Breast cancer awareness brings out crowds of pink

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Pink was the color of the day when Halenbeck was flooded with crowds of people on Saturday, all ready to walk 3 miles in support of breast cancer awareness. While the day was gloomy, the weather didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits. Families included people of all ages and consisted of survivors, supporters, and people who have been inadvertently affected by breast cancer. Even though the amount of breast cancer survivors was limited, most people pointed out that everybody is affected by cancer in some way; whether it’s a neighbor, friend or colleague and supporters of the cause remind people how widespread the disease actually is.

People of all ages came out on Oct. 15 to support their loved ones going through breast cancer.
People of all ages came out on Oct. 15 to support their loved ones going through breast cancer.

According to the breast cancer awareness website, about 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. This year was estimated to have over 246,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed in men and women. The statistic points out how many people have breast cancer, but it doesn’t show the bigger issue of how many people are truly affected. For every survivor at the walk there was a family there in support.

Bruce Johnson was part of a special family who all wore t-shirts saying ‘Team Tara’ on the back. His family comes from the Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity where he and several others work with breast cancer survivor Tara Stratton. Bruce says he doesn’t distinguish his work family from his home family, and that supporting Tara was just something that came naturally to all of her coworkers.

“We’re all so close, and we all want to be there for her,” he said. “Sometimes all it takes is knowing someone is there behind you to begin recovering, and that’s what we want to do for Tara.”

Tara is currently in chemotherapy and is expected to have 9 cycles in the next 6 months. Despite her battle, Tara joined her coworkers in the walk and says that the key to staying healthy is by staying optimistic.

“I’ve never been one to let anyone tell me what to do,” she said. “So, I wasn’t about to let breast cancer determine my future.”

Tara says the news of her breast cancer was life-shattering, but her positive attitude and the support of her loved ones has kept her going through the treatments.

Team Tara was just one group among many that walked the three miles around Halenbeck. While many just had t-shirts with the name of the survivor they were supporting, others wore tutus and pink wigs to show their love and support. Colorful attire was just part of the course for the ‘A-Team’, an extended family that consisted of two breast cancer survivors and over a dozen supporting family members.

Photo by Bailey Vertin

“Nobody’s untouched by cancer,” she said. “It’s easy to forget how many actually see it, but the truth is many are impacted by the disease.”

Anderson says she took one day at a time while going through treatment, and now that she’s a survivor she goes to events like the walk to show others that it’s possible to get through breast cancer.

This was Anderson’s third year of walking for breast cancer awareness, and she’s joined by others who have gone to events like this to show their support. The crowds of people show that breast cancer doesn’t just affect one person, but impacts everyone. The sheer amount of people at the event account for how serious the disease is, and how just showing support can make a difference to those going through treatment.