Nearly 30 years ago, cancer survivor Margery Gould Rath decided that she wanted to find a way to both celebrate survivors and raise much-needed fund for research that could help other patients diagnosed with cancer. She started a "move-a-thon" campaign, which she called Making Strides Against Cancer. That first year, 200 people turned up to support the cause in Boston. Nine years later, the event officially became known as the American Cancer Society' Making Strides Against Cancer, and the number of participants had risen to 4,000 attendees. Now, with walks in cities all over the country, those numbers, and the funds raised by participants, grows every year. You can be a part of the tradition of helping fight breast cancer by joining a walk in your area.
Making Strides Against Breast Cancer One Step At a Time
The beauty of the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is that anyone can participate. Whether you're a novice walker or a marathon runner, you can get involved and walk at your own pace. Even if you can't join the actual walk, there is still plenty for you to do. Volunteers are needed to help register participants, give out information, or man the water stations along the way. If you don't live close enough to a walk but still want to get involved, there are plenty of participants who would love to have you sponsor them in their own walk. Helping make strides against breast cancer can be as easy as clicking a few buttons on your computer screen or as challenging as becoming a Team Leader for one of the walks.
Finding a Walk in Your Area
Finding an event to attend is simple, just head over the to Find an Event section and type in your zip code. There are 5 events within a 50 mile radius of my home, including the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Lehigh Valley. That event has already raised over $20,000! Once you find an event, just click on the Sign Up button to get started. You can also choose to donate to that event if you know you can't attend.
Preparing for the Walk
If you've never participated in an American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event, you might not know what to expect. I've participated in walks before, and there are a few points that you really need to know.
- Wear comfortable clothes and shoes! I cannot stress this enough. It isn't a fashion show. If you just can't stand to be seen in public wearing your sweats, at least heed my advice on the shoes part. Wear sneakers that you've already broken in, and a pair of cotton socks to keep your feet cool.
- Bring your own water. Even though there will be water stations set up, you will get thirsty in between. Bring a light-weight backpack and toss a few water bottles into it.
- Walk with a friend. Unless you enjoy walking alone, get a friend to come along with you. If you can't, then make friends right away. It makes the walk much more fun if you have someone to talk to.
- Prepare for all weather.Most of the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks happen in rain or shine, so make sure you also stash some rain gear in the aforementioned back pack!
- Go your own pace. I don't run, unless I'm being chased of course. Thankfully, the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is a walking event. Still, it can be tempting to walk faster than you're comfortable doing, especially when you first start off. Go your own pace and you'll be more likely to finish.
- Practice before the big day. While practicing the route is a good idea, you can walk just about anywhere to get ready for the big day. If you really want to make sure you're ready for anything, take a hike! We love hiking along the waterfalls near my house. Include your kids in the practice, especially if they'll be walking with you on the big day.
Whether you choose to walk in one of the events, donate your time at an event, or just donate from the comfort of your own home, getting involved in the fight against breast cancer will not only make you feel good, it could help save the life of someone you love one day.
Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is the American Cancer Society's nationwide series of walking events to raise funds and awareness to end breast cancer.
“Disclosure: Compensation was provided by the American Cancer Society (ACS) via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of the American Cancer Society (ACS).”