.

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is a walk that is held each October, in Bushnell Park, located in downtown Hartford, CT. The event typically hosts about five thousand people, both participants and volunteers.

The walk festivities begin early in the morning, with volunteers and setup arriving just after first light. Many aspects of the even are set up before hand, including the stage, registration tents, as well as other checkpoints for donations etc.

Hartford is just one of many locations in Connecticut that host Breast Cancer walks during the month of awareness. Other locations have similar events and all of these walks have the common goal of raising funds as well as spreading awareness about this disease.

Bushnell Park is filled with life on the day of the walk, families bring their dogs, sports teams show up in uniform, and Breast Cancer survivors lead the way with positivity and energy.

The most important part of the event is the right before the start, when everyone comes together in front of the stage to stand as one and listen to survivors speak about what it takes to overcome cancer.

In this moment, everyone understands why he or she is truly there. Participation is voluntary, however many people feel as though they have to be there. There is a sense of pride amongst the volunteers and participants because they are the physical manifestation of the support in fighting this terrible disease.

As walkers make their way around the route, they are cheering and clapping, some people can be heard chanting positive words to encourage other walkers and runners.

The route takes the crowd up and around the Capitol building and down the side streets of downtown Hartford. As the route gets more difficult and moves uphill, small children begin to ask for piggyback rides, college students are on their phones, and adults are keeping track of the group they came with.

Regardless of each participant’s mindset, they are fully enveloped in the experience. The cold air on their face, the fall foliage around them, this race puts perspective in the minds of the people who participate.

The perspective is how lucky they are to have their health, whether they have never been diagnosed with cancer, or they have defeated this disease and are healthy once again.

Many organizations participate in this event on an annual basis and look forward to fundraising for this cause that affects everyone in one way or another. President of a local fraternity chapter, Jason Reynolds, talks about his experience at the walk. “Our chapter has been walking in this event for the last five years, it’s a great way to take an active approach to affecting change and it gets our organization involved in the community.”

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Signing up for the Making Strides walk is easy as can be, with a website designated for sign up and donations, anyone can contribute their time or a donation with just a few clicks of a button.

Breast Cancer is a disease that can be treated if caught early enough, and the best way to discover this sickness is with regular checkups with the right doctors. This walk, and many others like it, raises money to afford these checkups for people who otherwise would not be able to have them.

The common feeling at this event is one of positive change. The uplifting spirits of the participants make everyone feel as though they are actually affecting the fight against breast cancer and that feeling drives everyone to be involved year after year.

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