In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, several employees threw on their tennis shoes and hit the pavement in order to raise money for the cause. For many who have had personal battles with the disease, their stories are very near and dear to their hearts.
Brenda Curry, producer for Creative Show Services, joined the American Cancer Society (ACS) Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5k walk for her first time ever. She led her team “Adventurous Hearts” which included employees Ivy Peterson, Stephanie Cobb, Lisa Nieto and Leisha Fotopoulos among other friends and family.
They gathered Saturday, Oct. 23, and began their walk at the St. Pete Times Forum on Channelside Drive, trekked down past the Convention Center and onto Bayshore Boulevard and then routed back to The Forum. Through donations from friends, family and colleagues, the “Adventurous Hearts” team raised $855 for the American Cancer Society.
Brenda Curry shares her experience:
“I am a Breast Cancer Survivor (9 1/2+ years). My diagnosis totally changed my life. But through the love and care of my family and friends, the amazing support of AVI (now AVI-SPL), the excellent care of four great physicians and their staff, and through an internal strength that I wasn’t even aware I had within me, I made it through the hard times, and now see my 10 year anniversary approaching in February 2011. I have lost a lot, but I have gained much more. I am here today because others came before me and helped to find treatments and ways of coping with the cancer diagnosis that helped make my road an easier one. I will always be eternally grateful and hope that my efforts will do the same for others.
Today, there is more hope than ever for people facing breast cancer. However, there is much work to be done. Every day, the American Cancer Society is helping people stay well by taking steps to reduce their risk of breast cancer or find it early when it is most treatable; helping people get well with information, day-to-day help, and emotional support to guide them through every step of a breast cancer experience; by finding cures and promising new treatments through funding and conducting research; and by fighting back by working with lawmakers to help all women get access to screenings and care.
I have hope that one day we will live in a world with less breast cancer and more birthdays. That’s why I walked in the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event. Not only was this my opportunity to join my community to fight back against breast cancer, it was a way to inspire hope by raising funds and awareness to help those facing the disease and save more lives.”
Vivian Sola, sales consultant for Creative Show Services, also participated in the ACS 5k walk. Also her first year joining the walk, she was asked to recruit five team leaders and ended up becoming one herself. She led of team of about 45 people made up of family, friends and church members.
Vivian Sola shares her story:
“I have friends that have been affected by this disease and could only hope for the day when we celebrate that a cure has been found. It was a great experience to see the world come together as one (regardless of race, religion and age) for such a great cause. Hence, I called my team “Caring Friends.” Everyone in the team got a white shirt and painted the name of the team on the back so that we could be recognized in the crowd! Everyone in my family played an active role in the process. My husband and daughter helped me make some bows to give to those that had contributed towards the team goal. My 9-year-old boy collected $50 from school. He went to teachers and friends asking for anything from coins to dollars! My parents recruited other walkers who also helped in the fundraising. Ultimately, our Caring Friends team ended up raising more than $2,600 dollars which far surpassed our original goal of $1,000.”
Gail Fitzsimmons, benefits manager for AVI-SPL, joined 1,600 others in the Tampa Bay Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure 60-mile fundraising walk to benefit breast cancer research Oct. 29-31. Participants walked 20 miles a day (from around 8 a.m. to nearly 6 p.m. each day) and camped overnight in local parks. There are 15 3-Day for the Cure walks nationwide each year, and this year’s Tampa Bay event raised $4.5 million for breast cancer research.
Gail Fitzsimmons shares her story:
“I was personally touched by breast cancer in 2008 when my younger sister Laura was diagnosed. Laura would share with me the horrible experiences that she went through and it just broke my heart. That’s when I felt the need to get involved and help in the fight to end breast cancer. I saw a commercial for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure event and signed up and joined a team called “The Breast of Times.” This year’s event was even more special to me since my last walk in 2008, because I knew what to expect and the emotions that I would experience during the 3-days– lots of crying and laughing. These are three days full of an overwhelming outpouring of love, kindness, sadness, but also hope. The Tampa Bay Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure event raised $4.5 million to be used for community outreach and research so someday soon we’ll be able to say we have found a cure for breast cancer and all cancers. A lot of people don’t know that when you sign up for this event, you don’t just have to walk 60 miles in three days, but you’re also committing to raising a minimum of $2,300. I am thankful to have very generous family, friends and co-workers. I can’t wait for next year so I can do it again; this is my small part in the fight to eradicate breast cancer.”
Congratulations to everyone who teamed up for this wonderful cause. Whether you donated to a walker or sweat your heart out for 60 miles, you’re making a difference in someone’s life.
To view a gallery of photos from the walks and our Breast Cancer Bake Sale, click here.