J ennifer McDermott didn’t turn to the American Cancer Society for support when she was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago. But that wouldn’t stop her from pointing others in that direction.
McDermott is the volunteer event chair for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Rutland County, Vt., which will be held on Sunday, Oct. 6, on the campus of Castleton State College.
“There’s a lot of extra support out there that people don’t realize,” she said. “I’d like to raise more awareness of some of those things.”
The Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk is the largest network of breast cancer awareness events in the nation, with nearly 300 communities across the country uniting to raise awareness of the disease.
The American Cancer Society has sponsored the events for more than 20 years. This year’s event is the second such walk held in Rutland County.
Last year, a total of 550 people from 47 teams participated in the event, raising $71,000 to prevent, treat and cure breast cancer.
“With last year being the first year, I thought it went great,” McDermott said.
Organizers are shooting for 50 teams this year and hope to raise $75,000.
McDermott has participated with family and friends in the past and last year served on the committee.
She said the event helps create a sense of camaraderie and support that really helps those that are battling the disease.
This year’s motto is “Let’s Finish the Fight.”
Participants form teams and solicit donations, which benefit the American Cancer Society. On the day of the event, those teams walk a four-mile course that is symbolic of the road to recovery breast cancer victims face.
The four-mile course starts at the pavilion at Castleton State College and proceeds down South Street, onto Sand Hill and the Main Street before turning back on to South Street and ending on campus.
“It’s all paved and easy for people with strollers and those who don’t walk as well,” McDermott said.
Throughout the event, there will be live music, youth activities, guest speakers, raffles, an awards ceremony and an ice cream social.
There will also be a presentation of breast cancer survivors and all participants will be invited to cross the finish line as a single, unified group.
Registration begins at 1 p.m. and the walk will start around 2 p.m.
Other Making Strides Against Breast Cancer events will be held on Oct. 6 at Salem Free Academy and on Oct. 27 at Queensbury High School.
For more information, visit the American Cancer Society’s webpage (cancer.org) and search events.