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Making Strides steps into 10th anniversary

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

NASHVILLE -- Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, an annual non-competitive five-mile walk to raise money for the American Cancer Society, will celebrate its 10th anniversary with this year's event, planned for Saturday, Oct. 15, starting at LP Field in downtown Nashville.

Stacy Case
(T-G Photo by John I. Carney)
A kickoff breakfast was held Tuesday at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel downtown. Stacy Case of WZTV (Fox 17) emceed the event.

"You're doing something very important here," said Ted Helm, board president for ACS's Nashville chapter.

There are 11 million breast cancer survivors alive today, according to ACS. Funds raised by ACS fund not only research but also support programs like a 24-hour cancer information telephone line, which ACS says receives more calls about breast cancer than any other kind of cancer.

The "Reach To Recovery" program pairs newly-diagnosed cancer patients with cancer survivors who can encourage and advise them.

Cancer survivor Kim Stanke, one of the speakers at Tuesday's breakfast, is now a Reach to Recovery volunteer. She recalled the day she received her cancer diagnosis, and being "completely bombarded with vital information that I had no way of processing."

When chemotherapy caused her hair to fall out, she told the audience that her 4-year-old son "thought it was the coolest thing in the world that Mom was bald," announcing the fact in public and even at one point tugging his mother's wig off to prove it.

Dr. Liana Castel
(T-G Photo by John I. Carney)
Dr. Liana Castel, a Vanderbilt University researcher, studies post-menopausal women with early stage breast cancer. Her grandmother survived breast cancer, and a year into Castel's study her mother was diagnosed with it.

Castel is studying the relationship between a cancer drug and joint pain, a side effect which could cause some patients to skip doses. Castel quoted former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop: "Drugs don't work in people who don't take them."

Bill Pressly, ACS lead ambassador for advocacy from Tennessee, told the crowd about ACS's advocacy work, lobbying for cancer research or other issues related to the disease through its Cancer Action Network division. He said ACS plans to ask Congress this fall not to cut funding for cancer research, despite the call for cuts to the federal budget. He asked attendees at Tuesday's luncheon to sign a "Power of the Purse" petition in support of the cause.

Like the local breast cancer walk, Cancer Action Network is celebrating its 10th birthday, said Pressly, and "Celebrate With Action" rallies will be held around the country in September prior to a Washington trip during which ACS will plead its case.

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is now soliciting teams or individual participants. Call (615) 327-0991, email makingstridesnashville@cancer.org or go to makingstridesnashville.org for more information. Participants can also register at the web site.

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