Volunteers brave weather to raise money for breast cancer research

Katie Alberti

The American Cancer Society hosted its sixth annual “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” walk yesterday in downtown Akron.

Despite the weather, roughly 4,500 volunteers participated in the 5K non-competitive walk at Akron Aeros Stadium and raised $248,000, said Alex Houser Vukoder, health promotions manager for the American Cancer Society of Summit, Medina and Portage counties.

“We are here honoring the memory of my aunt, Major Sandra Terry,” junior marketing major Shannon Lewis said. “She died of breast cancer in June 2005.”

Breast cancer survivor Rita Bender of Brimfield said the walk was important because it raises awareness.

“I’m 37 and there is no cancer in my family,” she said. “They say it can take eight years for cancer to develop. I think that mine came out sooner from going to a tanning booth.”

The walk also informs women that they need to get regular examinations, Bender said.

“Go to a yearly exam,” Bender said. “Know your body. Even give yourself exams on a monthly basis.”

Volunteer Jennifer Turley said she was surprised by the turnout.

“It says a lot when people come when the weather is bad,” Bender said. “It’s nice to know that people care.”

Monica Miller, public relations director for the American Cancer Society Northeast region, said the society has done a lot to find a cure for breast cancer.

“With the money raised through ‘Making Strides Against Breast Cancer,’ we have continued to invest in the most promising breast cancer research and have been able to offer education and patient service programs all over the U.S,” Miller said before the event.

The organization was pleased to see high school and college students participating.

“It’s nice to see a lot of students,” Houser Vukoder said. “Our goal is to prevent our children and grandchildren from having to worry about breast cancer.”

Although the American Cancer Society is still looking for a way to stop breast cancer, supporting the search is just as beneficial, volunteer Fred Marquinez said.

“It’s good to be active in social issues, especially cancer because it affects people from all walks of life,” Marquinez said.

For information on the American Cancer Society’s fight on breast cancer, visit its Web site at www.cancer.org.

Contact social service reporter Katie Alberti at [email protected].