Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event held Saturday

After 18 months, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is coming back together.

On Saturday, people from all over Southwest Florida will put on their running or walking shoes and join in on the event. WINK News and the American Cancer Society joined forces to raise awareness and money for breast cancer research and services.

Making Strides is the largest breast cancer awareness event in the nation.

Breast cancer kills more women in the U.S. than any other cancer.

Organizers were expecting close to 1,00 people on Saturday but the turnout surpassed their expectations.

One breast cancer survivor is doing what she can to help inspire others. Maureen Chodaba is a 26-year breast cancer survivor and she makes little charms and presents them to other survivors and those battling cancer.

The charms were made to send a message to celebrate life.

“There’s something about a breast cancer survivor I have to say and I have to say and I’m going to include myself in this as well,” Chodaba said. “Breast cancer survivors just have such energy and such desire to really celebrate life. So sometimes when they see these angels I just love when I see someone’s face light up.”

It was especially important for those battling breast cancer currently to know that they are not alone.

The sounds of support and encouragement heard on Saturday are something that Alisa Deldebbio needs. “I’m currently battling breast cancer I’m part of the way through my journey still more to go,” Deldebbio said.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer in October of last year. So, Alisa came to Making Strides Southwest Florida to feel empowered.

Survivors want to remind everyone it could be someone close to them who gets sick.

“The amount of community support we’ve been getting and excitement from these breast cancer survivors and thrivers to have this in person, they’re so excited,” said Sue Olszak, senior development manager for the American Cancer Society.

Teamwork is the main goal of Making Strides. People coming together and uniting against breast cancer. This is a disease that has impacted so many people.

Runners are started at 4:30 p.m. and walkers between 4:45 and 5:30 p.m.

Deldebbio was able to walk the trail with others who are currently battling the disease or those who fought it and won. “I did part of it…part of it. I think about a mile and a half maybe and one of my coworkers came and picked me up,” she said.

People came to North Collier Regional Park in Naples to support breast cancer awareness and to raise money.

WINK News Anchors Lois Thome and Lindsey Sablan served as emcees for this event.

“We’ve said it on stage many times today we’re really hoping we can make the kind of difference that we don’t have to be back here again. That we can find a cure for breast cancer and be done with it for good. That’s the goal that’s the win in my book,” said Thome.

This is the first time that everyone has been together in almost two years. “There’s something about breast cancer survivors. They’re a real group. Anytime they can get together and really lean on each other. Not just mentally and emotionally but, physically like we are today. It makes all the difference in a person’s outlook,” said Sablan.

That level of encouragement meant everything to Deldebbio. “It’s immeasurable really,” she said.

Deldebbio told WINK News she is not battling breast cancer alone. She says she’s grateful to everyone who helped her find food when she wasn’t able to do so herself, those who picked up her kids and to the coworkers who assisted while she was absent.

Many of those who attended Making strides on Saturday completely understand that.

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If you would like to donate to Making Strides of Southwest Florida, you can do so by visiting this site.

 

Reporter:Andrea Guerrero
Zach Oliveri
Writer:Melissa Montoya
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